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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by the NHS on food in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; how much food was wasted in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. [129364]

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on food by his Department and by each agency for which it is responsible in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; what proportion of that food by value was produced in the United Kingdom; what guidance he has issued to encourage the procurement of home-grown food; and if he will make a statement. [129377]

Expenditure on food relates to hospitality, working lunches and refreshments supplied at meetings. Available information from the Department of Health and its Agencies is shown in the table.

2001–02 align="right"2002–03
Department of Health348,000173,000
The Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (total expenditure in the formerly separate Medicines Control Agency and Medical Devices Agency)264,819185,683
NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency8,1489,714
NHS Pensions Agency63,89281,726
NHS Estates132,79866,569
Estimated number of deaths due to indigenous foodborne infection in England and Wales 1997 to 2000
Bacterial pathogen1997Percentage1998Percentage1999Percentage2000Percentage
Non typhoidal Salmonellas30434.520830.214628.011924.8
Clostridium perfringens26029.518927.58917.08918.5
Campylobacter spp.799.08812.88416.18617.9
Listeria monocytogenes879.97611.07614.66814.2
Escherichia coli 0157273.1223.2275.2224.6
Other E.coli60.760.961.161.3
Verocytotoxigenic E.coli (Non 0157)30.320.330.620.4
Vibrio spp.20.220.320.420.4
Yersinia spp.50.630.420.410.2
Parasites & Viruses1212.3192.8203.8204.2
Unknown Agents28810.07310.66712.86513.5
Total deaths3882100688100522100480100

1 Information on parasites and viruses is provided for comparison.

2 Unknown agents may include some bacterial infections.

3 Figures shown are for all agents.

Source (raw data):

Gastrointestinal Diseases Division, Health Protection Agency

Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre. 23/7/03

Catering services are contracted out and no detailed information is available on the proportion of food that is produced in the United Kingdom.

The main Department of Health contractor has a policy to purchase food products sourced in the UK wherever it is available and commercially viable to do so. 92 per cent. of purchases are products produced within the UK.

The Department's procurement policy requires prospective catering suppliers to demonstrate within their tenders their approach to purchasing local products and those produced within the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government has to introduce central enforcement of breaches of food legislation. [130121]

Local and central Government are responsible for different aspects of food law enforcement. However, most enforcement work is undertaken by local authority environmental health and trading standards departments. I am advised by the Food Standards Agency that there are no plans to change these arrangements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the bacterial infections which caused death from food poisoning in each year since 1997, indicating the (a) number and (b) percentage in each category. [127344]

The Public Health Laboratory Service, now the Health Protection Agency, carried out a detailed study of all statistics on foodborne disease in order to calculate reliable estimates of the true burden of indigenously acquired foodborne disease and deaths. These estimates exclude foodborne infections acquired abroad and infections acquired by other routes such as person to person. Annual data for 1997 to 2000 are shown in the table. Data for 2001 onwards are not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of the target to reduce foodborne disease is made up of food poisoning caused by (a) salmonella, (b) campylobacter, (c) clostridium perfringens, (d) E.coli 0157 and (e) listeria; [130069](2) how many deaths were caused by

(a) salmonella, (b) campylobacter and (c) clostridium perfringens food poisoning in each year since 1997–98; [130070]

(3) how many cases of campylobacter food poisoning there were in each year since 1997–98; and what steps the Government is taking to reduce the cases of campylobacter food poisoning; [130081]

(4) what progress his Department is making towards the target to reduce foodborne disease by 20 per cent. by 2006; and by what percentage foodborne disease was reduced in 2001–02. [130176]

In the baseline year, 2000, the percentage of the target accounted for by each organism was:

Clostridium perfringens0.3
E.coli 01572
Listeria monocytogenes0.2
A study of foodborne disease statistics carried out by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) was used to provide the following estimated number of deaths due to indigenous foodborne infection in England and Wales between 1997–2000:

Number of deaths per year
Bacterial Pathogen1997199819992000
Salmonellas (non typhoidal)304208146119
Clostridium perfringens2601898989
Campylobacter spp.79888486


(Raw data): Gastrointestinal Diseases Division, Health Protection Agency, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre. 23/07/03.

Routine data on causes of death, collected by the Office of National Statistics, do not provide a breakdown for individual organisms. The most recent HPA data currently available are for the year 2000.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of Campylobacter spp. in the United Kingdom in each year since 1997–98 is shown in the table. Not all of these infections will have been transmitted by food. Note that due to under-reporting the actual numbers of cases will be higher. On the basis of a large study of intestinal infectious disease in England, funded by the Department, the true number is estimated to be eight to ten times greater.

England and Wales

Northern Ireland


UK total


England and Wales

Northern Ireland


UK total


1 based on provisional data sets.


