asked Her Majesty's Government:
What measures are being taken to ensure stringent inspection of internal European Union traded poultry; and whether the other 26 European Union member states have sufficient resources in place to ensure the efficiency of this inspection.
Existing EU trade rules set out the measures that must be adopted by a member state if it experiences an outbreak of a serious disease, such as avian influenza. The European Commission will propose additional safeguard measures, depending on the severity of the situation within the affected member state.
All consignments of live poultry traded within the EU must be accompanied by an original health certificate signed by an official veterinarian of the exporting member state. This indicates that the poultry do not come from flocks or premises within disease-protection or surveillance zones in member states.
Within the UK, the State Veterinary Service (SVS) carries out risk-based checks on imports of poultry from other member states as a further measure to minimise the introduction of animal diseases into the country.
The European Commission is responsible for ensuring that Community legislation on food safety, animal health, plant health and animal welfare is properly implemented and enforced.
One of the means by which the Commission can monitor these issues is through regular missions conducted by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to individual member states and to countries outside Europe. These FVO missions produce reports on the visited country's capability, resources and levels of compliance, among other issues. They are reviewed by the Commission and other member states at regular meetings of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH).