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Lord Bach: There is no standing European Rapid Reaction Force nor any EU agreement to create one. National or multinational forces are declared under the Helsinki Headline Goal, and made available to the EU on a voluntary, case-by-case basis when required for crisis management operations. In NATO, UN and ESDP operations, United Kingdom troops regularly wear insignia which identify them as members of a multinational force. To date, EU insignia have not included a map of Northern Ireland or of any other part of the EU.
Lord Bach: We have no means of ascertaining the numbers of civilian lives lost or injured during decisive military operations in Iraq, and have therefore made no such estimate, although we did make every effort to minimise civilian casualties.
Lord Bach: In 1998 we instituted a series of recruitment goals to ensure that appropriate levels of recruitment from Britain's ethnic minority communities took place. Running for four years, the goals aimed at increasing the recruitment of ethnic minority young people incrementally by 1 per cent each year until the forces reached 5 per cent. In the event the outcome for 200102 was a very creditable 4.4 per cent, although this figure contains a large number of Commonwealth nationals recruited in this country. Given the nearness to publication of the national census, and therefore access to new and up-to-date research data, an interim goal of a further 1 per cent from the previous year's outcome was agreed.
We have found that quite significant numbers of young people travel to the United Kingdom and join the Armed Forces, particularly the Army, which has the greatest number of trades open requiring relatively low security clearances. An internal provisional estimate of the recruiting outcome for 200203 makes this clear:
The numbers of Commonwealth nationals of all ethnic backgrounds seeking to join the Armed Forces is a clear indication of the success of our race equality policies in recent years. Although we welcome the resulting increase in the diversity of the forces, we should not forget that the original intention of the recruitment goals was to increase the proportion of UK ethnic minority recruits; this remains the objective today. Accordingly, the aim for the next three years is for each service to increase incrementally each year the proportion of UK ethnic minority recruits by at least 0.5 per cent with the tri-service aim of reaching 5 per cent as soon as possible. We will in addition seek to report the numbers joining from the Commonwealth in order to maintain the transparency of the recruiting process.
Lord Bach: The House will be aware of the desire to issue a campaign medal to service personnel and entitled civilians engaged on operations in Iraq and supporting areas, collectively known as Operation TELIC.
We are pleased to confirm that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the award of a specific campaign medal to mark this operation. The detailed eligibility criteria for this award are being determined and will be published in due course.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The United Kingdom is obliged to implement the provisions of Directive 2002/46/EC into national legislation. The conclusions of the regulatory impact assessment undertaken in relation to the Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 were that making the regulations was the best option available. Doing so allowed the UK to fulfil its Community obligation to implement the provisions of the directive, maintain the widest possible consumer choice of safe and properly labelled food supplements consistent with the directive, and impose the minimum burden on industry.
The lists of permitted vitamins/minerals and vitamin/mineral sources in the Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 can be extended if additions are made to the permitted lists in the annexes to the Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC on which the regulations are based. These annexes remain open pending safety assessment of additional vitamins and minerals and their sources. Industry is currently working to compile safety dossiers for some of the vitamins and minerals and vitamin/mineral sources currently omitted from the annexes.
The Food Standards Agency, in recognition of the difficulties associated with dossier production and the timescale for dossier submission, is pressing the European Food Safety Authority for an urgent, substantive meeting with relevant parties to discuss dossier requirements.
Lord Warner: The list of permitted nutrients in Schedule 1 to the Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 is drawn directly from the list of permitted vitamins and minerals in Annex I to the Food Supplements Directive. This list was drawn directly from established lists in existing Community food legislation.
The list of permitted vitamins/minerals and vitamin/mineral sources in Annexes I and II to the Food Supplements Directive remain open pending safety assessment of additional vitamins and minerals and their sources. Industry is currently working to compile safety dossiers for some of the vitamins and minerals and vitamin/mineral sources currently
Lord Warner: The Government's Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation have considered the relative efficacy and risks of the different types of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) available.
Occasionally, FFP causes a rare condition called transfusion-related lung injury. This can happen if the donor plasma contains antibodies that can react with the patient's white blood cell. Donors generally produce these antibodies after pregnancy or transfusion. The National Blood Service (NBS) is considering plans to produce FFP from male donors.
There are two types of FFP available to the National Health Service. Clinicians have a choice of which products to use. United Kingdom sourced single unit FFP available from the NBS is more commonly used by the NHS. Each unit of FFP available from the NBS is made from plasma from single donations from donors who have been previously tested for viruses to minimise the risk of infection.
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