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Food Packaging

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the research projects he is funding into the packaging of food ; which of these have been identified as being near market ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean : The following research projects relating to the packaging of food are currently being funded by my Department. Only projects 18 and 19 on the list are classified as near market and funding on this research will end before March 1990. The remainder will continue as necessary in line with the Government's commitment to address and resolve food safety and hygiene issues of concern to taxpayers, consumers, producers and industry.

(1) The effects of electron-beam irradiation on additives present in food contact plastics.

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(2) Examination of the possibility of setting testing priorities for substances used in food contact materials.

(3) Mathematical and physical models of migration from food contact plastics.

(4) Assessment of consumer exposure to the differing types of retail packaging.

(5) Transformation of antioxidants during processing of polyolefins and subsequent migration.

(6) Feasibility study as to whether it is possible to set levels at which food contact materials become organoleptically unacceptable. (

(7) Development of a simple method for the determination of fat on the surface of food.

(8) Migration from food-contact plastics (ovenable materials) at elevated temperatures.

(9) Migration from non-ovenable food contact materials at elevated temperatures.

(10) Migration testing of materials and articles intended for use in microwave ovens and combination ovens.

(11) Studies on vinyl chloride oligomers with a potential for migration into foods.

(12) Migration from metal containers into foods.

(13) Secondary interactions of species migrating into food. (

(14) Development of analytical methods for substances on EC positive list of monomers for food contact materials.

(15) Feasibility of producing extracts of plastics for toxicological testing.

(16) Feasibility of setting up a reference collection of monomers and additives used in food contact plastics.

(17) Development of analytical methods for and measurement of migration of mineral hydrocarbons from food contact materials into foods.

(18) Optimum conditions for maintaining quality in packaged fruit and vegetables.

(19) Packaging Techniques for Improved Storage and Display.

Fishing Quotas

Mr. Godman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether with reference to the interim order of the President of the European Court of Justice, Case No. 246/89R, made on 10 October, he is in a position to estimate the number of fishing vessels which are now enabled to fish under United Kingdom quotas ; what their approximate share of the various quotas is likely to be ; if he will list the species they may catch and in which fishing grounds they can operate ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Curry : The European Court's order effects only the nationality criteria of part II of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988. The requirement that owners of British fishing vessels should be resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom remains, as does the need for vessels to be controlled and managed from here. We expect that these restrictions will seriously limit the number of de-registered vessels which will be able to come back on to our register and fish against our quotas.

Cash Limits

Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether it is intended to change the cash limit on any departmental vote for which he has responsibility.

Mr. Gummer : Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for Class IV, Vote 4 (other agricultural and food services and support for the fishing industry) will be increased by £300,000 from £148,631,000 to £148,931,000 to make

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provision for a single contribution to the International Sugar Organisation and the International Wheat Council. This contribution is being made towards a fund for stabilising rents over 10 years. The increase will be fully offset by a corresponding reduction by the Department of Trade and Industry in the cash limit for Class V, Vote 2 (support for industry (including research and development, protection of innovation, international trade, and enterprise and job creation programmes)) and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.


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