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Lord Blyth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: Destruction of the carcass would not be required but it could not be sold for human consumption.

Lord Blyth asked Her Majesty's Government:

30 Jun 1999 : Column WA33

Lord Donoughue: No, he or she is not.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the implementation of the Hygiene Assessment System solely in the United Kingdom imposes additional burdens on the meat trade which are not borne by plants in other member states of the European Union; and, if so, whether this is compatible with the need to ensure a level playing field between comparable businesses.[HL3089]

Lord Donoughue: No.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made to the European Commission in respect of the recognition of meat inspectors and environmental health officers as official veterinarians.[HL3091]

Lord Donoughue: None. The qualifications of veterinarians are clearly laid down in Community legislation.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to seek renegotiation of EC Directive 91/497/EEC; and, if they intend to seek renegotiation, what the possible timescale might be.[HL3093]

Lord Donoughue: Discussions are about to open on revising and consolidating all EU food hygiene legislation. Her Majesty's Government is taking a prominent part in those discussions. It is not possible to give a time-scale at this stage.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, since it is 36 months since any spinal cord was found attached to a bovine carcass during an abattoir inspection, they intend to reduce the burden of inspection and hence its cost.[HL3056]

Lord Donoughue: The Government believe that the absence of any finding of spinal cord in a bovine carcase for 36 months is an excellent result. Its significance, in the Government's view, is that it provides a substantial assurance that supervision of the controls over specified risk material by the Meat Hygiene Service continues to be effective, with consequential benefits for public health. However, as the risk from such material remains, we do not believe it appropriate yet to consider any reduction in the level of that supervision, the costs of which for this financial year continue to be government-funded.

30 Jun 1999 : Column WA34

Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the £6 million of applications refused in 1998 for the Countryside Stewardship scheme were eligible and of high enough environmental value to approve.[HL3054]

Lord Donoughue: In the 1998-99 application year, 1,107 applications, out of a total of 2,460, were either rejected or withdrawn. Of the applications which did not receive agreements, 305 failed to meet the objectives of the scheme, 221 were either ineligible or withdrawn by the applicants at draft agreement stage and the remaining 581 were considered to be either low or medium priority in comparison with successful applications.

The total value of rejected or withdrawn applications under the Countryside Stewardship scheme is not available.

Tuberculosis in Dairy Cattle

Lord Blyth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the current trend of increased failures in tuberculosis testing of dairy herds is similar to that experienced during post mortem inspection of bovines in slaughterhouses.[HL3188]

Lord Donoughue: There has been an increase of around 60 per cent. in the number of cattle which reacted to the tuberculin test and were subsequently found to have TB in 1998 compared with 1997. The data do not distinguish between dairy and other cattle. The number of carcasses found to have TB following routine post mortem inspection in slaughterhouses by Meat Hygiene Inspectors increased by around 47 per cent.

Calves' Brains

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Lord Donoughue on 17 June (H.L. Deb., col. 411), whether restaurants may serve calves' brains.[HL3171]

Lord Donoughue: There is no prohibition on the sale for human consumption of calves' brains, provided they come from an animal aged under six months. No part of the head of a bovine animal under that age is classed as specified risk material.

Milk Marketing Board: Residual Funds

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much residual cash from the Milk Marketing Board is being retained; and when it will be distributed finally.[HL3155]

30 Jun 1999 : Column WA35

Lord Donoughue: The Residuary Milk Marketing Board is currently holding around £30 million against as yet unquantified liabilities. Any remaining surplus will be paid out to qualifying producers on the final liquidation of the board, which will take place in accordance with the Milk Marketing Board (Residuary Functions) Regulations 1994 as soon as the board has been able to discharge its responsibilities.

Over Thirty Months Scheme: Fraud

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of fraud relating to the Over Thirty Months Scheme have been investigated; how many prosecutions have been taken; and how many are pending.[HL3209]

Lord Donoughue: The total number of Over Thirty Months Slaughter Scheme (OTMS) investigation cases dealt with by the Intervention Board's Anti-Fraud personnel is 167. Of these, 123 cases are closed and 44 cases are still under investigation.

There have been four cases involving the OTMS that have resulted in prosecution. There are no prosecutions pending.

Fresh Meat Directive

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any representations by any other member states to the European Commission or Council of Ministers, as to the renegotiation of the Fresh Meat Directive 91/497/EEC; and whether they would be willing in principle to support any other member state in pursuit of that objective.[HL3233]

Lord Donoughue: Other member states have made representations to the Council of Ministers about the renegotiation of the Fresh Meat Directive. The UK Government has offered its support.

World Trade Organisation

Lord Stanley of Alderley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether improvements in the European Union meat inspection system will form part of the next round of talks in the World Trade Organisation; and what they expect the outcome might be.[HL3106]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): The agenda for the new round has not yet been decided. The Government would hope to see a comprehensive round launched at the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference in December and would not wish to see anything excluded at this stage. It is too soon to anticipate the detailed outcome of the next round.

30 Jun 1999 : Column WA36

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their intentions and those of the European Union for the World Trade Organisation's third Ministerial Meeting to be held in the United States later this year; and whether the need to co-ordinate the activities of the WTO with those of the International Labour Office and of the United Nations' environmental programme will be uppermost.[HL3163]

Lord Simon of Highbury: The Government, together with the other member states of the European Union, hope to see a comprehensive round of trade negotiations launched at the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference later this year. The agenda for the new round has not yet been decided. We are examining strengthening the links between the WTO and other international organisations, including the United Nations Environmental Programme and the International Labour Organisation.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which government departments are developing their and the European Union's policies for the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting to be held later this year; and whether the economic, social and environmental interests of developing countries will be uppermost in the formation of these policies.[HL3164]

Lord Simon of Highbury: The Government, together with the other member states of the European Union, wish to see a comprehensive round of trade negotiations launched at the Seattle WTO Ministerial later this year. The agenda for the new round has not yet been decided. The Department of Trade and Industry is co-ordinating the UK's preparation for the round, in close consultation with all other departments whose interests may be affected. In preparing our position, we will take full account of our sustainable development objectives and the needs of developing countries.


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