HC Deb 01 April 1953 vol 513 cc1207-8
43. Viscount Hinchingbrooke

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of fresh evidence that consumption of wheat-flour treated with nitrogen trichloride (agene), or chlorine dioxide produces eczema and mental disturbance in aller-gically responsive persons; and what steps he is taking to make chemically untreated flour or bread available to such persons and to those who prefer it.

Major Lloyd George

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to a recently published article in a medical journal reporting a single case of allergic response to flour treated with agene or chlorine dioxide. I am assured that flour which has not been treated with either of these improvers, and bread made from such flour, will, as hitherto, be available on special request.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Will the Minister not agree that bread made from wholemeal flour is much higher in nutritional value than bread made from white flour? If so, will he be good enough to inform the public widely of the beneficial effects of such flour?

Major Lloyd George

I think the public have a very good idea. The public also have a very keen desire to have white bread.

Dr. Stross

Although the Minister has been informed that up to now there has been one single case of allergy to nitrogen trichloride, has he also noted that it is expected that further cases will be found showing similar reactions? Does he not think that as we have been campaigning since 1926 to get rid of nitrogen trichloride as an improver, we might have something better at long last?

Major Lloyd George

As the hon. Member knows, this matter has been subject to careful examination for a considerable time. I am very much alive to it. I hope we may have an alternative which is neither of the present substances.

Mr. Stokes

Is not a return to white flour much more the desire of the millers than of the general public? Why does the Minister's Department consider that it is better for people to get the right vitamins through the digestive organs of animals than from whole-wheat meal?

Major Lloyd George

I should not like to go into all that. I am not sure that I altogether accept the remark of the right hon. Member about the miller, because, after all, it is in the long run the consumer who decides what he or she should eat.