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Mr. Freeman : The revised pharmaceutical price regulation scheme, which began in October 1986, was scheduled to operate for six years, although provision is made for an interim review at the request of either party (Government or industry) after not less than three years. That stage has not yet been reached.
Mr. Freeman : The Prescription Pricing Authority, in common with other health authorities, is set a cash limit each year and this is published in the supply estimates. The next estimates will be published in March.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if there are any proposals to improve international comparisons on pharmaceutical products pricing policy to the standard of the United Kingdom PACT in the light of 1991 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The European Commission intends to compile a data bank containing prices of medicines in different member states. On that, I have nothing to add to the reply by my hon. and learned Friend of 26 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, East (Mr. Sayeed) at column 712. The purpose of the PACT system is to provide NHS general medical practitioners with detailed information about their prescribing patterns and costs.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of abortions at 18 weeks, 19 weeks and 20 weeks gestation were performed during 1987 because the child was likely to be born handicapped.
Notifications of abortions which took place with a gestation period of 18, 19 and 20 weeks, showing the number with a mention of ground 4 of the 1967 Abortion Act, which states
Column 261"there is a substantial risk that if the child was born it would suffer such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped"
for England and Wales--1987.
|A |B Weeks |All grounds total|Ground 4 total |Percentage B of A ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 18 |2,800 |195 |7.0 19 |1,725 |121 |7.0 20 |1,363 |126 |9.2 |------- |------- |------- Total |5,888 |442 |7.5
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether, under the health review, Calderdale district health authority will have to provide an accident and emergency operational facility in Calderdale ;
(2) whether Calderdale district health authority will be able to direct its accident and emergency patients to Bradford and pay the Bradford authority for their treatment.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke [holding answer 13 February 1989] : It will continue to be the responsibility of Calderdale district health authority to decide how best to meet the need for a locally available accident and emergency service for people resident within the district. The White Paper proposals do not alter this responsibility.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1), pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Halifax, 7 February, Official Report, column 799, if district health authorities and the self-governing hospitals will have to provide an operational base for accident and emergency within their locality ;
(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Halifax, 7 February, Official Report, column 799 , whether district health authorities will be able to pay a neighbouring authority to treat patients in the operational accident and emergency facilities of the neighbouring authority.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke [holding answer 13 February 1989] : District health authorities will be required to ensure that accident and emergency services, which are core services, are available locally. They may, if they choose, arrange for these services to be provided in their own authority area or in a neighbouring authority area depending on what is more convenient for patients. Self-governing hospitals which provide accident and emergency services will continue to provide them unless the district agrees to their relocation.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what responsibility his Department has for ensuring that foodstuffs are safe for human consumption and carry no risk of food poisoning ; in what way this responsibility is carried out ; how many and what type of staff are required ; what is the annual cost to his Department ; and what has been the change in the number of staff and the annual cost to his Department in each of the last five years.
Column 262Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for ensuring that foodstuffs are wholesome and fit for human consumption. We exercise this responsibility through legislation and the issue of guidance. Under the Food Act 1984, the food trade and industry has primary responsibility for ensuring that its products are safe.
Local authorities are primarily responsible for enforcing this legislation. Food safety issues which have more than a local impact will usually involve my Department in liaison with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the food industry, the public health laboratory service and other relevant interests. My Department also acts as the point of contact with the European Community on food safety issues related to food imported into or exported from the United Kingdom.
In addition, my Department provides medical and other professional advice directly or through providing support to various expert committees in areas such as microbiology, toxicity and nutrition. Further detailed information could be provided only at
78. Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment his Department has made of the effects on employment, turnover and investment in the food retailing and manufacturing industry of the plans to complete the internal market in foodstuffs.
Mr. Ryder : The completion of the internal market will undoubtedly bring changes in the climate under which the food retailing and manufacturing industries operate. However, it is the individual companies themselves which are best placed to determine precisely what the impact will be on their own business and to invest accordingly. Government's role is in providing the information which companies need to do this, by promoting awareness of the changes in prospect and of the challenges and opportunities these changes present.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether his Department has any estimate of the proportion of excreta from broiler birds which is blown out of the broiler house as airborne dust and vapour.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Farmed deer are not required to be routinely tested for any disease, but the industry has been asked to consider a voluntary deer health scheme based on tuberculosis attestation to which could be added monitoring for other diseases.
