Environment Secretary: Meat ban 'only if health at risk'

The Government is powerless to impose a ban on meat imports unless beef contaminated with horse meat is found to be a health risk, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said today.

The Environment Secretary has said he would impose a meat ban 'only if health is at risk'. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Appearing on BBC1's Sunday Politics show, Mr Paterson was asked if he would consider a ban if tests proved there was a food safety risk. He said: "If there is a threat to public health that is allowed within the rules of the European market.

He added: "If they find there is a product which could potentially be injurious to public health, emphatically, I will take the necessary action."