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6. Accompanied baggage

Smoked fish is brought into the UK in the accompanied baggage of passengers arriving on flights from West Africa. Often based in West Africa these people sell to traders in London without paying appropriate freight, handling and inspection charges although such product is also used for home consumption. The product may or may not originate from an EU authorised processing plant. According to one airport official this trade was “huge and difficult to police”. A random inspection of one flight from West Africa by authorities two years ago revealed 500 kg of undeclared smoked fish and meat in passengers’ luggage. A more recent “swoop” on a plane from Nigeria uncovered a whole freshly slaughtered goat as well as smoked fish and bushmeat. Research for the study indicates that the volume of product entering the UK in accompanied baggage is potentially as great, if not greater, than the volume entering the country as formal air freight (see Indicator of Market Size in UK).

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