§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to increase the number of inspectors at ports to detect contaminated food; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 5 November 2001]: All products of animal origin imported from third countries into the UK must enter at designated UK Border Inspection Posts (BIP) where they are subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at the BIP are the responsibility of the local authority and we expect them to have adequate staff properly to carry out their duties. However, the BIP has to be approved by the European Commission, which conducts periodic inspection missions, and which has to be satisfied that the inspection services are adequate. If they are not, the approval of the BIP may be suspended.
Products of animal origin produced within the EU may circulate freely in the single market, and are not subject to border checks. They may be subject to checks at the point of destination within the UK.
In respect of food not of animal origin the Food Standards Agency monitors general food enforcement activity by all local authorities, including port health authorities, and has recently begun a programme of audits to provide more detailed information on enforcement standards.