New measures to stop foot and mouth disease entering Britain through illegal meat imports have been revealed by the government.

The measures, costing £25m over three years, include Customs and Excise taking responsibility for anti-smuggling controls on illegal imports of meat and other animal products imported directly from non-EU countries at ports and airports.

British Pig executive chairman Stewart Houston said: “I am particularly pleased at the move to put all responsibility in one area together with the advice package for travellers which is something that has been missing until now.”

Houston also applauded the move to set up a stakeholder group to discuss the draft action plan.

The measures were announced alongside the publication of a risk assessment which estimated that 7,500 tonnes of illegal meat were imported into the UK every year.