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Lord Donoughue: On 1 July 1999 the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) published its report on the effects of exposure to organophosphorus sheep dips. The report identifies handling of OP sheep dip concentrates as the main source of potential exposure. It suggests that the identified exposure to concentrates was associated with an increased likelihood of ill-health in the groups studied. The report is being submitted immediately for consideration by the OP Working Group of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) which is reviewing the evidence on the possible ill-health effects of OPs. We expect to receive advice from COT, and from the other independent expert advisory committees on the implications of the COT advice, by the end of the year. In addition, we have asked the Veterinary Products Committee and the Advisory Committee on Pesticides to consider urgently, in advance of the COT advice, whether the report has any immediate implications for approvals of OPs or whether further measures are necessary.
On 1 July my honourable friend the Minister of State also wrote to representatives of manufacturers seeking an early meeting to discuss what action they will be proposing in response to the report. We have placed copies of the report in the Library of the House.
Lord Donoughue: MAFF Ministers and/or officials have had more than 360 meetings with the consumer/environmental/pressure groups listed below since June 1998. Genetically Modified Organisms/biotechnology were discussed during approximately 40 of these meetings.
Lord Donoughue: The Cattle Tracing System (CTS) was launched by the Government in September 1998. The system is run by a new organisation, the British Cattle Movement Service, (BCMS). The new system enables a full record to be kept of cattle and where they have been throughout their lives, helping the livestock industry to provide assurance to its customers.
Since its launch and until 5 July 1999, 2,330,113 passports for cattle have been issued by BCMS, at an average rate of 11,650 per day. It is expected that between 2½ and 3 million cattle passports will be issued annually. At the current time, 90 per cent. of passports are issued within three working days of an application
The Government announced in February 1998 that they would pay for setting up the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) and for running it during its first full year of operation. This represented a benefit of some £36 million to the livestock industry. The Government believe that as the main beneficiaries, the livestock industry should now take over the costs of running the CTS from 27 September 1999. In a consultation document, issued on 8 July 1999, interested organisations are being consulted on the level of charges, what they cover and the methods of payment. We propose that the fee should be £7 per cattle passport. This is in the lower half of the £5 to £10 range indicated in November 1997. This proposed fee does not include the cost of time spent checking the eartags and passports of animals handled by the Meat Hygiene Service, (MHS). Instead it is proposed that the MHS should recover these costs directly from abattoirs. The cost to the abattoir sector is likely to be around £2 million per annum.
The Government propose not to charge for temporary passports, known also as calf passports. Calves are less valuable than older animals. The passport fee will be payable, however, if a temporary passport is submitted for conversion to a full cattle passport.
A copy of the consultation package, including a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, has been placed in the Library of the House. Comments are sought by 9 August. There will be separate consultations by the administrations in Scotland and Wales, but it is expected that the fee will be at the same rate in all three countries of Great Britain.
Lord Donoughue: On 8 July we published two leaflets on this issue. The first, Farm Biosecurity: Protecting Herd Health, covers general disease prevention and the second TB in Cattle: Reducing the Risk is aimed more specifically at reducing the threat of tuberculosis.
The leaflets will be given to cattle farmers by State Veterinary Service staff and local veterinary inspectors during farm visits and are being made widely available through markets, the farmers' unions and local Agricultural Department offices. We have placed copies of both leaflets in the Library of the House.
|Country Visited||Date/Duration||Employee Grade||Approximate Total Cost (Excluding Salary)||Purpose of Visit|
|Australia||February 98 13 days||Veterinary Advisor (7)||£4,500||Attend Codex Committee on Food Import and Export inspection and Certification Systems.|
|USA||February 98 23 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||£5,900||Attend USDA Foreign Inspector Training Course (to facilitate exports to USA)|
|Hungary||March 98 6 days||Veterinary Advisor (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Czech Republic||March 98 9 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Estonia/ Latvia/ Lithuania||June 98 9 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Latvia||November 98 5 days||Veterinary Advisor (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Kenya/ Uganda/ Mozambique||November/ December 98 23 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Iceland||October 98 6 days||Veterinary Advisor (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|USA||January 99 21 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||£7,200||Attend USDA Foreign Inspector Training Course (to facilitate exports to USA)|
|Thailand||February 99 12 days||Veterinary Head (SCS) and Veterinary Advisor (7)||£8,000||Imported Food Regulations inspection of poultry meat plants approved to export to EU|
|Australia||February/ March 99 18 days||Deputy Veterinary Head (6)||£6,000||Attend Codex Committee on Food Import and Export inspection and Certification Systems. Attend World Conference on Meat and Poultry Inspection|
|Poland||March 99 1 day||Assistant Chief Veterinary Officer||£800||Present paper to food safety and hygiene seminar|
|China||May/June 99 20 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||Paid by EC||Member State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country|
|Hungary||June 99 6 days||Veterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)||Paid by CCFIDI Hungary||Advice on EC requirements|
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