HC Deb 14 November 1960 vol 630 cc5-6
7. Mr. Albu

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make an amendment to the Food Hygiene Regulations so as to make compulsory the printing on packages of pre-packed perishable foods of the date of manufacture and the latest date on which the food may be safely consumed.

Mr. Soames

No, Sir. The date of manufacture is not a sure guide to the condition of food at the time of retail sale, because the food can be affected by factors outside the manufacturer's control such as the storage conditions and the weather during distribution. For the same reason, the latest safe date for consumption cannot in general be determined at the time of packing.

Mr. Albu

Does the Minister not think that some action should be taken to prevent the continuance of the situation which exists now whereby meat and other products can be sold in a state of decomposition even though they are pre-packed?

Mr. Soames

The consumer is protected by the Food and Drugs Act, 1955, which makes it an offence to sell food which is unfit for human consumption in any way.

Mrs. Slater

Will the Minister look into the matter again, since only a week or so ago in this building processed cheese was found in several packets to be going mouldy and, if the date had been marked upon them, the cheese would not have been put out for sale because the latest date on which it could have been sold would have been seen to be passed? Such things are not fair on the consumer.

Mr. Soames

I think it would not be right for me to comment on a particular incident without knowing the details of it.