HC Deb 18 March 2002 vol 382 cc118-9W
Mr. Breed

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much ruminant feed was imported into the UK from(a) Belgium, (b) Germany, (c) Spain, (d) France, (e) Ireland, (f) Italy, (g) Luxembourg, (h) Portugal and (i) Finland in each of the last five years; and what proportion was found to be contaminated. [41918]

Mr. Morley

[holding answer 11 March 2002]: Overseas trade statistics do not provide a specific category for ruminant feed. However, the table shows the level of UK imports of all animal feedingstuffs over the past five years:

Country 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Germany 146,838 103,785 190,198 230,633 221,313
Belgium-Luxembourg 223,981 164,620 159,800 117,670 81,065
Irish Republic 113,328 93,921 124,572 126,434 177,734
France 42,338 104,951 88,510 82,403 52,302
Spain 16,917 21,569 8,449 6,320 7,130
Portugal 10 2 10,851 21,440
Italy 6,062 4,689 2,180 1,063 4,612
Finland 745 65 69 108 683


HM Customs and Excise

Data prepared by Statistics (Commodities and Food) Accounts and Trade, ESD, DEFRA

Figures on the proportion of animal feed found to be contaminated over this period are not available, but, for example, no case of mammalian meat and bonemeal has been detected in ruminant feed under our national feed surveillance programme since August 1996.

New EU-wide measures (implemented domestically under the Processed Animal Protein Regulations from 1 August 2001) already control intra-Community trade and imports from third countries of a wide range of processed animal proteins, effectively preventing their inclusion in feed for farmed animals in order to stop the propagation of BSE.

In Great Britain, a national feed sampling programme has been in place since 1996 to monitor compliance with BSE-related feed controls. This programme, operated by the State Veterinary Service, typically takes around 20,000 samples per year from feed mills, on-farm mixers and other premises handling livestock feed. The results of the programme are very encouraging and indicate wide compliance with the feed controls, confirming that prohibited ingredients (from domestic or imported sources) are being effectively removed from the market, distribution channels and farms.

Of the 78,202 samples recorded to 6 March 2002 inclusive, 78,001 (99.74 per cent.) tested negative for prohibited proteins. The remaining 201 samples tested either positive or inconclusive. The SVS carry out a full on-site investigation to identify the cause of each positive or inconclusive result. A positive result does not necessarily indicate a breach of the feed ban as the testing mechanism detects the presence of some proteins in feed even where the presence of the protein product is lawful.