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19 Feb 2008 : Column 672W—continued


Female Genital Mutilation

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many victims of female circumcision were treated by the NHS in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of dealing with the results of female circumcision in each such year. [184578]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available centrally.

Food: Allergies

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals for the regulation of (a) the recording and (b) advice on the use of food allergens by commercial organisations. [186635]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 February 2008]: Food allergens are safe food ingredients for the vast majority of people, although approximately 2 per cent. of the United Kingdom’s adult population need to avoid certain foods because they may trigger an allergic reaction. All ingredients deliberately added to a pre-packed food already have to be declared on the label. Furthermore, existing food allergen labelling rules ensure that, despite any other food labelling exemptions, the 14 allergenic food ingredients of greatest public health concern across the European Community must always be declared on the label of pre-packed foods.

The Food Standards Agency has recently issued two best practice guidance documents for food businesses. The “Guidance on Allergen Management and Consumer Information” is aimed at producers of pre-packed foods to help them eliminate the possible cross-contamination of allergenic ingredients and to decide on appropriate warning labels if this should be unavoidable. “The Provision of Allergen Information for Non Pre-packed Foods” is intended to help those businesses providing food in restaurants, sandwich bars, delicatessens etc where the food is not pre-packed and it is essential to
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communicate the presence of any allergenic ingredients in the food, where the customer needs this information. These guidance documents were produced with the help of relevant interested parties (food manufacturers, food retailers, enforcement bodies and consumer organisations).

Food: Labelling

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects his Department’s (a) Healthy Food Code of Good Practice and (b) evaluation of different food labelling systems to be completed. [184518]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government will finalise a Healthy Food Code of Good Practice with industry leaders over the course of 2008. It is designed to be an ongoing partnership with the food industry including manufacturers, retailers, the food service and catering sectors all of which will be challenged to make commitments. The Government’s aim is to develop long term partnerships with all parts of industry to drive sustained improvements that make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices.

The independent evaluation of front of pack nutrition signposting schemes is expected to be completed by end of 2008.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which retailers have adopted the Food Standards Authority’s recommended traffic light colour-coded approach to nutrition labelling; and if he will make a statement. [186399]

Dawn Primarolo: Currently eight United Kingdom retailers use traffic light front of pack labels; Asda, Budgens/Londis, The Cooperative, Boots, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. This represents more than 40 per cent. by sales of the food retail market in the UK.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential of the Food Standards Agency's guidance on the provision of allergen information for non-prepacked foods to reduce consumer choice. [186837]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 February 2008]: The guidance was produced by a multi-stakeholder group which included representatives of the allergy charities and thus the views of consumers were taken into account as the guidance was developed.

Food allergic and food intolerant consumers need information on the allergen content of foods in order to make safe food choices. The primary aim of this guidance is to increase the information available to such consumers and so enable them to be able to reliably choose the food that is safe for them. Without information on the allergenic ingredients used in the food being provided, many allergic consumers are likely to be restricted in their choices.

Food: Supermarkets

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what legislation governs the provision of information by supermarkets in respect of foodstuffs (a) produced and (b) processed by them in-house. [186320]


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Dawn Primarolo: Whether the food stuff is produced in-house by the supermarket, or manufactured independently, the information accompanying the food is governed by the Food Labelling Regulations (1996), as amended. These regulations also cover nutrition labelling. There are further regulations covering specific labelling on different commodities, such as honey or meat products.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Animal Feed

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on future supplies of GM free protein ingredients for animal feed. [186463]

Dawn Primarolo: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for the safety of feed material and feed products that enter the food chain and does not therefore undertake research concerning the future supply of particular feed (or food) commodities. Materials derived from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) cannot be used or marketed as feed or food unless the GMO in question has been assessed as being safe, and has been specifically authorised by the European Union under the relevant legislation. The FSA has commissioned, and is funding, research which underpins the safety assessment of GM food and feed.

Health

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what key steps the Government plan to take on public health in the next three years. [183843]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are taking forward and building on commitments to improve people’s health given in the White Paper “Choosing Health:making healthy choices easier” (2004). This includes developing and implementing key strategies on tackling obesity, smoking cessation, alcohol harm, and sexually transmitted infections. They are also addressing the poorest groups and communities through their programme to reduce health inequalities, which is a priority for the national health service and local government in 2008-09.

Health Services: Children in Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of looked after children in each local authority area received an optical check on an annual basis in the latest period for which figures are available. [179416]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 16 January 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

Improving the health and wellbeing of looked after children is of paramount importance. Children in care are more likely to experience health problems, particularly mental health problems, than their peers and it is important that more is done to meet their needs.

