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Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much his Department spent on (a) polymerase chain reaction and (b) other DNA-identification tests in each of the last 10 years; [116853]

Completed in yearRange of foodstuffs includedNo. of projectsTotal cost (£s)
2000Food mixtures, meat.375,021
2001Meat, wine, seafood, fish, olive oil, chicken.6423,098
2002Potatoes, rice, meat, olive and hazelnut oil.5343,549
2003White fish, jams and yoghurts, vegetarian foods, meat, rice, potato, chicken breasts.10725,286 (estimated)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many food samples were subjected to polymerase chain reaction tests by the Food Standards Agency in each year since the Agency was established; and what proportion of those tests identified DNA from products other than the food sample tested, broken down by category. [116855]

Date/yearTitle/Purpose of study and foodstuff sampledNumber of samples collectedNumber of samples containing foreign DNAProportion of samples containing foreign DNA (%)
December 2001Survey of meat content, added water and hydrolysed protein in catering chicken breasts68(1 sample = 10kg. Carton)2 samples contained pork DNA.3
January 2002Pilot study: Analysis of GM soya content in retail baked goods (including bread, cakes, burns and rolls).20331 samples contained traces of GM soya, but only 3 of these contained more than 1% GM soya.15(of which only 1.5% above legal threshold limit).
March 2003Co-ordinated enforcement exercise on meat content, added water, and hydrolysed proteins in catering chicken breasts.2511 samples contained pork DNA. 1 sample contained pork & beef DNA.48