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Jim Knight: The Forestry Commission will follow the Senior Civil Service Recruitment Code procedures with regard to the appointment of a Director in Wales. Forestry is a devolved matter and I understand that the Forestry Commission will be working with the Welsh Assembly Government in managing the recruitment exercise.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Government had had sight of the EU study into the effects of rats being fed Monsanto's MON 863 maize when it voted in favour of the application to import MON 863 at meetings of the Regulatory Committee on 29 November 2004 and 19 May 2005; and whether she has made a subsequent assessment of MON 863 in the light of this study. 
Mr. Morley: I confirm that before voting on the dates mentioned the Government had seen both the rat feeding study submitted by Monsanto to support its applications under EU regulations and the critique of the study submitted by the German authorities
The votes taken on 29 November 2004 and 19 May 2005 relate to two separate applications on GM maize MON 863. The first related to the import of maize grain for use as any other maize (including feed but excluding cultivation) and the second to food products. Both dossiers will now go to the Council of Ministers for decisions as no qualified majority was reached at the respective committees.
The vote on 29 November related to the application by Monsanto via the German authorities under Directive 2001/18/EC for the import and use of GM maize grain, including feed but excluding food and cultivation. Monsanto's dossier included data from a rat
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feeding study. The German authorities submitted the dossier to other member states with a favourable opinion. In the UK the application was considered by the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment and the Advisory Committee on Animal Feed and based on their advice the UK gave a favourable opinion on this application.
The vote on 19 May was on an application made to the German authorities in August 2002 under the novel food regulations (EC) 258/97. This application is for food use of ingredients derived from GM maize MON 863. This dossier also included the results of the rat feeding study. The initial opinion from the German authorities was referred to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which concluded that MON 863 maize will not have an adverse effect on human health. This conclusion has been endorsed by the UK expert committee, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes.
In September 2004 the German authorities submitted a critique of the rat feeding study by Professor Pusztai. This highlighted a number of features of the study that appeared to indicate adverse effects of the GM maize. EFSA examined this document and issued a statement in September 2004 that confirmed its earlier conclusions. At the same time, the rat feeding study was independently re-examined by the GM sub-group of the UK's Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs, which confirmed that this was a normal and well-conducted study that did not indicate any adverse effects.
Jim Knight: Based upon the data we have received from English Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs), there has been 576,756 horse passports issued in England. Some of these were issued before the Horse Passport (England) Regulations came into effect.
Jim Knight [holding answer 26 May 2005]: The management of the National Fruit Collection (NFC) has been carried out by the Brogdale Horticulture Trust, under contract, since the early 1990s. We have recently awarded them a two year contract which will run until 31 March 2007.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are taken by her Department to (a) control and (b) reduce the cost of its associated public bodies. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to make an announcement about the possible transfer of shared and lateral drains to local water companies; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: Defra held a seminar in January 2005 for key stakeholders on the way forward for a possible transfer of private sewers to sewerage undertakers in England and Wales. Further information on the seminar is available on the Department's website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/water/industry/sewers/existing/index.htm
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the recent World Health Organisation report on xenotransplantation; and what plans she has (a) to improve regulations and (b) to promote ethical standards in this area. 
In 1998, the Government announced steps to tighten the regulation of the development of animal to human transplants (xenotransplantation) and issued a Health Service CircularHSC July 1998/126: Clinical Procedures involving Xenotransplantationto all national health service organisations to ensure that all hospitals comply with procedures to make xenotransplantation applications as set out by the United Kingdom Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority (UKXIRA). This document is available at: www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/ukxira/ukxann.htm
These regulations are continually reviewed by UKXIRA as outlined in section two of the fifth annual report, published in 2003, which resulted in UKXIRA recommending that the Government review the definition of xenotransplantation. This work is currently being taken forward to ensure that the United Kingdom's definition of xenotransplantation is in line with the revised, broader, definition adopted in the United States in 2000, and which the Council of Europe is expected to recommend for adoption by member states. The fifth annual report is also available from the website address above.
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