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Pituitary glycoproteins

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: Under the Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 (as amended), the heads of sheep (including the pituitary) are designated as SRM. They must therefore be removed, stained and disposed of in accordance with the regulations.

We are not aware that pituitary glycoprotein is removed from the glands of slaughtered pigs in any licensed slaughterhouse in Great Britain.

Tissue Extracts from Slaughterhouses

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baronnes Hayman: The following controls apply:

Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (as amended): Nothing must be done which would risk contamination of fresh meat intended for human consumption (Schedule 7.1), but there is an exemption from the regulations for fresh meat intended for special studies or analysis (Regulation 3(1)(c)). In addition, the plant operator has a duty to take all practical steps to secure compliance with the provisions of the regulations by any person employed by him or invited on to the premises (Regulation 20(1)(b)).

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Animal By Products (Identification) Regulations 1995 (as amended): Animal by-products (as defined) must be immediately stained or sterilised, subject to a number of exemptions as set out in Regulation 5(2).

Animal By Products Order 1999: By-products must be disposed of by an approved route as set out in Regulation 5 of the order.

Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997 (as amended): All specified risk material must be stained blue immediately after removal from the carcass and sent to an approved premises for disposal in accordance with the regulations. Limited exemptions from the staining requirement, includng in veterinary or medical premises for instructional, diagnostic or research purposes, are set out in Regulation 5(3).

Farmers: Early Retirement Schemes

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consultations they have had with regard to early retirement schemes for farmers.[HL953]

Baroness Hayman: We sought views on the option within the Rural Development Regulation for an early retirement scheme for farmers as part of its consultations on a New Direction for Agriculture last year. These included inviting written responses to two consultation documents: Towards a New Direction for UK agriculture--Agenda 2000 CAP reform (January 1999) and A New Direction for Agriculture--a consultation document (August 1999), together with widespread regional consultation meetings.

Organophosphorus Compounds: Container Design

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the recommendations of the Veterinary Products Committee that manufacturers be approached with a view to improving the safety of the designs of containers for organophosphate sheep dips in 1994, in January 1995 and in July 1999 were acted upon; if so, what proposals for changes to container design were made following those approaches and with what results; and whether there have been any requests for the decision that all organophosphate sheep dip formulations be withdrawn, announced on 20 December 1999, to be rescinded.[HL969]

Baroness Hayman: The Health and Safety Executive holds discussions with the holders of sheep dip marketing authorisations about matters within the remit of the executive's responsibilities. This includes the use of organophosphorus (OP) compounds and the design of containers of concentrated dip. Changes in container design were made following the VPC's recommendations in 1994 and 1995. However, the report of the Institute of Occupational Medicine in July 1999 clearly highlighted inconsistencies in the

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wearing of protective clothing, recorded instances of careless handling and drew attention to difficulties faced by operators in opening and pouring concentrated dip. The Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) therefore advised Ministers that manufacturers should be required to bring forward proposals for improved container design which conforms to industry best practice. Plans were considered by the VPC in November 1999 and the decision that all OP sheep dips should be withdrawn until improved containers were available, which the Government announced on 20 December 1999, was made on the basis of the VPC's advice.

Marketing authorisation holders have co-operated with the withdrawal of products from the market. Representations have been made by farming interests and marketing authorisation holders drawing attention to potential sheep welfare problems that might arise due to the unavailability of OP dips and arguing that the current suspension of authorisations should be lifted for a period while work on improved container design is undertaken.


The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what date in 1993 Ciba Geigy withdrew epichlorohydrin from its formulations of Top Clip Gold Shield sheep dip; whether the Veterinary Products Committee was advised of this change to the formulation; and whether they were aware of the reasons for the withdrawal.[HL1086]

Baroness Hayman: The stabiliser, epichlorohydrin, was replaced in the production of diazinon, the active ingredient of Top Clip Gold Shield sheep dip, in 1981 when it was removed from the formulation by the manufacturers of the active ingredient due to its suspected carcinogenicity. There is no record that the change was reported to the Veterinary Products Committee.

Agriculture Development Scheme Awards

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hayman on 15 February (WA 145-48), on what grounds individual awards are considered commercially confidential.[HL1125]

Baroness Hayman: Publication of individual grant awards would reveal the investment made by beneficiaries, as match-funding is the norm under the Agriculture Development Scheme 1999. SMEs in particular are often concerned that knowledge of the level of their financial commitment would afford competitors an insight into the scale and potential

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impact of their project, even before it had started. We therefore respect the commercial sensitivity of the size of individual awards, not least to avoid creating a disincentive to apply for support. Beneficiaries are, however, free to publicise their awards if they so wish.

House of Lords Reform: Evidence to Royal Commission

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the written and oral evidence presented to the Royal Commission on Reform of the House

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    of Lords is to be published in written form; and, if not, whether this decision was taken by the Royal Commission itself with or without the Government's approval.[HL1074]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): All the decisions about the publication and presentation of the report of the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform were taken by the commission itself without reference to the Government. The written and oral evidence submitted to the Royal Commission has been published on CD-ROM, making it highly accessible at minimal cost. I understand that there are no plans to publish that evidence in written form.

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