EUROPE SHOULD implement stronger import controls on illegal meat coming across its borders, according to the man leading the European Union Parliamentary inquiry into last years foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Speaking during a three-day visit to Britain, Wolfgang Kriessl-Dorfler said it was obvious that there had to be better controls both on the borders of the EU and between member states within the union.

...Carolyn Lucas, a Green Party MEP from the UK, said that the illegal importation of meats used by ethnic minorities was one of the big concerns that had been raised with the touring group of MEPs.

Comment; There is a lot to note in this report.

The question of ethnic minorities has been raised again in connection with illegal imports. This tune has been constantly sung by the NFU since CSF. There is no evidence to tie illegal imports with the recent outbreaks...and the desperation of the pig industry, in particular, and MAFF to prove otherwise makes me highly suspicious.

The news reports from the early days of CSF were amazing and worth study.

They found the source pig and insisted that a rambler had fed the sow a ham sandwich from a footpath. When it was pointed out that there was no footpath. They said someone had strayed from a path "because of mud" and fed the pig a ham sandwich. When it was pointed out that CSF is not carried by cooked ham, they said the ham sandwich must have been made with foreign uncooked ham. How many ramblers do you know that make their sandwiches from non-uk ham?

Then the pig industry published material that, by impliction, blamed illegal immigrants. Why?

The fact that the source pig was owned by a company with third world farming interests never got a mention.

Incidentally, unlike FMD, as far as I know, MAFF held back the names of both the owners and the infected farms. They certainly refused me any information claiming "it was against RCVS rules." I have always wondered why they should have withheld data during CSF that was freely available during FMD?

Their field staff were under orders not to identify farms or exact locations. Why?

Then FMD and the story about South African seamen and Chinese Restaurants. Someone in MAFF planted that story. Why?

Anyway, almost all "ethnic" imports are legal. "Ethnic" imports are very hard to control, because the smuggler can't see a problem and is usually unaware of any regulation. Some of the worst offenders are, of course, the British, who have always travelled with supplies of sausages and bacon regardless of the regulations in the destination country.

Anyone care to put their hands up?