HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc17-8
20. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to ensure that all cans of tinned fruit indicate clearly the net weight of liquid and fruit, respectively.

Sir J. Eden

I accept that such a declaration would be useful to the consumer but measurement and enforcement raise serious technical problems. I am hopeful that a solution that takes account of likely developments in Europe will be found.

Mr. Hamilton

What is the use of hoping? That is no consolation to the housewife who is being continually and comprehensively deceived in these and other matters relating to other foodstuffs. The Continent deals with this problem much better than we do, since there the proportion of fruit and syrup in the tin is clearly indicated. Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that independent investigations over a whole range of tinned fruit in this country have shown that in far too many instances there is more water than food in the tin?

Sir J. Eden

I am aware that the main interest of consumers in the relationship between the total net weight and the drained weight of the contents of the can is that it gives an indication that the can has been filled to a reasonable standard. This aspect of the problem is being discussed internationally in the context of standards for new foods by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer

Would my hon. Friend give this matter very serious consideration, as many of us on this side feel that there are legislative loopholes of which people can take advantage? Rather than have piecemeal legislation, will my hon. Friend consider a survey of the whole problem?

Sir J. Eden

I will certainly look into that latter point. I can assure my hon. Friend that we are studying this very detailed matter carefully and urgently.

Forward to