§ Mr. Dawson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what means his Department monitors the beef import regulations introduced on 1 January. 
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 28 January 1998]: All consignments of animal products imported directly into the United Kingdom from outside the European Union (EU) are subject to checks at designated Border Inspection Posts (BIPs), including checks on the certification requirements on specified risk materials introduced under the Specified Risk Materials Order 1997. Single Market rules permit only random spot-checks at destination on animal products traded within the Community. Consistent with those rules, a daily sample of randomly selected consignments from EU member states are subject to documentary checks by Ministry officials for conformity with the new unilateral controls relating to specified risk material.
Data on the number, type and results of veterinary checks on beef consignments at Border Inspection Posts, most of which are operated by local authorities, and the number and outcome of the random documentary spot-checks on beef consignments arriving from or via other EU Member States are being collated on a monthly basis from 1 January 1998, the date when the Specified Risk Material Order came into force. No data are yet available. They will be published in the Ministry's BSE Enforcement Bulletin which is placed in the Library of the House.
Study Organisation End date Tagging genetically engineered organisms IFR, Norwich Laboratory 31 March 1997 Development of new methods for safety evaluation of transgenic crops BIBRA Toxicology International 30 June 1997 Honey from genetically modified plants: integrity of pollen DNA, and expression of promoters in floral organs Laboratory of the Government Chemist 31 March 1997 Genetically modified organisms in food—evaluation of in vitro and in vivo models for assessing DNA transfer in gut BIBRA Toxicology International 31 March 1998 Detection of genetically modified organisms in foods Laboratory of the Government Chemist 31 March 1998 A model system for the quantitative analysis of horizontal spread of DNA from genetically engineered micro-organisms GIT IFR, Norwich Laboratory 31 March 1996 Potential for gene transfer between manipulated bacteria and the resident microflora of the human gut Rowett Research Institute 31 May 1998 A model system for the quantitative analysis of horizontal spread of DNA from genetically engineered micro-organisms Surrey University 31 March 1996 Regulation and targeting of transgene expression in fruit crops HRI, East Malling 31 October 2000 Causes of instability in transgenic plants Jones Innes Centre 31 August 1999 Safety of recombinant DNA technology: gene location, market elimination and secondary effect IFR, Norwich Laboratory 30 September 1999 Compilation of a database of oil compositions from new varieties of oilseeds Leatherhead Food Research Association 31 August 1997 A database of novel foods and food products cleared in countries other than the UK AEA Technology, Consultancy Services 24 June 1997 Genes that have been introduced by genetic modification into crop plants intended for food use AEA Technology, Consultancy Services 24 June 1997 Persistence and potential infectivity of live bacteria in foods IFR, Norwich Laboratory 30 April 1999 Development of a strategy to promote the public's understanding of biotechnology Sheffield University 31 March 1998 The effect of agriculturally-relevant environmental factors on the expression and stability of genes affecting wheat lipases University College Wales, Cardiff 31 December 2000 Survival of DNA in the gut and the potential for genetic transformation of resident bacteria Rowett Research Institute 31 May 2001 Evaluating the risks associated with using GMOs in human foods Newcastle University 31 May 2001 Impact of transformation methods, construct and gene cassette architecture on the stability and expression of transgenes John Innes Centre 31 March 2001
§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average age of cattle at slaughter from which beef is imported from(a) the Republic of Ireland, (b) the Netherlands, (c) France, (d) Botswana, (e) Namibia and (f) Australia. 
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 16 December 1997]: European Community rules do not require the certification or documentation accompanying beef traded within the Community or imported from third countries to include information on the age of animals at slaughter.
The sale of meat for human consumption originating from animals over 30 months old from the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands or France would be a breach of our legislation. Botswana, Namibia and Australia are exempt from these requirements.