Our White Paper “Care Matters: Time for Change” set out how this is a priority for the Government. It outlined a strong package of measures intended to ensure that we improve health outcomes for this
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vulnerable group of young people, including by ensuring better joint working between local authorities and health care bodies. For the first time guidance on promoting the health of looked after children will be put on a statutory footing for both local authorities and health bodies.

The available information about the health care of looked after children has been placed in the House Libraries.

Health Services: Overseas Visitors

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish full details of the responses to his Department’s consultation on proposals to excluded overseas visitors from eligibility to free NHS primary medical services. [186004]

Dawn Primarolo: Publication of the full responses to the 2004 consultation “Proposals to Exclude Overseas Visitors from Eligibility to Free NHS Primary Medical Services” will form part of the publication of a further consultation document that will result from the Review of Access to the NHS by foreign nationals when it is completed.

Hepatitis C

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response he made to the Health Protection Agency laboratory reports of hepatitis C infection in the third quarter of 2007; and if he will make a statement. [186826]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 February 2008]: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) published data on reported laboratory diagnoses of hepatitis C for July to September 2007 (third quarter) in Health
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Protection Report (volume 2 number 4) on 25 January 2008. The data, which are provisional, showed an apparent drop in the number of laboratory diagnoses reported in that quarter compared to the previous two quarters of 2007.

The Department understands from the HPA that a large number of diagnoses were incorrectly allocated to the under one-year age group category and were therefore omitted from the published data. Laboratory reports in cases aged under one year are excluded from the published data because they may indicate the presence of passively acquired maternal antibodies.

Revisions are currently being made to the third quarter figures. Revised data will be published in the Health Protection Report when the fourth quarter’s data are available later this year.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the Written Declaration of the European Parliament on hepatitis C; and if he will make a statement. [186827]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 February 2008]: We have not received any representations about the European Parliament’s written declaration on hepatitis C.

HIV Infection

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were diagnosed as HIV positive in (a) England, (b) the north east, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency in each of the last 10 years in each age group; and if he will make a statement. [185511]

Dawn Primarolo: The information available is shown in the table.


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19 Feb 2008 : Column 678W
Area of first United Kingdom HIV diagnosis Year of first UK HIV diagnosis
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

England

0-14

82

101

74

101

101

124

143

141

111

95

15-24

254

244

289

366

499

634

755

792

822

702

25-34

1,158

1,201

1,272

1,631

2,194

2,569

3,028

2,928

2,855

2,649

35-44

695

757

911

1,038

1,414

1,868

2,156

2,207

2,213

2,126

45-54

244

237

255

358

445

540

590

723

795

729

55+

108

119

139

167

184

203

244

250

319

294

England sub total

2,541

2,659

2,940

3,661

4,837

5,938

6,916

7,041

7,115

6,595

North east region

0-14

0

0

0

<5

<5

<5

5

6

<5

<5

15-24

<5

<5

5

8

9

13

25

18

25

19

25-34

15

11

11

13

21

36

59

55

47

40

35-44

6

7

8

11

18

31

39

36

50

38

45-54

8

0

5

3

4

14

17

21

17

18

55+

5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

<5

14

7

North east sub total(1)

35-38

22

30-33

38

55

98

146-149

137-140

154-157

123-126

Tees health authority (including Tees Valley, Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland)

0-14

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

15-24

<5

0

0

<5

<5

<5

7

6

7

5

25-34

<5

<5

0

<5

6

10

12

9

8

8

35-44

0

0

<5

<5

<5

6

6

7

10

9

45-54

<5

0

<5

<5

<5

<5

5

<5

<5

<5

55+

0

0

0

<5

0

0

0

<5

6

<5

Tees sub total(1)

<5

<5

3

<10

14

22

30

25

32-35

27

(1) Ranges are provided where one or more cells have a count under five. This is done to remove the possibility of deductive disclosure of an individual's identity.
Notes:
1. Cumulative data are as reported by the end of June 2007. Numbers will rise as further reports are received (particularly for more recent years).
2. HPA has provided for its north east region, which is coterminous with the Government office for the north east.
3. Data has been provided for the former Tees district health authority, as HPA do not have data for Tees Valley, Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland.
4. HPA do not provide by data by age because of the risk of deductive exposure of an individual's identity. Data have been provided by age groups. Sub-totals show ranges where one or more cells have a count of under five in order to reduce the risk of deductive disclosure.
5. Data will include many individuals who have been infected with HIV outside the UK, but who have been subsequently diagnosed in the UK.
Source:
Health Protection Agency (HPA).

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