HC Deb 22 July 1963 vol 681 cc1039-40
23. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make regulations to ensure that meat, artificially tenderised by pre-slaughter injections, is specifically labelled as such in the shops.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

My right hon. Friend has asked the Food Standards Committee, which is now engaged on a general review of the labelling of food, to consider whether any such special labelling should be made compulsory.

Mr. Farr

In thanking by hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that a housewife who wants to buy prime steak should be provided with the proper article and not an artificially doctored substitute which is sold as such?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

I am informed that the use of the item in question does not change the appearance of the meat. It only makes it more tender. We are referring the whole question to the Committee to see whether special labelling should be used for this process.

Mrs. Slater

Does the hon. Gentleman really mean what he says, that it does not matter as long as it looks the same? Is not the whole purpose that the house wife should know how and with what substance the meat has been treated? If she is paying 5s. 6d. or 6s. per lb., should she not get the genuine article?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

As I have said, the firm concerned is anxious that this item should be labelled, and I have referred the matter to the Committee to see whether labelling should be made compulsory. The application of this item does not change the appearance or flavour of the meat; it only makes it more tender. There is no question of inferior meat being sold as Aberdeen Angus because of this process.

Mr. Darling

If the Minister is so certain of the consequences of this process, why has it been referred to the Food Standards Committee? How often does that Committee meet to deal with problems of this kind, and how many references have been made to it?

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

I have said that I am certain that the process does not affect the flavour or the look of the meat. The reason why it has been referred to the Committee is to consider whether labelling should be made compulsory. I have said that the firm which is marketing the process wishes this to be done in any event.

Back to