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10 Jun 2003 : Column 831W—continued

Chewing Tobacco

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the sale of chewing tobacco. [116887]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health's policy aims to reduce tobacco consumption in any form. Chewing tobacco is a legal tobacco product, though it is not as widely available as other forms of tobacco and is popular among some ethnic communities. The national health service offers support through its Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0 169, its Asian helplines and smoking cessation services across the country for those who wish to quit.

In common with all other tobacco products, chewing tobacco is required to be labelled under the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) Regulations 2002, which require health warnings to be displayed. On chewing tobacco products, this warning reads "This tobacco product can damage your health and is addictive."

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Communicable Disease Report

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which agency produces the Communicable Disease Report; how frequently it is issued; and to how many NHS organisations it is distributed. [116884]

Ms Blears: The Communicable Disease Report (CDR) is produced by the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre (CDSC) of the Health Protection Agency and is published weekly on its web site. An email version of the CDR is also available on request, at no charge, which is currently sent out to around 1,700 addresses every week—including at least 1,000 recipients in the national health service.

The CDSC no longer routinely produces paper copies of this publication.

Correspondence

David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 24 April 2003 regarding a constituent, ref P01028404. [117205]

Ms Blears [holding answer 9 June 2003]: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 6 June 2003.

Drug Dependence

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the availability of treatment for drug dependence in people with severe personality and psychotic disorders in London. [116501]

Mr. Hutton: There are currently 11 national health service providers of mental health services in London. These providers either directly provide or have made arrangements for the provision of NHS and independent sector in-patient, out-patient and community services for people with drug dependence who also have severe personality or psychotic disorders.

The local borough-based planning and commissioning of these services is co-ordinated by the local drug action teams.

Efficiency Savings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the target is for efficiency savings in 2003–04 expressed (a) in money terms and (b) as a percentage of the Department's expenditure limit. [114115]

Mr. Hutton: The Spending Review 2002 value for money public service agreement target requires that value for money in the national health service and personal social services will improve by at least 2 per cent. per annum, with annual improvements of 1 per cent. in both cost efficiency and service effectiveness.

EU Committees

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials in the Department serve on EU committees or working parties. [116090]

Ms Blears: There is a number of Council and Commission groups dealing with matters of concern to the Department. The most appropriate nature of

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attendance by officials depends on the particular matter, or matters, under discussion and therefore what expertise is required to take discussions forward.

Exercise Pilots

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the scope of the local exercise pilots, due to begin in September 2003. [116889]

Ms Blears: The local exercise action pilots (LEAP) programme will evaluate the effectiveness of nine primary care trust led, community pilots across the country, aimed at increasing levels of physical activity in priority groups.

Individual pilots will aim to reach a minimum of 50,000 people, including individual target groups of approximately 1,000 people. Each pilot site will receive up to £200,000 funding over three years to develop interventions.

The pilots will cover a variety of innovative approaches, ranging from incorporating activity into everyday life to providing structured opportunities in local facilities.

While all of the pilots will take place in neighbourhood renewal fund areas, the interventions will take place in a range of locations including urban, rural areas, green spaces, market towns and sport action zones. The key target groups for the interventions are:


In addition, other groups have been identified such as people with diabetes, teenage mothers and people on low incomes.

A national evaluation will, qualitatively and quantitatively, assess the overall effectiveness of the programme and the individual pilots in increasing levels of physical activity.

Food Ingredients

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received for (a) industry bodies, (b) consumers and parent organisations, (c) hon. Members and (d) others, about the proposal for amending EU Directive 2000/13/EC on ingredients present in foodstuffs. [116358]

Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is in regular contact with a wide range of interested parties, including representatives of industry, consumer groups, enforcement authorities and health professionals regarding the proposal for amending EU Directive 2000/13/EC on ingredients present in foodstuffs. Most recently, the FSA has received a number of representations from consumer and industry representatives, including concerns about the implications for labelling of some processed ingredients.

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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken by (a) his Department and (b) the Food Standards Agency to ensure that proposed amendments to European food labelling legislation do not require the labelling of products as containing wheat or egg if the only such presence is a derivative of the original substance which no longer contains the established allergenic component. [116359]

Ms Blears: As currently drafted, the European Commission's proposal for amendments to European Union labelling rules would require not only that all derivatives of listed allergenic ingredients be declared in the ingredients list, but that the same allergenic ingredient, for example, wheat or egg, also be declared. In cases where the derivatives no longer have the potential to cause an allergic reaction, this additional information is unnecessary and could cause undue concern to allergic consumers. The Food Standards Agency has discussed this issue with interested parties and is supporting revision of the proposal to address this issue by establishing a list of derivatives for which the source allergenic ingredient would not need to be declared, pending evaluation of scientific evidence supporting a permanent exemption.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposal for amending European legislation on ingredients in foodstuffs on (a) coeliac patients, (b) those at risk of anaphylaxis, (c) those with special dieting requirements and (d) diabetics. [116360]

Ms Blears: The Government have consulted widely on the European Commission's proposal to amend the European Food Labelling Directive 2000/13/EC, as regards indication of the ingredients present in foodstuffs. Its assessment of the implications has included consideration of the potential benefits to consumers, the implications for enforcement authorities and the potential costs to the food industry. Its view is that the proposed changes would be of particular benefit to consumers with anaphylaxis and with coeliac disease, because it will ensure food labels provide comprehensive information on those ingredients which are most likely to cause intolerance reactions. The proposal would also have a wider benefit for all consumers, including those with special dietary requirements such as diabetics, because it would remove the 25 per cent. compound ingredient rule, which currently allows declaration of a compound ingredient rather than its constituent ingredients, so long as that ingredient contributes less than 25 per cent. of the weight of the product.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has undertaken an assessment of the labelling changes for foodstuffs on the UK market, and other implications of the European proposal for amending Directive 2000/13/EC on derived ingredients. [116361]

Ms Blears: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has consulted widely on the European Commission's proposal to amend the European Food Labelling Directive 2000/13/EC, as regards indication of the ingredients present in foodstuffs. Its assessment of the implications has included consideration of the potential benefits to consumers, the implications for enforcement authorities and the potential costs to the food industry. The Government are broadly supportive of the

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proposal, which will deliver benefits to all consumers, but particularly to allergic consumers. As far as derivatives are concerned, however, the Government's view is that the proposal, as currently drafted, would require, in some cases, unnecessary, and potentially misleading, additional labelling as to the source of the ingredient. The Government are supporting revisions which would prevent this unnecessary labelling.

The FSA continues to consult with interested parties as negotiations progress and to refine its impact assessment as amendments are made.


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