HC Deb 23 March 1971 vol 814 cc229-30
8. Mr. Strang

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the National Federation of Meat Traders' Association about the Meat and Livestock Commission's meat labelling scheme; and what replies he has sent.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

None, Sir. This is a voluntary scheme introduced by the Meat and Livestock Commission and any representation about it should be made to the Commission.

Mr. Strang

Does the scheme have the full and unqualified support of the Minister? What steps has he taken to persuade the federation to cease its petty opposition and to adopt the more responsible attitude of its Scottish counterpart?

Mr. Stodart

This is a voluntary code entirely within the responsibility of the Commission. I can well appreciate some of the objections voiced by the federation. They are practical objections. But it is encouraging that the Scottish butchers, Sainsbury's and the Cooperative movement, have recommended the code.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Is my hon. Friend aware that the essential feature of these codes is that they should remain voluntary?

Mr. Stodart

Yes, Sir.

Mrs. Joyce Butler

Would the Minister think again about this matter, bearing in mind that the labelling scheme gives valuable information to shoppers, who find it increasingly difficult when buying meat because of the modern methods of preparing and displaying meat by butchers?

Mr. Stodart

That being so, I am certain that, if this is a useful exercise, housewives will favour it in going from one butcher to another.