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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list by location all the abattoirs within the three counties of Yorkshire showing which have a licence to export meat to the European Economic Community, which have had their export licence revoked and which can still provide meat to be consumed by British nationals ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 18 January at column 213 to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins). The list of all slaughterhouses in England and Wales placed in the Library of the House identifies those which are export approved.
Two non-export approved slaughterhouses in Yorkshire formerly were so approved but it would not be appropriate to list their names. There can be many reasons for the withdrawal of export approval, including changing business requirements. There is no reason to assume that hygiene standards in slaughterhouses which were once export approved are no longer satisfactory or are below those in other slaughterhouses whether or not they are export approved. The legislation governing the supply of meat for consumption in England and Wales is enforced
Column 719by local authorities who appoint environmental health officers for supervision. The professional status of environmental health officers is of the highest order.
Mr. Key : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further measures will be taken to prevent the introduction into Great Britain of salmonella in animal protein intended for use as animal feedingstuffs.
The new conditions include the position of veterinary certification of heat treatment to destroy salmonellae in consignments, originating from countries from which animal protein has, within the last two years, been found to be contaminated when sampled at the port and landing. Samples will be obtained from consignments on arrival and tested for salmonellae. Subsequent action will depend on the results obtained.
In the case of consignments of fishmeal not shipped direct from the country of origin, transhipment will be authorised only through a limited number of ports in the Federal Republic and Germany and the Netherlands, since transhipment will be supervised by the veterinary authorities in those countries.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research is being (a) undertaken by his Department or (b) commissioned by him into animal mutations following the Chernobyl accident ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : The incidence of congenital defects in grazing animals is constantly kept under review, and no difference is observed between areas of high and low deposition of Chernobyl fallout. No specific research into animal mutations caused by fallout from the Chernobyl accident is therefore being undertaken by my Department, nor has any been commissioned.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the locations of the slaughterhouses where he is carrying out a trial of the feasability of radioactive monitoring of sheep ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : The feasibility trial is being carried out at three slaughterhouses in Cumbria and three in Lancashire, which in normal circumstances will be processing animals from the Cumbrian restricted area.
slaughterhouses is carried out by Ministry staff based in the area.
Mr. Ryder : We shall remove restrictions as soon as it is possible to do so without compromising food safety. The broad trend in radioactivity within the Cumbria restricted area in 1988 compared with 1987 was downwards and this is encouraging. However all the while there are sheep above the 1,000 bq/kg limit, restrictions will have to remain in place.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Casualty sheep from the post-Chernobyl restricted area in Cumbria may be buried or cremated by farmers on their own land or, where this is not possible, farmers may make arrangements for disposal of the carcases at a county council refuse tip or incinerator. The location and availability of incinerators is a matter for the local authorities.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the incinerators by name and district used for the disposal of bovine spongiform encephalopathy infected cattle or parts of the same ;
(2) if he will list the incinerators by name and county which may be used for both the disposal of bovine spongiform encephalopathy infected cattle and sheep from restricted areas.
Ministry Veterinary Investigation Centres at Carmarthen ; Itchen Abbas, Winchester ; Langford, Bristol ; Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne ; Merrythought, Penrith ; Riseholme, Lincoln ; and Sutton Bonnington, Loughborough ;
Scottish Agricultural Colleges' Veterinary Investigation Centres at Auchincruive, Ayr ; Bucksburn, Aberdeen ; Edinburgh ; Perth ; and St. Boswells, Galashiels ;
Shetland Islands Council incinerator at Rova Head, Lerwick ; and at private incinerators at Royston, Herts ; and Wrexham.
As regards the disposal of sheep from infected areas, I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply.
Mr. Donald Thompson : A precise number cannot be readily estimated but all my staff whose work relates to licensing or use of sheep dips ensure that the precautions needed to avoid hazards to human health are identified and understood.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what research he is conducting into the run-off of sheep dip into the Rivers North Tyne and South Tyne and its tributaries ; (2) what research he is conducting into the run-off of sheep dip into water courses.
Mr. Ryder : None. However, because sheep dip is potentially a serious pollutant my Department issued a press notice on 20 September 1988 to reinforce the guidance in ADAS booklet 2198 and to remind farmers and others of the need to take the greatest care in disposal. I am placing a copy of the press notice and booklet in the Library of the House.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he gives to farmers about the siting of sheep dip facilities on the edge of water courses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The Department's code on good agricultural practice, the free guide to the code, ADAS pamphlets p 593 and p 2332 and ADAS booklet 2198 all give advice on safe dipping and recommend farmers to seek guidance from local water authorities on the siting and construction of dip baths and soakaways.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he is conducting into the effects on human health of organochlorine compounds in sheep dip ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research he is conducting into the effects of organophosphorous compounds in sheep dip on human health ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department, with the Department of Health and the Health and Safety Executive, assesses all available data on the risks to human health from organophosphorus compounds which are the subject of applications for veterinary medicinal product licences. In addition, the HSE will be undertaking a study during the compulsory sheep scab dipping period this autumn. My Department also records and investigates all suspected adverse reactions to veterinary medicinal products, including sheep dips.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many staff are currently employed in the agricultural development advisory service and how many he expects to be in post on 1 January 1990.
