30 August 2002

Airports failing to post illegal meat import warnings

TOURISTS entering the UK receive little information about the threat meat imports pose to British agriculture, initial findings to an NFU survey suggest.

Farmers last week handed out several thousand postcards at Heathrow, Stansted and Cardiff airports reminding passengers that illegal imports could bring animal diseases into the country.

Travellers were also asked to tell the union what import controls they experienced returning from their holidays.

"Initial responses suggest that most arriving passengers experience no level of information or controls and have very little understanding of the problem," said an NFU spokesman.

A major education effort and strong enforcement of controls were required to reduce the threat, he added.

The union plans to continue the campaign by enlisting the help of taxi drivers and travel agents to distribute its literature.

Illegal meat imports are widely believed to be responsible for the outbreaks of swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease in recent years. &#42