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Tobacco Promotion

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): Smoking is the single most important cause of preventable illness and premature death in the United Kingdom. The Government want to reduce the exposure of children and young people to tobacco advertising. That is why we gave a manifesto commitment to ban tobacco advertising as part of a fully-developed tobacco control strategy.

The Government strongly disapprove of the tobacco regime which exists as part of the Common Agriculture Policy. We believe that the Community should progressively disengage from support for tobacco productions on grounds of health and cost. We will continue to press for further progress in this area following the reform of the regime agreed in June last year.

In 1998, the European Union spent 870 million ecu (£584 million*) on subsidies under the EU tobacco regime. Member states contribute to the EU budget as a whole and not to any particular part. Our contribution is about 17 per cent. before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account.


Contaminated Foodstuffs: Risk Assessment

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in assessing the relevance and potential risks of microbiological contamination in any foodstuff with a view to determining unfitness, enforcement officers should have regard to the nature of the contamination and the treatment to which the food will be exposed prior to consumption; and whether a structured risk assessment should be carried out before any action is taken.[HL3105]

Baroness Hayman: Decisions on enforcement action on contaminated foodstuffs lie with individual food authorities. A thorough assessment of the risk would normally be undertaken as part of the decision making process. This would take into account the nature of the contamination, the process to be applied to the foodstuff before consumption, and other factors relevant to whether the foodstuff was likely to cause human illness.

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Food Poisoning and Slaughterhouse Processes

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many times in the last 10 years the cause of a food poisoning outbreak has been attributed to the failure of a slaughterman to wash his hands prior to handling raw meat; and[HL3022]

    How many times in the last 10 years the cause of a food poisoning outbreak has been attributed to the failure of a slaughterman to sterilise a knife; and[HL3023]

    How many times in the last 10 years the cause of a food poisoning outbreak has been attributed to the use by a slaughterman of a wooden chopping board; and[HL3024]

    How many times in the last 10 years the cause of a food poisoning outbreak has been attributed to the use of galvanised meat hooks in a slaughterhouse.[HL3025]

Baroness Hayman: This information is not available. The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) collects data on the number of food poisoning outbreaks, and if known, the vehicle of transmission. Data are collected on faults such as food handlers, inadequate heat treatment, inadequate storage and cross contamination which are reported as contributing factors to outbreaks. However, PHLS does not have access to data on processes within slaughterhouses which may be linked to outbreaks of food poisoning.

Submerged Islands and Territorial Waters

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether international law deals with the possibility of islands disappearing below the surface of the sea in the context of the extent of territorial waters and/or exclusive economic zones and, if so, how.[HL3073]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): International law would govern this matter, but such cases are rare, and its effect would depend on the particular circumstances.

Mr. Akin Birdal

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will discuss with the Government of Turkey the case of Mr. Akin Birdal (President of the Human Rights Association of Turkey) with a view to his receiving necessary medical treatment to preserve the use of his right arm (whether in prison or elsewhere), following the attempt on his life in May 1998.[HL2943]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British Embassy in Ankara discussed the issue of Akin Birdal's access to medical treatment with the Turkish authorities

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prior to his imprisonment on 3 June, and my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Joyce Quin, raised it with Mr. Lagoglu, a senior official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who visited London on 7 June. The embassy is in direct contact with the Human Rights Association on this issue. According to the Human Rights Association, Mr. Birdal is content with the frequency and quality of medical treatment that he has received since his imprisonment.

Iraq: Enforcement of UN Sanctions

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 12 May (WA 151), on what dates over the last six months approaches have been made to the Governments of Syria, Jordan and Turkey about alleged breaches of the United Nations

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    sanctions regime on Iraq; and what responses were received in each case.[HL2911]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have made a number of formal and informal approaches with a range of contacts in Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last six months. It would be disproportionately costly to research the dates and exact substance of these contacts. But invariably the governments concerned have affirmed their respect for the UN sanctions regime and their commitment to their obligation, as member states, to enforce it. We have also included further provisions in the draft UK/Netherlands Security Council resolution on this issue: it provides for the illegal oil trade with Turkey to be brought within the UN "oil for food" arrangements, thereby ensuring that money earned by Iraq from this trade will be spent on humanitarian goods; and it also suggests consideration that other additional oil export outlets be authorised so that all Iraqi oil exports can be brought within "oil for food".

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