HC Deb 17 March 1983 vol 39 cc339-40
10. Sir Albert Costain

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the overwhelming support expressed at the National Farmers Union's recent annual general meeting for mandatory ingredient listing of compound feedstuffs, he will amend the latest feed regulations to introduce such a scheme.

Mrs. Fenner

No, Sir.

Sir Albert Costain

Has my hon. Friend had an opportunity to consider the most recent statement by the National Farmers Union on statutory ingredients, and does she accept the case for consumer protection for farmers?

Mrs. Fenner

Full ingredient listing would not add much of practical value. I am concerned about increased costs to consumers and the costs of enforcement.

Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith

Does my hon. Friend agree that, were she to accept the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Sir A. Costain), it would mean increased costs to pig producers, about whom we are very anxious?

Mrs. Fenner

We have estimated that it would cost the livestock industry as much as £40 million to £50 million a year.

Mr. Mark Hughes

Does the Minister accept that many livestock producers believe that, although under the current arrangements they can be told what is in the mix if they ask politely, the information should be available publicly so that all can know?

Mrs. Fenner

I know that some livestock producers believe that, but there is already a declaration of ingredients in respect of protein, oil, fibre and ash content. However, the door is still open for further discussion. I am studying further evidence that was recently submitted by the National Farmers Union.