HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc399-400
23. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Food what investigations of a general nature he is undertaking into the use of chemicals and synthetic substitutes in the production of food; and when he will be in a position to publish the results.

Major Lloyd George

My Department does not itself undertake investigations of this nature. Its work in this field is carried out through continual consultation with the Health Departments and the Medical Research Council and by close co-operation with the industrial research associations and other technical bodies concerned.

Mr. Wade

Does the Minister agree that in recent years there has been an alarming increase in the use of chemicals in the production and processing of food? Does he agree that there has been no adequate inquiry into either the short-term or the long-term effect on the health of the nation?

Major Lloyd George

I do not think I can accept the hon. Gentleman's description of "an alarming increase." Chemicals need not necessarily be a cause for alarm, because they have been used for many years in foodstuffs. Very careful investigation indeed is going on into very important aspects of this matter, as subsequent Questions will show.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman telling us that the medical advice which he has received is that it is better to put chemicals into food than to leave the natural vitamins in the food? Is he prepared to give an assurance that he has had the advice from the Medical Research Council that he ought to take more of the vitamins out of the food and put in more chemicals?

Major Lloyd George

I do not know from where the right hon. Gentleman got that idea. I have never said anything of the sort. I simply said it was not necessarily a matter for alarm that there were chemicals in food. Indeed, many of the natural vitamins to which the right hon. Gentleman referred are themselves chemicals.