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The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Government's decision to restrict the level of Vitamin B6 in dietary supplements sold under food law was based in part on advice from the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Product and the Environment (COT). Members of the COT include internationally recognised experts in a range of disciplines, including nutrition.
We are not aware of any evidence to show that BSE may be transmitted by feeding mammalian blood products to animals of the same species. If the noble Lord maintains that evidence exists for such transmission, I would be grateful for further details.
Lord Donoughue: In November 1997 the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advised that fishing mortality for North Sea cod has declined from record levels over the past two years and, if the current level of fishing mortality is maintained, the spawning stock biomass is expected to increase to within safe biological limits. Because of a large year class joining the fishery, maintaining the current level of fishing mortality would have resulted in a total allowable catch (TAC) of 153,000 tonnes in 1998. However, in order to continue the rebuilding of the North Sea cod stock, the Government pressed for the TAC to be set at the lower level of 140,000 tonnes and this figure has since been agreed in the annual consultations between the Community and Norway over the management of this and other North Sea stocks.
The Government have also urged, and will continue to urge, the European Commission to bring forward proposals for the protection of exceptional concentrations of juvenile North Sea cod in fishing grounds. Such proposals could help to conserve the particularly large numbers of juvenile cod currently in the North Sea and ensure that greater numbers reach maturity.
Lord Donoughue: Yes. But their position on the Specified Risk Material legislation is based on the assumption that the United States can safely be regarded as a "BSE free" country. Their case for such treatment has not been accepted by the EU Commission's Scientific Veterinary Committee.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): As part of the comprehensive research strategy into the human health aspects of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies we have commissioned a retrospective analysis of previous deaths from dementia-like diseases and a systematic survey of all autopsies performed in the Oxford area over a three-year period beginning in July 1997. The aim of the survey is to validate the current
In the meantime the government-funded National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh will continue to investigate cases of suspected CJD. Since the unit was established in 1990 72 per cent. of all cases referred who subsequently died have been subjected to post-mortem examination. Eighty-two per cent. of new variant CJD (nvCJD) cases have been subjected to post-mortem examination.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Health Education Authority estimated that, in the United Kingdom in 1988, 110,000 people died as a result of their smoking--on average 300 people per day. These were estimates for the whole population, and were not broken down by age.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Ministry of Defence budget for 1997-1998 was reduced by £168 million as a result of the department overspending in the previous financial year. This overspend was largely a result of goods and services being delivered and paid for earlier than expected. The Department of Trade and Industry budget for this financial year was reduced by £102 million because the nuclear industry no longer requires the funds; it was not a fine for overspending.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Under the UK regulations which implement this directive (The Utilities Contracts Regulations 1996, SI 1996 No. 2911), it is for utility operators themselves to determine whether they must comply in respect of particular contracts. Having made enquiries of the power generating companies, I am advised that contracts for the movement of coal by rail are subject to these regulations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Twenty-one responses were received. A summary of the main points has been placed in the Library.
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