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Poultry (Thailand)

Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the occasions since 1 May 1997 when (a) poultry farms and (b) poultry processing plants in Thailand have been inspected by (i) MAFF officials alone, (ii) MAFF officials within an EU inspection team and (iii) an EU inspection team not including MAFF officials; and if he will place in the Library copies of the reports of those visits. [101100]

Ms Quin [holding answer 2 December 1999]: Veterinary staff from the MAFF/Department of Health Joint Food Safety and Standards Group and the MAFF Veterinary International Trade team visited Thailand from 31 January to 12 February this year. They visited five poultry meat establishments, four of which were combined slaughterhouses, cutting plants, meat preparations and meat products premises. The fifth establishment was a stand-alone meat products premises. The central laboratory of the Department of Livestock Development, a hatchery and a broiler farm were visited. The report of the mission was sent to the Commission and placed in the Library on 24 June 1999. It can also be found on the Ministry's internet site, the address of which is http://maffweb/animalh/int-trde. A European Commission-led inspection of poultry or poultry meat premises in Thailand is currently under way, and I will ensure that the report is placed in the Libraries of the House as soon as it is available.

Farm Animal Welfare

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce legislation to require pigmeat and other meat which has been produced by methods which would be illegal in the UK to be labelled as such; and if he will make a statement. [101637]

Ms Quin [holding answer 7 December 1999]: Unilateral action of the kind suggested would be contrary to European law. However, MAFF is raising such labelling issues in EU and international discussions. We are also consulting all interested parties on guidance aimed at ensuring that country of origin markings on food labels provide accurate information about the true origin of ingredients used. In the meantime, we will continue to encourage retailers, caterers and public procurement authorities to source their supplies of pork and pork products to British standards.

Beef on the Bone Ban

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for what reasons the Government (a) decided to require that no beef with the bone in from cattle over six months old should be sold to consumers and (b) not to make public the research findings on the subject, together with SEAC's assessment of the risk. [101735]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 7 December 1999]: The ban on sales of bone-in beef from cattle over six months of age was introduced after the Government was advised by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) that BSE infectivity had been discovered in the dorsal root ganglia, and possibly bone marrow, of cattle infected experimentally with BSE. The Government's decision to introduce the controls was taken after consideration of SEAC's advice and in the

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light of advice from the then CMO, Sir Kenneth Calman, that he would be very concerned if any tissues that had been shown to transmit BSE were knowingly allowed to remain in the human food chain.

SEAC's advice to Ministers, including its assessment of the risk, was published on 3 December 1997 by means of a Ministry of Agriculture News Release. Sir Kenneth Calman's advice was published on 5 December 1997 by means of a Department of Health News Release. Copies of both were placed in the Library of the House. Details of the research findings were published in a peer review journal "The Veterinary Record": GAH Wells et al, January 1998 (vol.142, pp.103-106), and March 1999 (vol.144, pp.292-294).

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what new scientific evidence he received between 21 September and the date on which he announced the lifting of the ban on beef on the bone. [101737]

Mr. Nick Brown: On 30 November, I received joint advice from the 4 CMOs in the UK, based on the latest epidemiological estimates from the Oxford Group.

A copy of this advice was placed in the Library of the House at the time.

Pig Farming

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the cost to pig farmers in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Cumbria of the banning of sow stalls and tethers. [102396]

Ms Quin: The stall and tether ban was introduced in 1991, with an eight-year phase-out period for existing stall and tether systems. No recent assessments have therefore been made of the costs to pig farmers in either the UK in general or Cumbria in particular.

Bovine Somatropin

Mr. David Heath: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will support the European Commission's proposal to ban bovine somatropin from January 2000. [101748]

Ms Quin [holding answer 9 December 1999]: We have received clear advice from the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) that the treatment of dairy cows with recombinant bovine somatropin (rBST) is associated with severe welfare problems. We announced on 11 October that we had accepted the VPC's advice to support a continuation of the moratorium or equivalent measures which prohibit the use of rBST. Accordingly, we support the ban proposed by the European Commission. A copy of the VPC's report is in the Library of the House.

