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Gm/Organic Produce

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many letters on the Government's policy on genetically modified food from (a) hon. Members, (b) private individuals and (c) organisations are waiting to be answered by the Department; how many have been waiting for more than 28 days; and if she will make a statement. [109540]

The Food Standards Agency is responsible for policy on genetically modified food. However, on GM issues for which this Department is responsible, the information is set out in the table as at 2 July 2003:

Total awaiting replyNumber awaiting reply for more than 28 days
Private individuals and organisations1454
A large number of letters from organisations and private individuals have been inspired by the recent announcement of the GM Public Debate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department has spent in each year since 1995 on the promotion of (a) genetically-modified and (b) organic produce. [121654]

[holding answer 25 June 2003]: No money has been spent by my Department on the promotion of genetically modified produce or on the promotion of organic produce. However, aid has been made available to farmers converting to organic farming (and from 5 June 2003 aid has been made available to existing organic farmers also). The Department also funds a programme of R&D on organic production. And advice for farmers considering organic farming is provided by the Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS) which is funded by Defra. Spending on these since financial year 1994–95 is detailed in the following table but data for spending on OCIS before financial year 1999–2000 are not readily available.

Financial yearAid to organic farmers (£) R&D (£)OCIS (£)
1 Not readily available