§ Mr. Coombs
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what date and for what reason members of the COMA and of its sub-committees, were asked to sign the Official Secrets Act.
§ Mr. John Patten
Members of the Chief Medical Officer's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy have been asked to sign the Official Secrets Act since the inception of the committee in 1957. When a panel or sub-committee is formed its members are also asked to do so. Members of COMA and its panels and subcommittees are required to provide disinterested scientific advice to the Government on issues, some connected with commercial matters, on which it may be appropriate to preserve confidentiality.