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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many game birds have been tested for dimetridazole in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what proportion of them had unacceptable dimetridazole levels. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: No residue of dimetridazole is considered acceptable in a food producing animal. Since 1997 the Veterinary Medicines Directorate has tested 272 samples from game birds. In 1997 dimetridazole residues were detected in four samples. Since then there have been no residues of dimetridazole detected in game birds. The following table sets out these figures in detail.
|Year||Number of samples tested||Number with dimetridazole residues|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received from (a) the French Government, (b) the European Commission and (c) other organisations regarding the use of feed additives in exported game birds. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The European Commission has recently raised with us an issue on the authorisation of dimetridazole for use in rearing of game birds in the UK. We expect these discussions to continue over the next few weeks. As part of this process we have been discussing this issue with a number of interested parties, including representatives from the UK game bird industry. We have not, to date, had any representations on this issue from the French Government.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letters from the right hon. Member for Berwick- upon-Tweed dated 3 December 2001 and 13 May 2002, concerning the rights of residents under section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. 
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Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reason she has not responded to the letter from the hon. Member for West Derbyshire of 18 April regarding agrimonetary compensation for dairy farmers. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2002, Official Report, columns 47374W, what the timetable is for consultation and changes to the Seeds (National List of Varieties) Regulations. 
Mr. Morley: Ministers are still considering options for amending the arrangements for requesting a hearing on proposed National List decisions, in consultation with the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We intend to consult all interested parties during the summer on proposals for change.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the percentage of containers which were subjected to inspection at ports of entry as a proportion of (a) containers whose shippers declare them to contain food products and (b) containers overall in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Morley: Commercial consignments declared as meat or most other products of animal origin from non EU countries must be pre notified to the Border Inspection Post of arrival and all are subject to documentary and identity checks. The minimum proportion subject to physical checks is set out in EU law and is dependent on the productat least 20 per cent. in the case of beef, pork and lamb and at least 50 per cent. in the case of poultry, game and honey.
Consignments of other food products do not generally have to be pre-notified nor do they have to arrive at a Border Inspection Post but they must be accompanied by an accurate manifest. Checks on other food products are determined by the food safety risk associated with the product.
Checks are carried out on consignments rather than containers. The number of containers involved is not recorded as a consignment may consist of part of a container load or of one or more containers. The numbers of consignments of products of animal origin imported from non EU countries and submitted for veterinary checks in the last three years were as follows:
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Mr. Morley: Imports into the United Kingdom of animal products are governed by Community legislation, which protects both animal and public health. Under these rules only third countries approved by the Commission on the advice of the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health may export into the Community, and only from establishments which meet Community hygiene standards. The lists of countries and establishments allowed to export particular products into the Community, are available on the Commission's website at the following address: http://forum.europa.eu.int/irc/sanco/ vets/info/data/listes/table0.html.
Responsibility for ensuring that third countries meet these requirements lies with the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Commission. FVO mission reports are published on their website at: http://europa.eu.int/ comm/food/fs/inspections/vi/reports/index_en.html.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the restrictions imposed and warnings given at ports and airports against the covert importing of meat. 
Mr. Morley: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working closely with all the enforcement bodies and with stakeholders to ensure that we have the necessary controls in place to reduce the risk of illegal imports of meat and animal products entering the country.
An Action Plan of work for 200203 to reduce this risk is being implemented by the Department. Key elements of the plan include a risk assessment, a strengthening of the legal powers available to enforcement officers, and enhanced deterrence and detection alongside improved publicity for the issue.
On 8 July DEFRA launched a summer publicity campaign aimed at making the public more aware of the restrictions on importing meat and animal products for personal use from outside the EU and the reasons for these restrictions. Baseline research was commissioned to establish general awareness before the campaign and this will be followed up in the autumn to assess the effectiveness of this first stage of the publicity campaign. This campaign is just part of a longer term strategy to inform and educate the public on this matter.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to discuss the introduction of a fixed penalty system applying to illegal imports carried as personal baggage. 
Mr. Morley: The Government published an Action Plan in March that aims to reduce the risk of introducing animal and plant diseases entering the country. In carrying out this Action Plan the Government are investigating a variety of deterrents, taking into account the experience of other countries. One of the deterrents being considered is on-the-spot fines and initial discussions are being held with the enforcement agencies on the practicalities of such a deterrent, as well as with officials of other countries who have adopted this measure.
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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has been involved in with regard to the proposals for harmonising the regulation and inspection of imports throughout the EU. 
The Commission produced a draft regulation in June 2002 and following discussion with the UK and other member states this was redrafted, reflecting the concerns of the UK, among others. The new draft Commission Regulation is due to be voted on in September 2002.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received from farmers in respect of the proposal in the Curry report to raise the level of modulation from 4.5 per cent. to 10 per cent. 
Mr. Morley: This proposal has attracted a varied response from farmers and farming organisationsincluding concern about the possible impact on farm incomes and support for the potentially positive effect on rural development funding. The Government are committed to shifting expenditure from production-linked subsidies to wider agri-environment and rural development measures.
A final decision on the proposal will be taken after extensive consultation, including with the devolved Administrations. The decision will also need to take account of negotiations on the European Commission's "Mid-Term Review" proposals for reform of the common agricultural policy, which include the introduction of compulsory modulation across the European Union, initially at 3 per cent. but rising to a level of 20 per cent. after six or seven years.
Mr. Morley: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 26 March a series of early actions as a first step towards implementing the report. At the same time, a comprehensive process of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders was launched. This process has included a series of regional and sectoral events and the publication of a document, "Sustainable Food and Farming: Working Together", both of which have explored how to translate the Commission's vision into action.
Feedback from stakeholders is now being analysed and will help inform construction of a Strategy for Sustainable Food and Farming in England, to be launched in the autumn. The strategy will incorporate a definitive response to all of the Policy Commission's recommendations.
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