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Codex Alimentarius Commission

Mr. Illsley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the names of the British representatives on the Codex Alimentarius Commission together with its (a) terms of reference, (b) decision-making procedures and (c) voting methods. [3102]

Mrs. Browning: The Codex Alimentarius Commission is an intergovernmental body established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation

The commission is assisted in its work by 29 committees. Some deal with general matters, that is labelling; some with specific commodities, that is, fish and fishery products; and some are regional committees. The UK is represented by officials from this and other Government Departments. Representatives of industry and consumer organisations may also attend.

The commission determines the need for a standard and arranges for it to be drafted. There then follows an eight-step procedure--which can in certain circumstances

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be reduced to five steps--in which the standards are reviewed twice by the specific committee and the commission and twice by Governments and international organisations before adoption.

Decisions at committee and commission meetings are generally taken by consensus. When it does occur, formal voting is either by a simple showing of hands of those eligible to vote--one vote per member country present--or, if demanded by any member, a roll call vote, where the vote of each member is recorded. The commission may also decide a matter by secret ballot.

Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the incidence of reported feline spongiform encephalopathy for each available year until 1989; and if he will make a statement on his estimates of unreported feline spongiform encephalopathy for this period. [3361]

Mrs. Browning: The number of feline spongiform encephalopathy cases confirmed by date of clinical onset for each month since 1989 at 29 October 1996 is:

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(25) Data incomplete.

No earlier cases have been identified. We have no evidence to suggest that under reporting of FSE cases occurs.

1. The data do not include five cases confirmed in 1996 for which detailed information is not yet available.

2. Previous figures supplied for numbers of FSE cases have been on the basis of year of administrative confirmation and not on the basis of date of clinical onset of disease as is the case with the above. It would not be appropriate to provide monthly figures by the month of confirmation because of the time lag between suspicion and confirmation. The above figures will therefore not necessarily reflect previous figures given.

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Fishing Permits

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he estimates the European Union will institute a common fishing permit system. [3311]

Mr. Baldry: Council regulations 3760/92 and 1627/94 provide the framework for Community licence and permit systems to enable member states to regulate fishing activities. They are the basis for the detailed measures in western waters introduced on 1 January 1996. The United Kingdom fishing industry is therefore already familiar with these arrangements, which involved licences issued by UK fisheries departments. They do not entail a European fleet run from Brussels.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the rules and regulations he proposes to repeal or amend by means of a reference to the Deregulation Committee before the end of 1996; and if he will make a statement. [3200]

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Mr. Boswell: The Ministry has already made use of order-making powers to deregulate aspects of the Corn Returns Act 1882 and the Slaughterhouses Act 1974. We currently have no plans to present further proposals to Parliament this year.


Mr. Dykes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what figures he collates relating to the costs of vaccination of cats and dogs in the United Kingdom. [3067]

Mrs. Browning: None. The price of vaccines and the fees charged by veterinary surgeons are matters of commercial judgment.

Ritual Slaughter

Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much meat from animals slaughtered by a religious method for the food of (a) Muslims and (b) Jews was exported from the United Kingdom in (i) 1993, (ii) 1994 and (iii) 1995. [3624]

Mrs. Browning: Data are not separately available for exports of meat from animals slaughtered by religious methods and those slaughtered by other methods.

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School Heads and Governors (Duties)

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate she has made of the number of pages of legislation extant that are now directly applicable to heads or governors of (a) maintained and (b) grant-maintained schools in respect of their obligations and duties; and in each case what estimate she had made of the additional number arising from the Education Bill. [2554]

Mr. Forth: No such estimate has been made. Head teachers and governors carry important and wide-ranging responsibilities for the education of their pupils, alongside local education authorities and other parties. These responsibilities are duly set out in current and prospective statute, but cannot sensibly be assessed in terms of the number of pages of legislation.

Departmental Offices (Security)

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment who are the contractors for security services to cover the offices of her Department in (a) Doncaster and (b) Mexborough; what is the total cost of the contract; and if she will make a statement.[2676]

Mr. Forth: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 11 November 1996:

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