HPA (PHLS) laboratory reports to the CDSC, CDSC (NI) and laboratory reports to the SCEIH

Measures to reduce cases of Campylobacter are set out in paragraphs 55–60 of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) strategy for reducing cases of foodborne illness by 20 per cent, by April 2006. This is available on the FSA's website at

A detailed strategy, which aims to reduce the presence of Campylobacter in United Kingdom-produced chicken on retail sale significantly, was published for consultation in June 2003. This can be found on the FSA's website at consultationscompleteduk/campylobacterstrategycons

As part of a nation-wide food hygiene campaign, the FSA is currently developing material to promote awareness of Campylobacter among poultry farmers. Earlier phases of this campaign have been targeted largely at raising awareness and promoting good hygiene practice in the catering industry. Messages about thorough cooking and the avoidance of cross-contamination are particularly relevant to prevention of Campylobacter infection. Further high-profile activity to increase awareness of cross-contamination in the kitchen is planned for early 2004.

Good progress is being made towards reducing foodborne disease by 20 per cent. Provisional data for 2002 suggest there has been just over a 13 per cent. reduction in the number of cases of foodborne illness due to the target organisms, compared with the baseline figure for 2000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions his Department has had with other countries (a) in the EU and (b) outside the EU on food safety. [130071]

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety issues. It frequently discusses many aspects of food safety, on the basis of European Commission proposals and in scientific exchanges, with all other European Union member states. In addition, FSA officials have met counterparts from the 10 countries which are preparing to join the EU on 1 May next year as well as from many other countries. The discussions, at various levels, have ranged over many items of mutual interest, including: development of food safety and consumer-related policies; risk management and current legislative programmes; communication of risk; building relationships between food authorities; methods of scientific analysis; research and development; and inspection and food law enforcement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government is taking to ensure that salmonella in eggs is strictly controlled. [130074]

The key intervention is the statutory on-farm control programme for breeding flocks. All layer breeding flocks must be monitored at regular intervals for the presence of Salmonella. Any flock infected with Salmonella Enteriditis or Salmonella Typhimurium is compulsorily slaughtered. Ministers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are responsible for these controls. The Government will also be supporting new European Union proposals aimed at controlling salmonella pathogens of public health significance in poultry and other farm animals, including egg layer flocks.Statutory measures are complemented by voluntary codes of practice published by DEFRA, which industry has incorporated into their own salmonella controls.The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued advice to caterers and consumers on the safe handling, storage and consumption of eggs. This advice is published on the FSA's website at

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what systems are required to be in place to ensure that the risk of contamination from food-borne microorganisms is minimised during slaughter. [130075]

Current European Union meat hygiene rules contain detailed requirements for the structure and operation of slaughterhouses and require all slaughterhouse operators to implement and maintain hazard analysis critical control point-based programmes to prevent, eliminate or reduce hazards to acceptable levels. Red meat slaughterhouse operators are required to carry out microbiological testing of carcasses to verify that their controls are working. The legislation is enforced in Great Britain by the Meat Hygiene Service, an executive agency of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and in Northern Ireland by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development veterinary service on behalf of the FSA.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that staff working with food are aware of the need to wash their hands after visiting the lavatory; and what further steps his Department is planning to take to ensure the highest levels of personal hygiene are maintained by staff working for organisations involved with the handling of food. [130076]

Staff working with food must, by law, maintain high standards of personal hygiene and be supervised to ensure that they work hygienically. These requirements are enforced by local food authorities.Effective hand washing is important in preventing contamination of food and the spread of food poisoning bacteria in catering premises and in the domestic setting. To help reinforce this message, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has run a high profile nationwide campaign targeting the catering industry with material stressing the importance of staff working with food washing their hands after visiting the lavatory. Further advice on how to clean and dry hands, is available on the FSA website at

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will set out the main criteria of the hazard analysis and critical control point system; [130072](2) when he expects the hazard analysis and critical control point system to be extended to all food businesses under EU legislation; and whether his Department has evaluated the effects of implementing the HACCP system to other food businesses not currently included. [130073]

Hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) is a risk-based system designed to control food safety hazards inherent in food production. The main criteria of the HACCP system are set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) which consider the effects of the proposed new legislation.The date of implementation of the consolidated European Union food hygiene legislation is not yet decided. Negotiations under the co-decision procedure are continuing, however, the Council has agreed a formula under which the new legislation would apply from 1 January 2006, or 18 months after coming into force, whichever is the later.The latest versions of these can be found on the Food Standards Agency website at:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to ensure that food manufacturers provide information that is not misleading. [130175]

It is an offence under current legislation for anyone to label food in a manner that could be misleading. In support of this legislation, the Food Standards Agency has produced guidance for manufacturers on a number of aspects of labelling, such as country of origin and the use of terms such as 'fresh', `pure' and 'natural'. In addition, proposed legislation on the use of nutrition and health claims on food labels is currently being discussed in Brussels.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many food samples were submitted for testing by local authorities in England in 1996. [130963]

A total of 175,096 food samples were taken for testing by local authorities in England in 1996.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the costs are for the testing of a food sample by (a) a local authority public analyst, (b) a private sector public analyst and (c) the Food Standards Agency's laboratory at York. [130965]

Costs for the analysis of food samples vary greatly depending on the food type and the analyses being carried out. As such, an average cost is not available.