HC Deb 09 February 1971 vol 811 cc265-6
18. Mr. Douglas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the regulations governing the nutritive values of foodstuffs.

74. Mrs. Joyce Butler

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce regulations to ensure minimum nutritional standards, and to regulate nutritional claims, in food.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

There are 27 regulations laying down compositional standards which ensure a minimum nutritive value for specified foods. Nutritional claims for all foods are controlled by the Food and Drugs Act, 1955, and by labelling regulations.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Would he not accept that the general public are becoming disturbed about the apparent deficiencies in our regulations compared with those of countries like the United States and Canada? Will he institute a survey in his Ministry of the comparison between our regulations and those of the United States and Canada to see whether we can tighten them up in view of other products which are coming on to the market?

Mr. Stodart

I am aware of the recent review in the United States. I think that conditions are entirely different there. There is no shortage of essential nutrients in this country; the nutrient content of the nation's diet as a whole is satisfactory. I am prepared to look at this, but not, I think, to embark on a great exercise in depth.

Mrs. Joyce Butler

What further studies have been made by the hon. Gentleman's expert advisers since the regulations were made last year to take into account the ever-growing number of processed foods and the lack of adequate nutrition among elderly people and other groups? When he is considering this matter further, would he undertake to review those regulations in the light of these developments?

Mr. Stodart

I can assure the hon. Lady that these matters are kept under continuous review.