Mr. Ryder : There are 3,823 professional, scientific, technical and industrial staff (excluding temporary staff) currently in post in ADAS. Future staffing levels will need to reflect the proposals and other matters dealt with in the Minister's reply of 21 March to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on agricultural and food research and development, as well as future demands for ADAS chargeable and other services.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many staff at the Central Veterinary Laboratory are qualified veterinarians ; and how many such qualified veterinarians he expects to be in post on 1 January 1990 ;
(2) how many staff are currently employed at the Central Veterinary Laboratory ; and how many he expects to be in post on 1 January 1990.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The number of permanent staff in the professional, scientific, technical, industrial and administrative grades currently employed at the Central Veterinary Laboratory is 573 . Of these, 46 are qualified veterinarians. Some additional posts are being created to deal with work on salmonellosis, but future staffing levels will need to reflect the proposals and other matters dealt with in my reply of 21 March to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on agricultural and food research and development, as well as future demand for ADAS chargeable services.
Mr. Ryder : There are at present 11 experimental husbandry farms in my Department. I refer the hon. Member to the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 21 March in which the Minister outlined a proposal to close one of these farms.
Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary on 16 March at columns 349-50 and to the reply that the Minister gave on 21 March at column 515 to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell).
Mr. Ryder : There are at present seven experimental horticulture stations in my Department. The closure of one of these (Lee Valley) has already been announced and will take place on 31 March 1989. I refer the hon. Member to the reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 21 March 1989 in which the Minister outlined a proposal to close a further three stations.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions the Forestry Commission awarded grants under the broadleaved woodland grant scheme in England between its inception and closure ; and on how many occasions the grant of £100 for obtaining professional advice in the preparation of a plan of operations under the BWGS was awarded.
Mr. Ryder : To date, the Forestry Commission has approved 5,156 applications for grant under the broadleaved woodland grant scheme in England. The grant of £100 has been paid on 819 of these applications.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether additions to the list of free EEC butter distributors are being made ; what is the criteria for an organisation to be eligible ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) announced to the House that 127 organisations had been designated to distribute produce to the most needy. These organisations were designated to participate for the two years 1988 and 1989. The conditions with which they had to comply were outlined in my reply to the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) on 19 October 1988. We are currently consulting designated organisations about their allocation of produce for 1989 but only in exceptional circumstances could we consider making any additions to the list of those organisations.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many of his officials attend meetings of the Veterinary Products Committee ; and when he last received a report on the committee's activities.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The level of attendance at meetings of the Veterinary Products Committee by the Departments concerned depends on the subject matter and the needs of the committee. The committee periodically draws matters to my attention as well as providing me with an annual report of its work, which is published.
Mr. Ryder : At the present time no risk to health is suggested which would warrant an immediate ban on pesticides which were approved before 1965. The routine review programme announced on 16 March will enable the independent advisory committee on pesticides (ACP) to re-evaluate the available data and if necessary require additional or updated data from companies. The ACP will then be in a position to make any recommendations it considers necessary.
Mr. Ryder : The completion date for the review of pesticides approved prior to 1965 cannot be estimated until all relevant data sheets have been prepared and ranked in priority order for consideration by the advisory committee on pesticides. In addition, the time taken for each review of an active ingredient will vary.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what are his estimates for the number of staff he will employ in evaluating old and new pesticides in each of the next five years ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) how many staff he has employed to evaluate old and new pesticides since 1985 ; and if he will make a statement.
|Number ----------------------1985 |22.5 1986 |32.5 1987 |32.5 1988 |43.0 1989 |52.0 1989-94 |<1> <1> Staffing levels are under review.
Of these, there is a core of staff engaged full-time on new active ingredients and the review programme and these will be supplemented by other technical experts in the unit, those in other Government Departments and by the independent experts on the advisory committee on pesticides and its scientific sub-committee.
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 20 March 1989] : My Department operates two schemes in England and Wales. The ADAS wildlife incident investigation scheme responds to reports of the deaths or illness of companion animals (chiefly cats and dogs), wildlife (mammals and birds) and honeybees, and to the discovery of possible poisoned baits.
Column 725Information resulting from these investigations is made available to the advisory committee on pesticides, to be used in the course of making recommendations concerning pesticide registration. If there is evidence that incidents have involved misuse of pesticides, in contravention of the Control of Pesticides Regulations or other legislation, further investigations may be conducted to obtain evidence for use in enforcement action.
Surveys of pesticide residues in wildlife are undertaken periodically by the working party on pesticide residues.
In addition, my Department has recently completed a seven year field study at Boxworth experimental husbandry farm into the environmental impact of different pesticide strategies on winter wheat. Annual reports have been prepared, summarising the results of this in-depth ecological study and the full account of our findings are now being prepared for publication.
(2) what assessment he has made of whether the producer processor levy, the retail processor levy and the farm pasteurising levy are compatible with the payment of FEOGA refunds.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Producer retailers currently pay a contribution of 3.369 pence per litre to the Milk Marketing Board. I do not regard these arrangements (or the similar producer processor arrangements) as having any bearing on the payment of FEOGA refunds.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what basis he instructed the Milk Marketing Board to withdraw the farmhouse cheese makers levy in 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I assume the hon. Member is referring to the Milk Marketing Board's decision to end the farmhouse cheesemakers' scheme (FCS) on 28 February 1987. The board's decision reflected my concern that the FCS milk pricing and allocation system risked distortion of competition between cheesemakers, and might therefore be regarded as contrary to the Community rules governing our milk marketing arrangements.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will list all appeals against the Veterinary Products Committee's rejection of a product licence for BST to be heard in the next three months ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I shall in due course receive the Veterinary Products Committee's recommendations on applications for product licences for BST. Decisions on licences are a matter for the licensing authority.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has of plans by Egypt to construct a chemicals plant capable of producing chemical warfare agents, at Abu Zaabal, near Cairo ; and if he has consulted with his counterpart in the United States Government over this matter.
Mr. Eggar : We have no information to indicate that the plant at Abu Zaabal is intended to produce chemical warfare agents. We are in regular contact with the United States and other allies to discuss CW proliferation worldwide.