HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc400-1
24. Mr. Wade

asked the Minister of Food to state what progress has been made in the investigations into the existing methods of treatment of flour; and whether he will give an assurance that the process of agenisation will be abandoned.

43. Lieut.-Colonel Hyde

asked the Minister of Food to take steps to counteract the harmful effects produced by the use of agene in the manufacture of flour and bread.

Major Lloyd George

These complex and important investigations into possible alternatives to agene as a flour improver are requiring considerably more time than was originally thought necessary. They are being pursued with all possible speed but it would be premature to take any action until they are completed.

Mr. Wade

Does the Minister agree that on 31st March, 1952, referring to the Report of the Scientific Committee, he said; in view of its deleterious effect when fed in large quantities to certain animals it was felt that the use of agene should be discontinued." —[OFFICIAL REPORT. 31st March, 1952; Vol. 498, c. 1162.] Is it not time that it should be discontinued?

Major Lloyd George

My first answer to a Question on this matter was to the effect that my information was that it would be at least a year before the Committee investigating this matter could possibly reach a conclusion, first of all, as to whether agene was harmful, and, secondly, what possible substitute could be used in its place. Since the investigations have started, one or two possible alternatives have been presented, but it is obvious that very careful research must be undertaken before either can be accepted.

Mr. Nicholson

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it has been accepted that agene is a contributory factor to hysteria in dogs?

Major Lloyd George

That is one of the things which the Committee are investigating. I would point out, however, that agene has been used in bread in this country for over 30 years.