§ 18. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in view of the increase in the use of chlorinated and phosphorated chemicals used in increasing the production of crops, what experiments have been carried out by his Department to ascertain if they leave harmful residuals in foodstuffs; and in what way the interests of the public, from a health point of view, are looked after in this respect.
§ Mr. Godber
In addition to experimental work by the chemical industry, research is being carried out by the Government Chemist's Department with the co-operation of my Department. Under the notification scheme agreed with the industry, new chemical substances or proposed new uses for existing ones are referred to the Advisory Committee on Poisonous Substances used in Agriculture and Food Storage, which recommends the precautions which should be taken to ensure that food produced from treated crops contains no harmful residues. Local authorities have power to act in the case of any contamination likely to cause injury to health.
§ Mr. Dodds
I thank the hon. Member for that information, but is he not aware that even if there is nothing harmful about these chemicals there are many complaints that the flavour of potatoes is altering with the use of chemicals instead of humus? Is he not aware that some people complain that potatoes taste of mothballs? Is anything being done to safeguard the flavour of potatoes, which is very important to people who eat a great deal of them?
§ Mr. Godber
I agree with the hon. Member about the importance of the flavour of potatoes. I was not aware of the existence of a flavour of mothballs, but if he will send me any information about the matter I shall be glad to look into it.