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A European Commission-sponsored analysis of the economic, social and environmental impact of the policy options for the establishment of maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements was undertaken in summer 2008. Seven member states were used as case studies, including the United Kingdom. The UK food supplements industry, including organisations representing SMEs, engaged fully in this work and provided relevant data. The European Commission has indicated that this assessment will accompany its proposals on maximum levels when they are issued.

The timing for finalising the proposals on maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements is uncertain due to European Parliamentary elections during June and European Commission college changes in October. At the last working group meeting with all member states on 4 December 2008, the European Commission advised that draft proposals outlining maximum levels for vitamins and minerals would be discussed at the next full working group meeting, a date for which has not been set.

Regarding Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 on mutual recognition, decisions on whether products should be classified as herbal medicinal products, and on the authorisation of herbal medicinal products, are the

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subject of harmonisation measures at Community level and so are not subject to the requirements of Mutual Recognition Regulation (EC) No 764/2008. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency does not therefore expect the regulation to have a significant impact on the trade in herbal remedies.

The FSA has advised that measures taken by the authorities of member states pursuant to provisions of food law of general application are explicitly exempted from the requirements of the Mutual Recognition Regulation. These exemptions relate to measures taken under Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 (General Food Law) in relation to risks to health arising from food, and measures taken under Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 (official feed and food controls) in ensuring that food business operators remedy non-compliance with food law.

The European Commission is producing guidance on the application of the Mutual Recognition Regulation to different foodstuffs, including food supplements.



Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The information for the time period requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Health: Bisphenol Exposure


Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Food Standards Agency (FSA) works closely with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission to ensure the safety of food contact products containing bisphenol A (BPA), and to ensure it is kept under review.

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The health impact of BPA was assessed by EFSA in 2006 and after a comprehensive review of the scientific data, a tolerable daily intake of 0.05 milligrams per kilogram of body weight was established. This is the amount that can be eaten every day, over a whole lifetime, without causing appreciable harm.

In July and October 2008 EFSA confirmed that this evaluation would also apply to infants and pregnant women. Dietary exposures of age groups from three months to adults have been found to be less than 30 per cent of the tolerable daily intake.

The Government’s policy is to maintain the stricter level for BPA that currently applies in the law governing food contact materials, including baby feeding bottles, which is based on an earlier precautionary tolerable daily intake of 0.01 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. I am advised that the FSA sees no basis, on the evidence we have, to press for tighter controls on the use of BPA, or for a ban on its use. Limits in place throughout the European Union, which the FSA has played a full part in establishing and maintaining, provide a precautionary margin of safety beyond expert assessment of the scientific evidence.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products


Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government responded to the recommendations of Lord Archer’s report on 20 May 2009. We have committed to review the Skipton Fund, for those infected with hepatitis C, in 2014.

Payments to widows of those infected with HIV are made at the discretion of the trustees of the MacFarlane and Eileen Trusts.

Health: Haemophilia


Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD) incidents panel, at its meeting on 20 May 2009, reviewed all available information in relation to the postmortem finding of abnormal prion protein associated with variant CID (vCJD) in a sample from the spleen of a haemophiliac.

The panel concluded that there is no evidence to change the current advice to those patients who used United Kingdom sourced pooled plasma products between 1980 and 2001 already notified as being at risk of vCJD for public health purposes, or to notify any new groups of patients.

Letters confirming this conclusion will be sent to UK Haemophilia Centre Doctors with information to pass on to their patients.

The panel meeting was attended by:


Mr David Pryer

Lay Chairman

Deputy Chairman

Professor Don Jeffries



Dr Miles Allison


Dr Gerry Bryant

Public Health Medicine

Professor Geoff Craig

Dental Surgery

Dr Pat Hewitt

Blood Safety

Professor James Ironside

TSE Infectivity, Neuropathology

Mrs Diana Kloss


Professor John Lumley

General Surgery

Mrs Caroline Ness

Lay Member

Dr Derek Norfolk


Mr Ian Pearce


Dr Patrick Radford


Dr Geoff Ridgway


Professor John Saunders

Medical Ethics

Ms Gillian Turner

Patient Support

Dr Hester Ward


Professor Bob Will


Ms Kate Woodhead

Theatre Nursing

Dr Tim Wyatt



Dr Peter Bennett

HPIH&SD Analytical Team, Department of Health

Mr Stephen Dobra

HPIH&SD Analytical Team, Department of Health

Dr Sara Hayes (from fpm)

National Assembly of Wales

Miss Charlotte Mirrielees

Scientific Secretary, ACDP TSE Working Group

Mr Mark Noterman

Department of Health


Prof Frank Hill

UK Haemophilia Centre Doctors' Organisation

Dr Peter Rudge



Dr Nicky Connor

Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections

Ms Dominique Brookes

Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections

Ms Helen Janecek

Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections

Dr Elizabeth Rudd

Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections

Dr Akram Zaman

Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections

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The meeting was held after all the evidence in this case, including multiple sets of case notes, hospital records and records of blood product usage, had been collected and reviewed and a full risk assessment prepared. Papers about this case are being prepared for publication and the risk assessment will be published on the department's website at on 9 June 2009.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Darzi of Denham: There have been no clinical cases of vCJD amongst people with haemophilia who have been treated with United Kingdom-derived pooled plasma products or UK-derived coagulation factors. The view of the department, the chief medical officer and the Health Protection Agency remains that first set out in 2004, that patients who have been treated with UK-sourced pooled factor concentrates and antithrombin between 1980 and 2001 are at increased risk of vCJD for public health purposes.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Darzi of Denham: Crown immunity did not protect from civil suit, but only from prosecution under the Medicines Act. Some affected persons did bring an action in 1990, which was settled out of court. Affected persons did and do therefore have rights of redress in civil law.

Houses of Parliament: Demonstrations


Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The decision to charge individuals with public-order offences or any offences is an operational matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service who are responsible for investigating and prosecuting alleged criminal offences.

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Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord West of Spithead: It is a matter for the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to decide whether images of individuals taken at demonstrations in the force area are retained or deleted.

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