Column 263Report showing for each of the last five years how many deer and of what species were imported into the United Kingdom ; how many were imported for the purpose of deer farming or the improvement of stocks of British deer ; from what countries they came ; what procedures were carried out to determine if they were free from disease ; whether any tests were carried out for tuberculosis and whether any strains of tuberculosis are specific to deer.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The table provides the number and species of deer imported into the United Kingdom and the countries of origin in the last five years. The purpose of these imports is not available.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1984 |Red |21 |- |157 |44 |- |- |29 |-}270 |Reindeer |- |- |- |- |19 |- |- |-} 1985 |Red |6 |20 |217 |141 |- |- |106 |9} |551 |Fallow |- |- |3 |12 |- |- |37 |-} 1986 |Red |14 |32 |75 |200 |- |- |- |35 |356 1987 |Red |50 |- |13 |- |- |- |- |32 |95 1988 |Red |- |6 |77 |- |- |3 |- |-} |Mesopotamian|- |- |9 |- |- |- |- |-} |123 |Fallow |- |- |- |28 |- |- |- |-} |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Country totals 91 58 551 425 19 3 172 76 1,395
These deer were required to undergo a period of at least 60 days on-farm isolation on their premises of origin and, depending on the disease situation in the country of origin, a further period of not less than 14 days in officially supervised pre-export quarantine. Each consignment had to be accompanied by a health certificate signed by an official veterinary officer of the exporting country confirming that these requirements had been met and, depending on the disease status of the country of origin, that the deer concerned had been tested, with negative results, for the following diseases : avian and bovine tuberculosis, brucella abortus, foot and mouth disease, blue tongue, epizootic haemorrhagic diseast and leptospirosis. There are no tuberculosis strains which are specific to deer.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what grounds he intends to stop the supply of unpasteurised milk direct from farm to consumer ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My proposal reflects the fact that consumption of untreated milk poses a health threat since, even in the best run herds, clinical infections can be present in the milk even though no symptoms are shown by the cows. Effective heat treatment is the only way to minimise the risk of transmitting milk-borne diseases such as salmonellosis and cympylobacter infections to the consumer.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies have been done by or on behalf of his Department, and what regulations exist, to set standards for the handling, and transport, of frozen foods.
Column 264examined the temperatures and quality of frozen food encountered in different commercial cold stores and retail outlets. A further project is in progress examining temperature distribution in retail display cabinets.
The Food Hygiene (General) Regulations 1970 and the Food Hygiene (Market Stalls and Delivery Vehicles) Regulations 1966 lay down the handling and transport hygiene requirements for most foods, including frozen food. These regulations are currently being reviewed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health. International trade in frozen food is subject to the provisions of the agreement on the international carriage of perishable foodstuffs. In addition, regulations are being made to implement the EC directive on quick frozen foods, adopted on 21 December 1988 which lays down provisions controlling aspects of labelling, manufacturing, processing and storage of quick frozen food. Apart from their specific regulations the general provisions of the Food Act 1984 apply, which, inter alia, prohibit the sale of food which is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken to protect farmers and other users of the river Esk in Cumbria, where findings recently of radiation doses three to four times above the generalised derived limits set by the National Radiological Protection Board have been discovered ; and if he will make a statement regarding grazing cattle and sheep eating this contaminated vegetation and soil entering the human food chain with its subsequent dangers to health.
Mr. Ryder : As my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson) made clear in his reply to the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) on 9 February, Hansard, column 780, substantial monitoring in this area
Column 265has made clear that doses of radiation, even to those receiving the highest external exposure, are well within the internationally recommended limits.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will direct the Potato Marketing Board to reconsider its refusal to increase the quota allowed to organic growers in those cases where they can show they are unable to meet demand.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make it his policy to study the Dutch system of potato marketing and its success in exporting to different countries before reaching a decision upon the future of the Potato Marketing Board.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tonnes of potatoes the potato processing industry has used for each of the last five years ; and how many tonnes have been imported from the Netherlands for processing for the same years.
Crop year |Thousand tonnes ------------------------------------------------ (July-June) 1983-84 |1,252 1984-85 |1,404 1985-86 |1,417 1986-87 |1,466 1987-88 |1,442
The import figures do not distinguish between imports for processing and other imports.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has had on the system of a statutory declaration of ingredients in animal feedingstuffs since 1 December 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : My Department consulted widely on the European Commission's proposal made in June last year to make compulsory some form of ingredient listing on the labels of animal feedingstuffs to supplement the detailed information already required. Representations from the National Farmers Union and the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association have been received among those of many other organisations, and consultation is continuing as the discussions in Brussels progress.
Column 266Order 1981 requires all protein material of animal origin for animal feedingstuffs to be manufactured free from salmonella. I have at present no plans to do so. However, discussions are under way between my officials and representatives of the animal feedingstuffs industry to consider the application of the present controls and any further measures which may be needed to reduce salmonella contamination in feedingstuffs.
Dr. Hampson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will update the figures on the common agricultural policy given in his predecessor's answer to the then hon. Member for Billericay on 17 February 1983, Official Report, column 459.
Mr. MacGregor : Following the European Council agreement in February 1988, the rate of growth of agricultural market support spending is legally restricted to 74 per cent. of the rate of growth of Community gross national product and its proportion of the EC budget is forecast to fall to about 59 per cent. by 1992.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the benefits that consumers have derived from increases in the efficiency of the British agricultural industry in recent years.
The Council discussed the Commission's proposals on farm support prices and related measues for 1989-90. The discussion was limited to an initial exchange of views, and the Council will return to these questions at its March meetings.
