HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc717-8W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress in bringing the Over Thirty Month Scheme to an end. [164071]

Alun Michael

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) review of the Over Thirty Month rule was completed in July 2003 and recommended that it would be acceptable on public health grounds to replace the Over Thirty Month rule with BSE testing of cattle in two stages. Cattle born after August 1996 could be allowed into the food chain, after being tested for BSE, with the possibility of complete replacemen of the rule from July 2005. Health Ministers are still considering the FSA advice, but it has already been decided that, for practical reasons, cattle born before August 1996 will be permanently excluded from the food chain. We are now other services placed with the accountancy firms (i) Deloitte & Touche, (ii) Ernst & Young, (iii) KPMG and (iv) PricewaterhouseCoopers since 2000–01 by the Department. [166085]

Alun Michael

The information on the nature of all contracts, consultancies or other services placed with the accountancy firms Deloitte and Touche; Ernst and Young (now part of Cap Gemini Ernst and Young); KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers cannot be provided as it is not held centrally.

The Department is in the process of compiling a central list for the future but this would take some time to complete. The expenditure for core Defra excluding its agencies and NDPBs with each of the firms since 2000–01 is as follows:

unlikely to see any changes to the OTMS before January 2005, due to the legislative process that must take place once a decision has been reached by Ministers.

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