§ 1. Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what future arrangements he will be making for monitoring the accuracy of food labelling as a result of information recently gained by his Department relating to orange juice.
§ 7. Mr. Simon Coombs
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what future arrangements he will be making for monitoring the accuracy of food labelling as a result of his Department's recent information about the labelling of orange juice.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. John Gummer)
My scientists analyse a wide range of foodstuffs for various reasons as part of our comprehensive programme of monitoring and surveillance. I will be following up the particular matter to which my hon. Friends refer with further sampling.
§ Mr. Shaw
I congratulate my right hon. Friend and his officials on the way in which this monitoring has been done and on the fact that some major mistakes have been identified. Members of the British public who, like me, enjoy a daily glass of orange juice and want it pure, undiluted and from a properly labelled carton are very grateful to him.
§ Mr. Gummer
I thank my hon. Friend for that. The fact is that this was a labelling and not a public health matter, but it is not acceptable that orange juice labelled pure and unadulterated should turn out to be rather less unadulterated than it should be.
§ Mr. Coombs
Will my right hon. Friend accept my congratulations on this matter? It will give the British public a great deal of reassurance to know that they have officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food continually on the watch to protect them from such serious abuse of the food labelling regulations. When may we expect to make further progress with food labelling regulations, finish the period of discussion with our European colleagues and introduce a more comprehensive system of food labelling regulations for fats, salt and sugar?
§ Mr. Gummer
My hon. Friend has always taken a great interest in this. I assure him that we are in the lead in matters to do with food labelling. The Food Advisory Committee has been doing work on this in Britain. Much of labelling is now in the European Community domain, of course, and we take a lead in the Community in ensuring that the public have clear labelling of what is in the products that they buy. It is not my intention to tell the public what they ought to eat; it is my intention to allow them to choose for themselves—that is why they need proper labels.