Dover MP Natalie Elphicke last week warned that a lack of checks was allowing dangerous food to be imported into the UK. Speaking in Parliament, the MP said Dover’s Port Health Authority had detected rancid meat, pesticide-laden seeds and meat with livestock-threatening diseases.
Mrs Elphicke told MPs that having left the EU, the UK was now responsible for food checks. She called for the new powers to be used to stop contaminated and substandard food coming to the UK from the EU.
Natalie Elphicke told MPs that state-of-the-art facilities had been built and were ready to open their doors. She called on Ministers to open the facilities so that dangerous food and livestock-threatening diseases can be stopped from entering the UK. The MP warned that African Swine Flu was travelling through Europe and now threatened UK pigs if action was not taken. Meanwhile, avian flu threatens chickens.
The MP highlighted the work of Dover’s Port Health Authority. She called on Ministers to recognise the leadership and determination of officials to protect Britons from dangerous and substandard food. The MP singled out Nadeem Aziz and Lucy Manzano for particular praise for the work they have been doing to highlight the concerns.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer agreed with the importance of making sure food imports were safe – and praised the work of Dover Port Health Authority.
Following the debate, Lucy Manzano met with Mr Spencer and Defra officials.
Natalie Elphicke MP said:
“Spots checks by Dover’s Port Health Authority show there is a real problem with contaminated and substandard food coming to the UK from the EU. Since we left the EU, we are now responsible for checks to make sure food is safe to eat – and keep farms safe from foreign diseases.
“There are state-of-the-art facilities in East Kent which are ready to open. In Parliament, I called for these facilities to be opened as soon as possible. It’s vital we identify and stop dangerous food products from getting into Britain.
“Dover District Council and the Port Health Authority have worked tirelessly to highlight this danger. Nadeem Aziz and Lucy Manzano within the Dover Port Health Authority have shown real leadership and dedication. They must be supported in protecting the nation’s food security and biosecurity standards.”
The Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, Minister for Farming, said:
“I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover for sharing her views on the matter in such a forceful way. She is a passionate advocate for her constituency, which is important to the UK’s security.
“I join her in paying tribute to the team at Dover, who do so much to protect our borders and who work hard on our behalf.
“Introducing biosecurity controls on imports is not optional. They are critical to protecting us from harmful diseases such as African swine fever.
“We need the right infrastructure, particularly in Kent, where the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel are the main points of entry for the majority of EU SPS imports. Further to the publication of the TOM, and based on data gathered, the Government are reviewing our BCP needs in Kent and reviewing whether two inland BCPs—one at Sevington and one at Bastion Point—are needed to serve the volume of SPS goods transiting the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel.”
Notes: A report of the debate can be found here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2023-09-13c.349.0&s=speaker%3A25831#g349.2