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Column 572The Microbiology of Meat and Fish Packaged for Retail Sale Development of Direct Epifluorescent Filter Techniques (DEFT)
Mr. Donald Thompson : Aujeszky's disease affects primarily pigs and rodents but occurs incidentally in most other species. Man, however, is not considered to be susceptible to infection. In deer the disease, if it occurs, results in death soon after infection with no significant transmission to other animals. Aujeszky's disease has been recorded in deer in other countries but available evidence suggests that its occurrence is rare in this species.
Mr. Holland : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish the comparative figures for aluminium levels in the various brands of cow and soya baby milk formulae ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : I repeat the undertaking given to the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) as to publication of the results of the Ministry's survey ( Official Report, columns 608-9 ). It is not my policy, however, to disclose information by brand name.
Mr. Holland : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take steps to ensure the withdrawal of brands of cow and soya baby milk formulae with high levels of aluminium in the light of recent research by the Medical Research Council and Dr. Mary McGraw of Southmead hospital.
Mr. Ryder : I am aware of the research mentioned. In addition, my own Department has recently completed a survey of infant formulae. I shall take any necessary action when the results have been assessed by my Department with the Department of Health.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the outside experts consulted by his Department on the effect on babies of food containing high levels of aluminium ;
(2) on what date his Department first received information that some popular brands of baby milk contain high levels of aluminium ; (3) what urgent steps his Department has taken in order to stop baby milk with high levels of aluminium being sold in shops.
Mr. Ryder : There have been a number of reports about aluminium in baby milk, dating back to 1985. As a result of these, my Department carried out a study on the levels of aluminium in infant formulae which has now been completed. The results of this survey have been referred to the Department of Health's independent medical and scientific advisory committee on toxicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment and I will take their advice into account in deciding whether and what action is needed.
Mr. Onslow : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the fisheries byelaw applications that are currently awaiting his Department's approval, indicating in each case when the application for approval was first submitted to him.
Byelaw-making authority |Number of byelaws |Date submitted for |awaiting confirmation |confirmation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee |7 |11 November 1988 Devon SFC |1 |8 December 1988 Kent and Essex SFC |1 |10 January 1989 Southern SFC |2 |20 January 1989
There are no byelaws awaiting confirmation which have been submitted to us by water authorities pursuant to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
Mr. Mudd : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne may expect a reply to his letter of 24 October 1988 to his Department on matters raised by constituency branches of the National Farmers' Union ; and why there has been a delay.
Mr. Ryder : My hon. Friend raised a number of important points which required careful consideration by officials in different parts of my Department. I regret that this, together with pressures of other work, delayed the reply to my hon. Friend which has now been sent.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice or recommendations he has received from his Veterinary Products committee on the safety implications for (a) animals and (b) humans of bovine somatotropin which have emerged as a result of the operation of the experimental farm trials by Monsanto into the use of bovine somatotropin in cows.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I am unable to comment on the progress of individual applications for product licences but, as I explained to the hon. Member in the answer that I gave him on 31 January, field trials are authorised only after the veterinary products committee is satisfied as to the safety of both humans and animals.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether his Food Standards Committee is investigating the content and labelling of minced meat ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what powers he has to control the content and labelling of minced meat ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 574composition and labelling of minced meat. Last year my colleagues decided not to introduce specific controls on the ground that there were already adequate controls afforded by the Food Act 1984 and the Food Labelling Regulations 1984.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what powers his veterinary staff have to monitor radioactivity levels in meat in slaughterhouses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department has access to the publications of Eurostat, a range of its on-line electronic information services and working documents relating to the activities of certain committees.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of (a) the beef production of the European Community and (b) intervention buying of beef comes from Great Britain, for the most recent year for which figures are available.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The total production of beef and veal in 1988 in the European Community is estimated by the European Commission as 7,660,000 tonnes. The provisional figures for United Kingdom production in 1988 is 965,000 tonnes (12.6 per cent.). In 1988 391, 000 tonnes of beef were bought into intervention in the Community, of which 39,000 tonnes (9.9 per cent.) were purchased in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of times his Ministry has reassessed habit surveys of members of the public around each nuclear establishment in each of the last 10 years, with the aim of identifying the most exposed members of the public ; and if he will make a statement.
Berkeley/Oldbury, Hunterston, Sellafield (Four surveys), Springfields, Winfrith, Whitehaven
Sellafield, Trawsfynydd, Sizewell, Wylfa
Chapelcross, Sellafield (Three surveys), Springfields
Heysham, Sellafield, Springfields
Hartlepool, Sellafield, Springfields, Torness
Dounreay, Sellafield, Springfields, Winfrith
Column 5751986--Seven Surveys
Cardiff, Dounreay, Dungeness, Hinkley Point, Sellafield (Two surveys), Springfields
Trawsfynydd, Hunterston, Sellafield (Four surveys)
Wylfa, Rosyth, Sellafield (Five surveys), Springfields, Loch Dee, Winfrith
Environmental exposure pathways and their significance are liable to change and the habit survey programme is therefore kept under continual review. Surveys are repeated at intervals, the frequency depending on the level of radiation exposure involved and possible changes in habits.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans there are to deal with contamination in excess of generalised derived limits as set by the National Radiological Protection Board ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : My Ministry has well established plans to deal with the occurrence of radioactive contamination in excess of the generalised derived limits recommended by the National Radiological Protection Board. If restrictions on the harvesting, movement and sale of contaminated livestock and foodstuffs are necessary, they would be imposed using the powers contained in part 1 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.
