18. Mrs. Butler
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will invite the Committee on Consumer Protection to consider the methods by which the housewife can best be protected from the offer for sale of perishable foodstuffs whose quality and taste falls below the standards which consumers, today, are entitled to expect; what complaints he has received on this subject; and if he will refer such complaints to the Committee for its consideration.
§ Mr. Maudling
Any such complaints as the hon. Member for Wood Green (Mrs. Butler) describes are referred to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Committee on Consumer Protection was given extremely wide terms of reference, and I 1080 do not think it right to influence its selection of the topics which merit its consideration.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that consumers are complaining about many of these foods, particularly flavourless vegetables, stale milk and eggs which are not fresh? In view of the importance of balancing the great amount of processed foods in our diet with natural foods which are fresh and of good quality, is not this a consumer interest to which the Molony Committee's attention should be particularly directed?
§ Mr. Maudling
I agree that this is a very important point. Individual complaints should go to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The terms of reference of the Molony Committee certainly cover this matter, and, within its terms of reference, this Committee is willing and anxious to receive views from anyone on any subject. I cannot tell it to look at any specific matter, but I am certain that any responsible representations which it receives on this or an any other subject will be carefully considered.