Over-30-months Scheme

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the findings of the SEAC review into the over-thirty-months scheme; and if he will make a statement. [102218]

Ms Quin [holding answer 13 December 1999]: The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) is not undertaking a review of the over- thirty-months scheme, but of the over-thirty-month rule,

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which determines those bovines which may be slaughtered for human consumption. The Committee has been considering the issues involved at its meetings throughout 1999. Reports of its deliberations have been the subject of subsequent press briefings by the SEAC Chairman and published in SEAC News Releases. SEAC continued the review at its most recent meeting on 29 November. The normal press briefing will be held, and News Release issued, shortly.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice his Ministry gives to (a) hunts and (b) hunt kennels on the implication for hunts of measures to deal with specified risk material. [102540]

Ms Quin [holding answer 13 December 1999]: Hunts and hunt kennels are consulted on proposals to amend the statutory controls on specified risk material (SRM) through the Master of Foxhounds Association and the Master of Deerhounds Association. The operators of hunt kennels are advised as necessary on the SRM controls by Ministry veterinary officers during their monthly audit visits to these premises. Such advice will normally be confirmed in writing, particularly in respect of any deficiencies in the handling or control of SRM found. Advice is also given in response to specific requests by letter or telephone from individual hunts or hunt kennels.

BSE Inquiry

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much the Phillips Inquiry into BSE has cost to date; and what estimate he has made of its final cost. [102790]

Ms Quin: The cost to date of the BSE Inquiry, including the costs of liaison units and legal support for witnesses from the main Departments involved, is about £20 million. The present estimate of the final cost is about £26 million.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Phillips Inquiry into BSE will report. [102789]

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Ms Quin: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) on 8 November 1999, Official Report, column 459W.

CAP Support Regimes

Mr. Curry: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the CAP support regimes which will be subject to the modulation levy under the rural development regulation, together with the cash yield of a 1 per cent. levy for each regime, in respect of (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [102465]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 December 1999]: The Government announced their intention on 7 December to introduce modulation of farm payments as from 2001 and to use the funds released, with Government match funding, towards the seven-year Rural Development programme. A list of the farm payments affected is given in the table.

Levels of modulation receipts will vary each year. Indicative receipts from 1 per cent. modulation for the years 2001 to 2006 in England would be:

£ million

These receipts would refer to the calendar year in which the modulation was applied. Due to operational considerations, some receipts from modulation in one calendar year would not be available for spending until the following financial year.

The National Assembly for Wales has recently announced its intention to apply modulation. The Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly will be making announcements on funding the Rural Development Regulation shortly.

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List of CAP scheme payments

SectorLegal baseNotes
Arable cropsArticles 2 and 5, Regulation (EC) No 1251/1999Area payments including set-aside payments and including durum wheat and special aid
Potato starchArticle 8(2), Regulation (EEC) No 1766/92Payment
Grain legumesArticle 1, Regulation (EC) No 1577/96 Area aid
FlaxArticle 4, Regulation (EEC) No 1308/70Area aid (the portion paid to farmers)
HempArticle 4, Regulation (EEC) No 1308/70Area aid
SilkwormsArticle 2, Regulation (EEC) No 845/72Aid to encourage rearing
TobaccoArticle 3, Regulation (EEC) No 2075/92Production aid
SeedsArticle 3, Regulation (EEC) No 2358/71Production aid
HopsArticle 12, Regulation (EEC) No 1696/71Area aid
Regulation (EC) No 1098/98Payments for temporary resting only
Beef and vealArticles 4, 5, 6 and 10, 11, 13, Regulation (EC) No 1254/1999Special premium, deseasonalisation premium, suckler cow premium (including when paid for heifers and including the additional national suckler cow premium when co-financed), slaughter premium extensification payment, additional payments
Milk and dairy productsArticles 16 and 17, Regulation (EC) No 1256/1999 Dairy premium and additional payments
Sheep and goatsArticle 5, Regulation (EC) No 2467/98Ewe and she-goat premium and LFA supplements
Agri-moneyArticles 4 and 5 of Regulation (EC) No 2799/98: Articles 2 and 3 of Regulation (EC) No 2800/98Payments to producers (including those under the transitional Regulation)

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