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18 Mar 2003 : Column 658Wcontinued
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to establish diagnostic and treatment centres at (a) Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and (b) Barnet and Chase Farm Trust; when he expects such centres to become operational; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hutton: The need for additional capacity was identified in north central London and this was included in the December procurement exercise for independent sector Diagnosis Treatment Centres (DTCs).
Mr. Hutton: The national health service has made contingency plans for the deliberate use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. These plans are kept under careful and continuous review. Overall responsibility for CBRN planning rests with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.
Mr. Hutton: The Government have already made a commitment to introduce help with the costs of child care for all national health service-funded students, including trainee nurses, with children aged up to five years, by 2004.
Ms Blears: During the year 200203, 93.5 per cent, of the cost of Department of Health and Food Standards Agency (FSA) led initiatives to improve the nation's eating habits was allocated specifically to improving children's diets.
Funding for Department-led programmes aimed at improving children's diets totals £140.98 million, including the National School Fruit Scheme, with funding from the New Opportunities Fund, Food in Schools, in conjunction with the Department for Education and Skills, Welfare Foods and support for breastfeeding. The FSA has provided funding of £0.58 million as part of its nutrition action plan to support initiatives aimed at improving the diet and nutrition of children.
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In addition to the above, local nutrition initiatives are funded through health action zones, sure start, healthy living centres and through general funding allocations to health authorities and primary care trusts, on which information is not collected centrally.
Ms Blears: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not had the opportunity to visit any hospice whose sole remit is the care of terminally ill children. Should an opportunity arise to undertake such a visit he would give it his full consideration.
Richard House Children's Hospice in East London was visited in March 2002 by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper).
Ms Blears: This information is not held centrally. Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) only holds data for admitted patient care in England's National Health Service hospitals and therefore data is not available for home care. Collection of data at ward level is not mandatory and therefore is not available.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National Priorities Guidance target to reduce the per capita rate of growth in emergency admissions of people aged 75 or over to an annual average of 3 per cent. up to 200203. 
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he plans to charge the importers of non-animal foodstuffs from outside the EU for the testing of their imports into the United Kingdom under the proposals in the EU document of 10 February (EC Draft 6090/03).
Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has lead responsibility for this proposal on official feed and food controls. I am advised by the FSA that the proposal is for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council and as such, once adopted, its
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provisions will be directly applicable in all the Member States. This includes the provisions on imports from outside the European Union of foodstuffs of non-animal origin. The FSA's understanding of these provisions is that Member States will be required to collect fees for the costs incurred by the competent authorities from the importer or his customs agent. Clarification will be needed during the negotiations, which have not yet started. The FSA commenced a full public consultation on 12 March so that the views of all stakeholders may be taken into account in assessing the implications of the provisions and in developing the United Kingdom policy position on this and other issues arising from the proposal.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when Sir John Krebs will respond to the letter from the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb) dated 9 January 2003 concerning the Food Standards Agency's Annual Report. 
Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has lead responsibility for this proposal on official feed and food controls. I am advised by the FSA that it will seek to ensure that the proposal takes account of the principles of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. In practice this means ensuring that Community action will not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty and that decisions are taken at the lowest level consistent with effective action.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been commissioned by his Department into the costs and implications for product characteristics of the reformulation of food supplements in those cases where nutrient sources in use in the United Kingdom are not included in the lists of permitted nutrients set out in the annexes to the food supplements directive. 
Ms Blears: The Government have not commissioned any research into the costs and implications for product characteristics of reformulation of food supplements in those cases where nutrient sources currently used are not on the list of permitted sources. Information gathered by the Food Standards Agency in preparing the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the draft Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 provides estimates of the costs of reformulation up to £3,000 per product.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the potential costs involved in the production of dossiers for submission to the European Food Safety Authority in connection with nutrients for which manufacturers are
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seeking inclusion in the lists of permitted ingredients set out in the annexes to the Food Supplements Directive. 
Ms Blears: The Government have not made its own assessment of the potential costs involved in the production of dossiers for submission to the European Food Safety Authority. Industry cost estimates, provided to the Food Standards Agency during consultation, suggest that they might be £80,000 to £250,000 per dossier where significant safety data are not already available.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received from (a) individual companies, (b) trade organisations and (c) consumer bodies about nutrients which are permitted for use in food supplements in the United Kingdom, but which are omitted from the lists of permitted nutrients set out in annexes 1 and 2 of the Food Supplements Directive. 
Ms Blears: A number of individual companies, trade organisations and lobby groups have recently suggested that the Government should seek an amendment to the Food Supplements Directive to allow the continued sale in the United Kingdom of safe and appropriately labelled food supplements even if they lie outside the technical restrictions of the Directive.
During negotiations, the Government fought hard to secure the provisions in Article 4 of the Directive, which enable member states to allow the continued sale of products that do not comply with the compositional requirements up to 31 December 2009, provided certain criteria are met. The Government are taking advantage of these provisions and have no plans to seek a further amendment to the Directive. Negotiations were finished some time ago and it is not likely either that the Commission would be willing to reopen them now or that there would be support from a majority of other member states for such an amendment.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department and the Food Standards Agency intend to take to address technical difficulties and financial costs associated with the production of dossiers for consideration by the European Food Safety Authority in relation to nutrients which are not included in the list of permitted ingredients for use in food supplements set out in Schedules 2 and 3 of the proposed Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003; 
Ms Blears: The Government are not able to address the financial issues associated with the production of safety dossiers for consideration by the European Food Safety Authority. The Food Standards Agency has written to the European Commission with the aim of
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facilitating a meeting between United Kingdom stakeholders and representatives of the European Union Scientific Committee on Food to discuss the technical content of such dossiers.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number and value of food supplement products on the UK market which contain nutrients omitted from Annexe1 of the Food Supplements Directive and for which no nutrient sources are listed in Annexe 2 of the Directive. 
Ms Blears: The Government have not made an assessment of the number of products on the United Kingdom market which contain nutrients and nutrient sources omitted from Annexes 1 and 2 of the Food Supplements Directive. In the UK, the retail market for vitamins, minerals and other supplements was valued at £335 million in 2000. Industry estimates suggest that up to 5 per cent. of the market may be affected, indicating a value in the region of £16.75 million.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what nutrients are on the market in the United Kingdom as ingredients in food supplements but are not listed in Schedules 2 and 3 of the proposed Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 recently published by the Food Standards Agency; how long each of them have been on sale in the UK; and whether representations are under preparation by manufacturers for submission to the European Food Safety Authority for consideration as possible additions to those annexes. 
Ms Blears: According to information provided by industry, the nutrients boron, cobalt, nickel, silicon, tin and vanadium are used as ingredients of food supplements currently on the market in the United Kingdom and are not listed in Schedules 2 and 3 of the draft Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 issued for consultation in October 2002. The most recent information received by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) from industry indicates that manufacturers are not preparing safety dossiers for any of these nutrients. The FSA does not hold information on how long each of these nutrients has been on the UK market as ingredients of food supplements.
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