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Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many defendants have been electronically tagged since the scheme became operational ; and how many of these defendants by each scheme have breached the conditions of their bail ;
(2) how much each electronic tag pilot cost to date ;
(3) when he will be publishing his research findings on the pilot electronic tag schemes ;
(4) whether there will be any further trials of the electronic tag as an alternative to remand in custody ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : The number of defendants electronically monitored and the number of breaches as at 30 January is set out in the table. Electronic monitoring cannot prevent breaches of bail, which are also committed by defendants on bail, subject to other conditions, but it does enable them to be detected.
Trial area |Total mon- |Breaches<1> |itored --------------------------------------------------- Nottingham |17 |9 North Tyneside |13 |8 Tower Bridge |16 |7 |------- |------- Total |46 |24 <1> Includes defendants who have breached conditions of bail, been arrested for further offences or absconded.
The cost of the contracts (including VAT) for each trial is as follows : Nottingham £145,529, North Tyneside £158,808, Tower Bridge £260,369.
We expect to make available later this year an analysis of the outcome of the current trials.
So far as further trials of electronic monitoring are concerned, I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave on 10 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Knowles) at column 626.
Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will include the General Synod's miscellaneous paper 317 on new religious movements as evidence to the consultation process on his White Paper, "Charities--a Framework for the Future."
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will list in the Official Report, those food research projects which the Agriculture and Food Research Council will cease to fund as a result of the planned closure of the Bristol laboratory of the Institute of Food Research ; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for such rationalisation of projects.
Mr. Curry : The food research projects listed are those being carried out at IFR Bristol which have been identified as near market, that is, suitable for industrial support. Their funding by my Department is being phased out in 1989-90 during 1990-91.
1. Effects of poultry breeding, husbandry, handling and processing on carcase composition and quality.
2. Effects of breeding, husbandry, plant operations on processing quality turkey meat.
3. Effects of frozen storage on quality and processing (meat) 4. Carcase characteristics that determine value.
5. Define processing conditions for optimum and consistent quality in meat products.
6. Factors controlling meat restructuring processes.
7. Protein solubilisation and adhesion of reformed meats. 8. Heat and mass transfer in meat refrigeration.
9. Temperature and mass change in meat cooking.
10. Electrical stimulation, hot boning and accelerated ageing. 11. Electrical stimulation, hot boning and processing properties of beef, pork and poultry.
12. Meat process engineering.
13. Robotics in meat handling and processing.
14. Quality control, robotic vision and meat grading by video image analysis and fibre optics.
15. Industrial developments and technology transfer.
16. Carcase composition and meat quality in cattle.
17. Carcase composition and meat quality in sheep.
18. Techniques for assessment of carcase composition.
19. Effects of pre-slaughter handling practices on value of carcase and fresh meat.
20. Packaging techniques for improved storage and display. Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will specify the measures he is taking to ensure that public interest research and development on the safety and quality of foods, particularly meat and meat products, will not be diminished as a result of the closure of the Bristol laboratory of the Institute of Food Research in December 1990.
Mr. Curry : Public interest research and development on the safety of food is under way at the Norwich and Reading laboratories of the Institute of Food Research and will be increased following the reorganisation of the institute. In addition, MAFF is commissioning relevant work at Food Research Association and university departments. Food safety research of relevance to the meat industry is also being undertaken by the Ministry's own central veterinary laboratory and by the public health laboratory service.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultations he has had, or proposes to have, with representations of consumer interests, the food manufacturing industry, the food retailing industry, and farmers, over the arrangements he is making to ensure that public interest research
Column 825and development into the safety and quality of food, particularly meat and meat products, will be retained after the closure of the Bristol laboratory of the Institute of Food Research.
Mr. Curry : The research consultative committee on food safety and applied nutrition which consists of representatives from consumer interests and the food manufacturing and the food retailing industries, recently reported to the Priorities Board on the priorities for public interest research in the safety of food, including meat, and discussions are under way with a wide range of contractors to implement these recommendations. This followed consultations with outside organisations, including the food manufacturing and the food retailing industries, on the priorities for food microbiology research in 1988-89. As a consequence, the Ministry commissioned a major strategic initiative in the area of food microbiology research and development at various institutes throughout the United Kingdom.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he anticipates that there will be any diminution of the quantity or quality of United Kingdom-based research into (a) food irradiation, (b) micro-wave treatments, (c) exclusion of salmonella from chickens, and (d) the growth of listeria in foods, as a result of the closure of the Bristol laboratory of the Institute of Food Research.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what United Kingdom resources capable of monitoring the safety of the food processes of (a) cook-chill and (b) ready meal production on a scale appropriate to industrial conditions will remain following the closure of the Bristol laboratory of the Institute of Food Research.
Mr. Curry : Facilities for carrying out research and monitoring current conditions on the safety of cook-chill and other ready meal products exist at Leatherhead Food Research Association, Campden Food and Drink Research Association, Huddersfield polytechnic, Sheffield polytechnic and the Dorset Institute of Higher Education. The Ministry is funding work at some of these establishments in the fields in question and recognises the existent expertise.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will indicate what level of radiation contamination was present in soft fruit imported to Britain in each year from 1986 onwards ;
(2) if he will make it his policy to monitor future imports of soft fruit to Britain for radiation contamination.
Central records on the monitoring of soft fruit food imports by port health authorities for radiation contamination following the Chernobyl nuclear accident show that since 1986 only consignments of dried prunes from Romania have exceeded maximum permitted levels.
Column 826All consignments concerned have been refused entry into the United Kingdom. United Kingdom monitoring has not picked up any excess readings over the last two years.
Port health authorities are continuing to monitor food imports from outside the European Community in accordance with the latest European Council regulation (EEC No. 4003/89).
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what tests have been carried out to establish whether therapeutic medicants used in animal feedingstuffs show up in the flesh and offal of animals destined for human consumption ; what are the results of these tests ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : My Department carries out extensive monitoring of residues of veterinary medicines, including therapeutic substances administered in animal feed ; 40,000 samples are taken annually at randomly selected slaughterhouses and farms and are subject to screening tests and confirmatory analysis where residues are suspected. In 1989, 97 per cent. of samples analysed for anti-microbial substances passed these tests. In the remaining cases follow-up action was taken with the farms of origin.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what research he has commissioned on the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy to mice ; what figures are available on the incidence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy among mice ; and what information he has on the possibility of communication of bovine spongiform encephalopathy from mice to humans ;
(2) what restrictions have been placed on the export of British mice as a result of the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Mr. Maclean : Research has shown that bovine spongiform encephalopathy can be transmitted to mice in experimental conditions by intra-cerebral inoculation of BSE brain tissue and by feeding large quantities of infective material. Both are unnatural methods of infection which cannot be mimicked in field conditions. Questions about its incidence, risk and control do not therefore arise.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list in the Official Report the types of food, the quantities ordered and the locations of the distribution of all free foodstuffs received from Economic Community states for free distribution to pensioners to the United Kingdom over the past six months.
Mr. Curry [pursuant to his reply, 15 January 1990, c. 134] : I have placed in the Library of the House details of distribution centres for butter and beef under the EC surplus food scheme which have been notified to us over the past six months.