|Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies
Mr. David Heath: The Minister is surely not suggesting that feeding fishmeal to mammals is a danger. The problem is cross-contamination. Whether or not the practice was common is irrelevant. The sole consideration is whether cross-contamination likely to occur.
Ms Quin: I accept the point about cross-contamination, but given that the practices that have existed, cross-contamination was more likely to occur. So the two are related. I feel strongly that we must re-evaluate our controls in the light of eventsand of scientific findings. That sometimes means that traditional practices must be reconsidered or even banned.
Sir Robert Smith: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that we should ban fishmeal.
Ms Quin: I accept that, but we could once have made a strong defence of animal feed including mammalian meat and bone meal, because no problems had yet been experienced.
The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine also talked about markets collapsing in other counties. It is true that the wider market has collapsed in Germany. As I said earlier, a great deal will depend on how effective the controls are in re-establishing consumer confidence. As well as discussing the matter with the European Council, we are engaged in bilateral discussions with our European partners, and sharing information about our controls. My right hon. Friend the Agriculture Minister has spoken to his German counterpart and I visited Germany three weeks ago, when those issues were very much to the fore. It is important, in trying to avert unjustified market collapses in Europe, that we engaged in bilateral collaboration as well as working through the European Commission and the European Council. I assure the Committee that we attach considerable importance to that.
I have deal with most of the points that have been raised. I shall check the record to see whether I need to respond in writing to other matters raised by members of the Committee. As the Committee is likely to be examining further aspects of this matter, I shall endeavour to ensure that I and the Ministry do whatever is needed to answer the Committee's many questions.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to One o'clock.
The following Members attended the Committee:
The following also attended, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119(5):
|©Parliamentary copyright 2001||Prepared 14 February 2001|