Letter to the Director of the European
Commission's Food and Veterinary Office from DEFRA's Chief Veterinary
INSPECTION MISSION REFERENCE NUMBER: DG(SANCO)/3387/2001
FVO MISSION TO THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM 15
TO 26 OCTOBER 2001 CONCERNING BORDER INSPECTION POSTS
Further to my letter of 3 May 2002, I am now
writing to advise you of the measures we have undertaken to address
deficiencies highlighted in the report on the above mission. The
annex to this letter sets out the specific measures undertaken
at each BIP to address deficiencies in the facilities or procedures,
which needed to be carried out within a three-month windowie
by 1 July 2002. Structural deficiencies, for which a six-month
window is allowed, are not included in this list, but will be
the subject of a further letter in October.
I set out below details of the measures undertaken
by DEFRA to address the points made in relation to its role as
the UK Central Competent Authority.
The Products of Animal Origin (Third Country
Imports) (England) Regulations 2002 transpose into domestic law
the provisions of Council Directive 97/78. They came into force
on 22 May 2002 and are available on the HMSO website http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si200212.htm.
Similar Regulations came into force in Wales on the same day.
Scotland and Northern Ireland expect to have their regulations
in place later this year.
The regular monthly liaison visits to BIPs by
SVS staff mentioned in my letter of 3 May have now begun. Deficiencies
requiring immediate action will henceforth be addressed as they
are identified and progress will be monitored. A quarterly report
on each BIP will identify any longer-term problems, solutions
to which will then be agreed with the BIP operators and the relevant
local authority. The supervision will provide greater opportunities
for the CCA to identify and promote good practice. The system
has been piloted at 15 BIPs and will be introduced nationally
SURGEONS (OVS) MANUAL
The existing OVS manual (now known as the BIP
manual) has been comprehensively rewritten to incorporate the
instructions issued in June 1999 which reflect the provisions
of Council Directive 97/78 and related Decisions. I enclose a
copy for your information.
The BIPs at Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Thamesport,
Milford Haven, Hull and Grimsby and Immingham are now able to
use the ANIMO system. However, Heathrow products BIP is still
experiencing problems which have been traced to their communications
link. Their computer system is being upgraded in mid-July and
we anticipate that this will correct the fault. Checks on the
operation of the ANIMO system will form part of the monthly BIP
DEFRA and HM Customs and Excise officials have
jointly reviewed instructions to their field staff ensuring that
the list of products which require veterinary checks is complete.
Copies of Commission Decision 2002/349/EC have been sent to the
Customs official responsible for their CHIEF computer system and
the profiles are being updated so that the products of animal
origin listed in the Decision are flagged for veterinary inspection.
All Official Veterinary Surgeon information notes issued by the
CCA are now being copied to Customs for distribution to their
We have undertaken two one-day seminars, on
10 and 19 June 2002, to update Official Veterinary Surgeons on
the provisions of our new Regulations. An OVS training course,
for new OVSs and SVS Veterinary Officers involved in supervision
of BIP operations will be held between 16 and 18 July 2002. SVS
officers will also provide ongoing training to OVSs and BIP operators
during their monthly liaison visits to BIPs.
However, we still look forward to receiving
details of the guidelines on OVS training which the Commission
is obliged to provide under Article 27 of Council Directive 97/78/EC.
Samples are taken at Border Inspection Posts
to be tested for residues, pathogenic agents and other dangerous
substances. Instructions to BIPs specify that such samples should
be taken from 1 per cent of consignments and sent for laboratory
A National Plan for monitoring residues in imported
animal products is in place, the testing being the responsibility
of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.
Other testing is currently carried out on the
basis of local plans, which reflect the throughput of each particular
BIP. Under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports)
(England) Regulations 2002 (and similar legislation in Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland), BIPs are required to submit to
the central competent authority regular returns detailing the
samples they have taken, the tests carried out on them and the
results of those tests.
We are currently drawing up a National Plan
to encompass these tests as well as residue testing, in consultation
with the various agencies involved.
The UK has sought clarification from DG SANCO
that freezer vessels are covered by Commission Decision 97/102/EC.
We await clarification on this matter and will take appropriate
action immediately upon notification of the correct interpretation
of the Decision.
It is not clear what certification or declaration
is acceptable from factor vessels and the UK would welcome discussion
of the matter with the Commission to ensure that any legislation
put in place in the UK complies with Commission expectations.
We have received a preliminary action plan from
Thamesport for the construction of a new border inspection post
facility. The timetable for the project does not envisage completion
before May 2003. We expect to receive an outline design for the
new facility this month and will write again when we have assessed
4 July 2002