§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if avoparcin was licensed as a feed additive in the rations of non-lactating cows prior to the introduction of the Beef (Emergency) Control Order 1996; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mrs. Browning
I can confirm that avoparcin was authorised as a feed additive for non-lactating cows prior to the introduction of the Beef (Emergency) Control Order 1996.
§ Mr. Jones
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action his Department took to revoke the licence for the use of avoparcin as an in-feed antibiotic in dairy cows after the Council of Ministers declined to add it to annexe 1 of directive 70/524/EEC and on what dates; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mrs. Browning
As a result of concerns expressed by Denmark and Germany, in July 1995, the Council of Ministers decided not to support the entry of avoparcin into annexe 1 of directive 70/524/EEC for use in feed for dairy cows and member states were requested to withdraw project licences. We did not do so as the independent scientific Veterinary Products Committee—VPC—which advises the Government, had been satisfied that the criteria of safety, quality and efficacy had been met for avoparcin, and because the Scientific Committee on Animal Nutrition—SCAN—was examining evidence submitted by the Danes and the Germans in support of their bans on avoparcin as a feed additive for all species. SCAN concluded that, on the basis of science, the evidence presented did not establish a risk to human health, animal health or the environment. The VPC welcomed the SCAN report and its conclusions but expressed some concern about the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics as additives in animal feed and over the misuse of antibiotics. However, at the December 1996 Standing Committee on Animal Nutrition, the Commission proposal banning the use of avoparcin as an additive to animal feed was agreed. We will therefore be implementing the ban and revoking existing product licences by the 1 April 1997 deadline.