|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The next statutory report on consumer safety will cover the period from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2003 and will be published as soon as practicable after the end of that period. The department only collates statistics on safety enforcement at the end of each five-year period, so cannot provide the estimates requested.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The farm scale evaluations are primarily assessing the impact on farmland wildlife of the management of four genetically modified crops (winter and spring oil seed rape, fodder maize and sugar beet) relative to the equivalent conventional (non-GM) crops.
The farms selected for the evaluations include a wide range of conventional agricultural practices, from intensive to extensive. The research programme should therefore also reveal the impact of conventional practices on biodiversity and contribute to our understanding of the relationships between farming practice and wildlife abundance generally.
Lord Whitty: The separation distances are set to limit the interaction between genetically modified (GM) crop plants and other plants. The distances set for any particular trial take full account of the potential effects on private gardens and allotments.
The GM crops being grown in the farm scale evaluations, oil and seed rape, fodder beet, sugar beet and forage maize, are not grown in gardens and allotments. The forage maize could potentially cross pollinate with sweetcorn varieties of maize, so a separation distance of 200 metres has been specified between GM maize and sweetcorn. The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment has advised that at this distance the incidence of cross-pollination should be less than 0·5 per cent.
Lord Whitty: Cattle are allowed to move to and from agricultural shows under the interim movements arrangements and we expect cattle will be shown. Subject to veterinary advice, we hope it will be possible to allow sheep and goats to go to shows from around the end of May. Huw
Lord Whitty: All consignments of products of animal origin currently imported from third countries into the UK are subjected to a documentary check of the veterinary certification and an identity check to match the goods to the certification. A percentage of consignments are also subjected to a physical check, which may include organoleptic checks, temperature
Defra's plant health and seeds inspectors aim to inspect all commercial imports of plants from non-EU countries and a proportion, according to risk, of imported consignments of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers, including "organic" produce. These inspections take place at ports of entry and at suitable sites inland. Plants and plant produce of EU origin, including "organic" produce, are inspected at distribution points and nurseries. Appropriate action is taken when pests and diseases are found which pose a risk to plant health, regardless of whether the produce is "organic". Measures may include destruction, re-export or treatment. Interceptions are notified to the exporting country. Further information is available on the plant health pages of the department's website (http://defraweb/planth/ph.htm).
Lord Whitty: The Government are gauging the significance of these findings in consultation with their independent expert advisory committees, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the Veterinary Products Committee.
Lord Whitty: Crufomate was used as an active ingredient in veterinary medicinal products for the treatment of warble fly from the 1950s onwards. This predates the introduction of the current controls under the Medicines Act 1968 and so our information on such products is very limited. With the entry into force of the Medicines Act in 1970 these products would have been issued with licences of right that permitted their continued marketing pending a formal review of their safety, quality and efficacy.
Evidence from the marketing authorisation holders indicates that these products were removed from the market prior to 1978. They would not therefore have been included within the formal review of all pharmaceutical products that began in the mid-1980s.
Consequently no data on possible mutagenic, teratogenic or neurological effects of the use of crufomate on cattle were collected as part of their authorisation for marketing as veterinary medicinal products.
What are the figures for the total tonnage of imported meat (a) before the foot and mouth disease epidemic and (b) as at 15 March; and for each category what percentage of meat depended or depends on vaccination for its good health.[HL3370]
Lord Whitty: The attached table shows the monthly volume of UK trade in meat and meat preparations between January 2000 and December 2001. The monthly data for February cannot be split before and after the FMD outbreak. Monthly data are provided so that normal seasonal patterns of trade can be taken into account and to show the effects of the gradual lifting of the export ban.
The importation of meat is permitted from a limited number of third countries where foot and mouth disease is present and where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specified regions. European Community rules permit imports from certain regions of those countries that are not considered to pose a risk to human or animal health. Fully matured boneless beef, which does not post a FMD risk, may in some cases be imported from other regions subject to veterinary certification. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. All meat imported from third countries is subject to veterinary checks at border inspection posts to ensure that import requirements are met.
The importation into the EU of meat from vaccinated animals is not permitted from African countries. Imports of meat from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay may be from vaccinated animals, but the meat must be deboned and matured so as to remove any risk of live FMD virus being present. No record is kept on whether the meat imported from these countries is derived from vaccinated or unvaccinated animals.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|