HC Deb 02 February 1976 vol 904 cc950-1
15. Sir John Hall

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what representations have been made by food manufacturers about the unresolved problems arising from the forthcoming introduction of metric units for prepackaged foods.

Mr. Alan Williams

We are in constant touch with the food industry on general metrication problems. The Food Manufacturers' Federation wrote to my Department on 19th December saying that it wished to discuss the question of legal cutoff dates for imperial sizes of prescribed quantity foods. A meeting with the Federation has been arranged for 5th February.

Sir J. Hall

Is the Minister aware of the concern felt by the food industry about the possible confusion that could arise after 1st April 1978 by the presence on the shelves, in various shops, of imported packages in metric weights, as against those in imperial weights, and packed according to average net weight rather than minimum net weight, as at present in this country? Will he hasten forward measures to bring individual packaging into line?

Mr. Alan Williams

I appreciate the risks of confusion. Because of that we are considering bringing forward an amendment to Section 10 (10) of the Weights and Measures Act.

Mr. Marten

Has the Minister seen the draft Directive R/3070 from the Community, which proposes to abolish all imperial measurements? Do the Government intend merely to accept that?

Mr. Alan Williams

I think that the Select Committee has asked for a memorandum on that, and it is being put forward.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

In the unfortunate move towards metric measurement, may we be assured that the British pint will not disappear?

Mr. Alan Williams

I have given an assurance on numerous occasions that there is no reason for the British pint to disappear. I remind the hon. Member that his party was involved in advancing metrication.