During the discussion, I took the opportunity to urge the need to combat the fraudulent use of funds under the common agricultral policy, to which the Commission had referred in bringing forward its proposals on farm prices. I pressed the Commission to make specific proposals in this area, on which member states could then take action ; and I called for systematic follow-up to reports from the European Court of Auditors.
Column 267The Council agreed, subject to the opinion of the European Parliament, an amendment to its measure, adopted last year, for payments to farmers who extensify their production. The amendment, for which I had pressed on practical grounds, will enable member states to operate these arrangements on a pilot basis until the end of 1990.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he intends to compensate those egg-producers banned from selling raw eggs due to infection of their flocks with salmonella ; for how long such bans will be operational ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 8 February 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) on 10 February 1989 at column 831.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the frequency with which hens infected with salmonella lay infected eggs ; and if he has instituted any survey on that subject.
salmonella-contaminated egg, but information is not available on the frequency with which this actually occurs.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the distribution of salmonella infection in chicken flocks ; and if he has instituted any survey of such infection.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : Since salmonella enteritidis does not cause overt clinical disease in adult poultry it is not possible to determine the extent of the infection without extensive testing which, in the absence of a simple, rapid and sensitive test for salmonella enteritidis, is not possible.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement concerning the action that would be necessary to achieve a long-term solution to the problems associated with salmonellae in poultry and eggs.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the replies that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) on 18 January ( Hansard columns 214- 15 ), and 1 February ( Hansard column 247 ), to my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 27 January ( Hansard column 806 ) and my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) on 10 February ( Hansard column 831 ).
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the incidence of transmission of salmonella into eggs by trans-shell and transovarian routes respectively ; and if he has instituted any research into this question.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : On transovarian infection of eggs, I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Clwyd, South-West (Mr. Jones) on 22 December 1988 ( Hansard column 440 ).
It is clear from research which has already been conducted that, though the frequency of contamination by either route is not known precisely, transmission through the shell from faecal contamination is more common than transovarial transmission.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the number of salmonellae in eggs produced or marketed in England, and on any survey he has instituted in order to compile such information.
From the 15,411 eggs from 500 flocks which have been examined for various purposes, however, in only one instance was salmonella enteritidis detected.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the incidence of salmonella infected hens in chicken flocks ; and if he has instituted a survey of such incidence.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : Since salmonella enteritidis does not cause overt clinical disease in adult poultry it is not possible to give precise figures of the extent of the infection without extensive testing, which in the absence of a simple, rapid and sensitive test for salmonella enteritidis, is not possible. However, the Zoonoses Order 1975 requires isolations of salmonella to be reported. Provisional figures indicate that 370 isolations of salmonella enteritidis in 1988 were reported.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek to give statutory backing to the code of practice for the control of salmonellae in commercial laying flocks prepared by his Ministry jointly with the British Poultry Federation.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : As I announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) on 18 January Hansard columns 214-15 I propose to introduce a requirement on operators to carry out regular bacteriological monitoring, together with strenghthened statutory requirements about the control of rodents, with provision for compulsory cleansing and disinfection and requirements for the hygienic handling of eggs.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce a salmonella enteritidis eradication scheme for the poultry industry based on a slaughter policy with compensation.
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding answer 14 February 1989] : Salmonella organisms are widespread in the environment and their total elimination is virtually impossible. However, as one of the measures to deal with the problem of salmonella enteritidis, as I announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr.
Column 269Shepherd) on 10 February Hansard column 831, I shall shortly be making an order to provide where necessary for the compulsory slaughter of laying flocks in which salmonella has been confirmed. Compensation will be paid as required by the Animal Health Act 1981.
Dr. David Clarke : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the research projects he is funding to investigate the potential hazards of dioxins in food ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) whether he is investigating the presence of and potential hazard of dioxins in food arising through contact with packaging from bleached paper products ; and if he will make a statement.
(i) an investigation into the possible occurrence of dioxins in food arising from the use of paper-based packaging materials ; (
(ii) a survey of dioxin levels in retail fatty foods ;
(iii) a pilot study on dioxin levels in encompassing the major food groups in the United Kingdom diet.
Mr. Crowther : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what changes have taken place in Halal and Shechita slaughter since the publication of the Farm Animal Welfare Council report on the welfare of livestock when slaughtered by religious methods (1985).
Mr. Donald Thompson [holding reply 14 February 1989] : There have been no changes to the statutory provisions governing the religious slaughter of animals. I have been considering representations on the Government's response of 29 October 1987 to the Farm Animal Welfare Council's report on religious slaughter. I expect to issue proposals for new regulations on the welfare of all animals at slaughter shortly.
72. Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many small firms have gained contracts as a result of major public works contracts in the south of England in the most recent period for which figures are available ; and if he will make a statement.
In 1986, we commissioned research by Brunel university into local authorities' policies and practices in combatting racial harassment in housing and expect