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(5) The Zoonoses Order 1989 (made under section 29 of the Animal Health Act 1981), which came into operation on 1 March, provides for the compulsory slaughter where necessary of laying flocks in which salmonella has been confirmed. Compensation will be paid as required under provisions of the Act.
Column 376(6) Another order will be made shortly under section 1 of the Animal Health Act 1981 providing for the compulsory bacteriological monitoring of all poultry laying flocks.
(7) Following on from the requirements to monitor further measurees will be introduced under the Animal Health Act 1981 covering the registration of breeding and laying flocks and the registration and monitoring of hatcheries.
(8) Restrictions are being imposed under the powers in the Zoonoses Order 1989 on sales of eggs for human consumption when invasive salmonellae are found in laying flocks and restrictions will be imposed on sales of poultry and hatching eggs when invasive salmonella are found in breeding flocks.
(9) Provisions on compulsory cleansing and disinfection of laying houses are to be applied where disease has been isolated. (
(10) There will be new statutory requirements for the hygienic handling of eggs. The powers will be taken in the order covering registration of breeding and laying flocks and hatcheries. (11) Present control measures applicable to rodents will be strengthened under the new statutory requirements on monitoring to further minimise the risk of spread of salmonella.
(12) An education campaign in the hygienic handling of food in the home is underway.
(13 to 16) Codes of practice have already been introduced for : commercial laying flocks
poultry breeders and hatcheries (poultry health scheme members) poultry breeders and hatcheries (non-members)
(17) Guidelines for the control of salmonella in the production of final feed for livestock have been introduced, to be followed shortly by a more detailed code of practice ; there will also be a similar code for the production of animal protein.
None of these changes requires new primary legislation. New secondary legislation has already been introduced in respect of items 1 and 5 and will be required for items 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 which will be introduced as soon as possible.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many times in 1988 he consulted outside organisations about the content of press releases prior to their publication ; and if he will make a statement.
(2) which organisations he consults prior to publishing press releases ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Normally, outside organisations are only advised on the content of Ministry press notices in advance when the notice refers to specific actions involving the organisation(s) concerned.
Mr. Ashton : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has to alter the number of persons employed by the Agricultural Development Advisory Service on research and development.
Mr. Ryder : The outcome of my noble Friend's consultations with industry on the funding for near-market research will be an important factor in determining the future staffing levels of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service on research and development. I shall
Column 377keep the House informed of decisions taken to adapt our research facilities and staffing to the policy on near-market research.
Mr. Ashton : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what level of establishment he plans to maintain at Gleadthorpe Farm research establishment near Warsop, Nottinghamshire ; and what plans he has to ensure that the work it does into poultry research will continue.
Mr. Ryder : The future level of establishment at experimental husbandry farms will depend on the extent to which industry takes up the funding of near market research. My noble Friend will be having further consultations soon concerning this matter with the organisations concerned.
Mr. Ryder : Journalists wishing to visit Gleadthorpe EHF or other Agricultural Development and Advisory Service establishments should, in the first instance, put their request to the Ministry's press office. All such requests are looked at sympathetically.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether his Department has a comprehensive list of all food additives including flavourings and colours at present in use in Britain ;
(2) if he will provide an estimate of the number of food additives including flavourings and colours at present in use in Britain.
Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that there will be sufficient consular provisions for the summer of 1989 to cater for expected visa requests from proposed visitors from eastern Europe to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of the United States of America about encouraging the transition to democracy in Chile.
Mr. Eggar : We have regular discussions on developments in Chile with the United States Administration, as we do with our European partners. All of us continue to encourage an orderly and peaceful transition to democracy in that country.
Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet executives of Nottingham development enterprise to discuss the relocation of parts of his Department to Nottingham as part of the policy on the relocation of such posts away from the south-east.
Mrs. Chalker : Under the policy which my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General announced on 31 March 1988, the foreign and Commonwealth Office is now reviewing the location of its work with a view to finding sites offering labour markets, value for money and increased operational efficiency. Where appropriate, areas which are the focus of the Government's regional and urban policies, such as Nottingham, will be considered. There are no plans at present to relocate parts of the diplomatic and aid wings of the FCO to Nottingham.
Mr. Anderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made or proposes to make, alone or in co-operation with European Community partners, to the South African Government about the effects of the audit and inspection provisions of the Disclosure of Foreign Funding Bill on bilateral and European Community programmes to assist the victims of apartheid.
Mrs. Chalker : I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on 1 February. Since then, we have made clear to the South African Government our serious concern about certain features of the draft Disclosure of Foreign Funding Bill, including its wide information- gathering provisions. We have had no reason to challenge the draft Bill's provisions regarding audit.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement of progress on the introduction of information technologies to facilitate internal communications in his Department and the provision of information to the public concerning those areas for which he is responsible ; and if he has any further plans to apply the newest technologies in these fields.
Mrs Chalker : The IT strategies of each wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office directly support the Department's business aims and objectives. Particular attention is paid to securing value for money from new technology by using IT tools and systems that meet Government and international standards.
Column 379In 1987 a new automated message handling system was introduced into the FCO communications centre to speed up the transmission and receipt of messages between the FCO and its overseas missions. Since 1983 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has invested significantly in computerised financial and personnel management systems to enhance efficiency of resource use and to measure more effectively the results of its activities. Six such systems serving about 300 work stations are in operation. Overseas about 130 posts have standard IT systems in support of our commercial, information, consular, aid and administrative activities. The bulk of these are standard systems which will be upgraded to meet the newly emerging standards over the next two to three years.
The future needs at home for secure office automation in the diplomatic wing are the subject of a current £4.5 million turnkey development contract. If the evaluation of this pilot scheme proves satisfactory, proposals for substantial investment in this area will be scrutinised against the background of the Department's business objectives, cost benefit analysis and other operational considerations.
A separate office automation pilot is in progress in the aid wing. This makes use of a separate message handling switch providing, combined telex, facsimile and electronic mail facilities. If successful it will be extended to integrate more closely ODA's three United Kingdom sites and five overseas development divisions. The FCO will be making use of the electronic news distribution service to forward press notices via the Central Office of Information to the press.
Column 380Other enhancements have included the widespread introduction of facsimile and automated telephone exchanges in overseas posts and the provision of abreviated telephone dialling facilities from FCO departments in both wings to almost all overseas missions. There is currently an ongoing development for the introduction of IT-based secure communications systems between the FCO and its overseas missions. Within the next 12 months up to 12 missions should receive this eqipment thereby speeding up the handling of information between London and posts overseas.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed with President Vassiliou on 1 March progress in the intercommunal talks. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and I followed up those discussions in our meeting with him on 2 March. We encouraged Mr. Vassiliou to continue to negotiate constructively towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to meet Mr. Denktash. We shall be urging Mr. Denktash to take a similarly constructive attitude to the search for a settlement.