Mr. Clay : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects his Department to complete the preliminary examination of the licence application by North Venture Ltd. for the deep sea disposal of certain categories of waste.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of man years of his staff involved in poultry meat inspection in each of the last 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Meat inspection is the responsibility of local authorities. Officers from my Department visit all slaughter premises to advise on hygiene and welfare standards. The manpower involved for poultry slaughter premises, in the years for which figures are available, was of the order of :
|Man years ------------------------------ 1983-84 |8.5 1984-85 |8.5 1985-86 |9.1 1986-87 |7.7 1987-88 |7.1
Information for earlier years was not recorded.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the criteria that slaughterhouses have to meet for approval for exporting meat to other European Community countries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : For the requirements applying to red meat slaughterhouses I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on Wednesday 1 February ( Official Report, columns 240-41 ) to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins). All licensed poultry slaughterhouses must comply with the provisions of the Poultry Meat (Hygiene) Regulations 1976, as amended. The regulations implement EC directive 71/118, as amended, on health problems affecting trade in fresh poultry meat. Plants which engage in intra-Community trade may not take advantage of certain derogations permitted by the regulations and the directive for plants producing for the domestic market only.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consider introducing the appropriate legislation to require purveyors of bottled waters to state on the label the mineral, bacterial and chemical contents of the water.
Mr. Ryder : Legislation on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters is harmonised throughout the European Community and our implementing regulations (the Natural Mineral Waters Regulations 1985) require certain chemcial and microbiological criteria to be met. Labels on natural mineral waters are required to bear a statement of the analytical composition giving its characteristic constituents or bear the words "composition in accordance with the results of the officially recognised analysis of (date of analysis)". I am currently considering the need for specific statutory controls on other bottled waters.
Column 577new capital grant scheme giving greater priority to the control of pollution and support for conservation. After consultations with the EC Commission orders were laid before Parliament on 2 February which if approved will introduce the farm and conservation grant scheme on 20 February.
In my earlier statement I said that I had agreed with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury a provision of up to £50 million over the next three years on grants for pollution control. This means that we are now able to set a grant rate of 50 per cent. for this type of investment. In the lowlands where, because of the predominance of dairy farms, the potential for pollution is particularly acute, this will be the highest rate of grant ever offered for effluent facilities. We understand that it is also the highest rate in Europe. This substantial increase in the lowland grant rate underlines the Government's commitment to dealing with on-farm pollution and will strengthen the case for heavy penalties against those who continue to pollute.
The farm and conservation grant scheme also includes new conservation grants for heather, native woodlands and traditional barns. Farmers will receive grants of 50 per cent. in the LFA and 40 per cent. elsewhere for fencing stock out of heather moors and woodlands for a period in order to promote regeneration. In time the result will be better grazing and shelter as well as the restoration of important environmental features. Grants for the repair and reinstatement of agricultural buildings made of materials traditional in the locality, will be available at 35 per cent. provided that the farmer undertakes to keep the buildings in agricultural use. At the same time, we are increasing the grant rates for heather burning and bracken control from 15 to 40 per cent. in the lowlands and from 30 to 50 per cent. in the LFA. These new rates will also apply to other familiar conservation grants on hedges, stone walls, shelter belts, stiles and footbridges. All told, these changes give a greater priority to conservation than ever before.
Column 578Support for agricultural improvements under the new scheme will be confined to those investments which keep existing farmland in good condition without increasing surplus production. Grants will not be available for new buildings and roads. Drainage will be aided only where it is necessary to renew existing facilities on previously drained land. Grants for this and for fencing, reseeding and regeneration, lime and fertiliser, energy-saving facilities and flood protection will be provided at 25 per cent. in the LFA and 15 per cent. elsewhere.
In retaining these grants, we have been particularly conscious of their importance to farmers in hill and upland areas. The Government's commitment to agriculture in these areas is reflected both in the scope of the scheme and in the fact that grant rates in the LFA will continue to be higher than elsewhere for all items except waste handling and traditional buildings.
In the horticulture sector we intend to reintroduce grants for orchard replanting at up to 35 per cent. Rates of 40 and 35 per cent. will be available for the replacement of heated glasshouses and installation of heating systems from 1 December 1989 when the current rates under the agriculture improvement scheme come to an end. The closing dates for horticultural claims will be 31 March 1994 for orchard replanting and 31 December 1993 for the two other grants. As under the agriculture improvement scheme grants for agricultural improvements will be available only under an improvement plan. Grants for other types of investment will also be available without a plan but subject to prior notification in the case of waste facilities and traditional buildings.
Public expenditure provision for the new scheme is reflected in chapter 4 of the public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 604). The cost is forecast to reach around £55 million a year.
Leaflets and forms for the new scheme will be available from local Ministry offices on 20 February.