HC Deb 24 January 1991 vol 184 c451
14. Mr. Michael

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to ensure the adequate protection of the public in respect of irradiated food in the United Kingdom since 1 January 1991.

Mr. Gummer

The interests of consumers are fully protected by separate licensing and labelling regulations which came into effect on 1 January.

Mr. Michael

Can the Minister explain to us how that choice and protection can be offered, when there is no simple scientific test to show whether food is irradiated, especially when it comes from abroad?

Mr. Gummer

First, whether we have irradiation in this country or not, there has always been a problem with irradiated food from other countries. By making it legal, licensing it and being careful about the places where it can be done, we are able to protect the public very much more, and we shall insist upon the labelling of all foods in such a way that the public can choose. I am not one of those who believe that it is the Government's duty to force the prejudices of some upon others. People ought to choose and I shall choose irradiated food as being considerably safer.