WI Conference Backs NFU Calls For Tougher Import Controls
NFU described the threat of foreign diseases like foot and mouth
breaching Britain's borders again as just "a click away"
on the computer.
Food Standards Chairman Michael Seals was speaking at yesterday's
annual conference of the Women's Institute in Brighton.
said that while freer travel and trade was to be welcomed, it carried
risk with it. Further routes had been opened up by mail order and
Seals told the conference: "The Internet allows us to window
shop around the world.
navigating a handful of sites myself I was just one click away from
buying meat products from anywhere on the globe, whilst sitting
at home in Derbyshire."
foot and mouth virus and Classical Swine Fever, just six months
earlier, have both been imported into the country in recent years
with disastrous effects.
huge losses continue to be suffered by British agriculture - and
the countryside - at the hands of imported diseases like rhizomania,
which affects sugar beet, and Dutch elm disease.
Seals added: "Imported disease is a real and perhaps an increasing
improvements in global bio-security and world-wide efforts to control
diseases, effective import controls and surveillance have a crucial
role to play.
must recognise that unless our front line - our first line of defence
- is working properly and effectively, then more problems will follow."
NFU has been campaigning for more than a year to get improved border
controls and for greater co-ordination of enforcement resources.
The Government published its action plan in March, but more needs
to be done, says the NFU. The WI has adopted the campaign and voted
in 99.7% in favour of a resolution
calling for stricter import controls at yesterday's annual conference.
told the conference: "The Government says it is serious about
bio-security and border controls and reform is long overdue.
to act will only expose us unnecessarily to diseases that will once
again decimate our animals, decimate our trees and, one day, even