HC Deb 22 November 1990 vol 181 cc412-3
6. Mr. Colvin

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to introduce the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham

Consultation on the proposal for the draft Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order was completed on 31 October. Arrangements are now being made for the draft order to be laid before Parliament early in 1991.

Mr. Colvin

As my hon. Friend will be aware, that order requires, among other things, the compulsory training of staff handling food. Is he aware that that requirement could bear heavily on pubs, restaurants and hotels where there is a high turnover of staff? Will the Government be giving help towards the cost of that training, bearing in mind the fact that those places, in which people can meet and socialise on a totally non-sectarian basis, should be encouraged rather than overburdened with unnecessary bureaucratic rules?

When the Minister gets back to Belfast, will he be visiting a local pub and drinking a toast to Britain's longest-serving and most successful Prime Minister?

Mr. Needham

I agree with my hon. Friend that it is of great importance to make sure that more people go to pubs and fewer go to the wrong sort of clubs. It takes about six hours for a person to be trained to reach the standard of the hygiene certificate that is required. It is not expensive and I hope that all employers, pubs and hotels already undertake proper hygiene training, anyway.

Mr. Maginnis

Is not the Minister seized of the urgency of the need to deal with the unfit meat trade, in which meat from fallen and diseased animals is still regularly entering the human food chain? Will he commit more resources and give better powers to local government to deal with the unscrupulous traders who sell meat unfit for human consumption?

Mr. Needham

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Government are to make available extra funds to environmental health officers—[Interruption.] I shall, of course, pass the hon. Gentleman's comments to my noble Friend Lord Skelmersdale, who is responsible for the relevant legislation.

Mr. Speaker

Order. May I ask hon. Members below the Gangway to desist from holding private conversations? The trouble is that I can hear snatches of those conversations, which on some occasions are quite interesting and amusing, but not today.