HC Deb 15 July 1998 vol 316 c206W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many women have been appointed from the Public Appointments List since 1 May 1997; how this compares with the number of appointments annually in the previous five years; and what is the annual percentage change in the number of appointments of women. [50152]

Dr. David Clark

Since 1 May 1997, the Public Appointments Unit has been notified of 39 appointments held by women nominated from the Central List. Comparative figures for appointments notified to the Unit in previous years are as follows:

Mr. Dennis Turner

The Refreshment Department is aware of the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, and contacted all its suppliers earlier this year to investigate the current situation surrounding this matter. The Department's suppliers have generally not been able to guarantee that all foods supplied to the House of Commons are free from genetically modified material. I am advised that the main cause of concern is the use of soya bean derivatives, which are used extensively throughout the food processing industry and in the production of animal feedstuffs. The uncertain response of the Department's food suppliers, which is being echoed throughout the food industry, is largely due to the fact that there is no segregation between genetically modified crops and non-genetically modified crops in the United States.

I would remind the hon. Member that all genetically modified materials currently used in the UK have been approved for use by the Government's own food safety experts. That notwithstanding, the Refreshment Department maintains a policy of not purchasing any food which is identified as containing genetically modified organisms, and will keep this issue under close review with their food suppliers.