§ 43. Captain Duncan
asked the Minister of Food whether he will now implement the recent recommendations of the Food Standards Committee regarding the minimum fruit content of certain jams and marmalade.
My right hon. and gallant Friend has decided to make no change this year, but to review the whole matter before the next jam-making season.
§ Captain Duncan
Is my hon. Friend aware that that decision will be very disappointing to growers of soft fruit in this country this year, when they expect a bumper crop? Is he aware, for instance, that Hampshire strawberries are being sold at Covent Garden today at 1s. 6d. per lb., well below the cost of production, and that there are grave fears that growers of other kinds of soft fruit will be in serious financial difficulty?
My hon. and gallant Friend will realise that in their recommendations the Committee suggested the lowering of standards in some cases as well as the raising of standards in others, and no change, apart from rounding up, in the case of strawberries. My right hon. and gallant Friend was led to the decision not to accept the recommended standard in raspberries, for example, because it would have meant an increase in the price of jam of approximately 1½d. per lb. In the view of my right hon. and gallant Friend there is a danger that such a rise would result in a level of purchases so much reduced as to involve a lesser use of fruit than in former years.