HC Deb 05 November 1992 vol 213 cc404-5
10. Dr. Goodson-Wickes

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent consultations his Department has had towards implementing "The Health of the Nation" proposals.

Mr. Soames

Implementation of the White Paper is primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health. However, my Department has been involved both at ministerial and official level with a number of interested parties, about various aspects of the White Paper.

Dr. Goodson-Wickes

I do not know quite how to put this to my hon. Friend delicately. I am sure that he would agree that Conservatives believe in enjoying life, and good eating is clearly part of enjoying life, but can he inform the House what efforts are being made jointly with his colleagues in the Department of Health to advise people how to eat healthily to avoid the development of coronary heart disease?

Mr. Soames

My hon. Friend has no need to be so coy about these matters. I regard myself as a thoroughly good advertisement for healthy eating.

The White Paper places emphasis on reducing smoking, improving diet and sensible drinking as key factors in the prevention of coronary heart disease, strokes and cancers. Dietary targets relate to a reduction in the population's average consumption of saturated fats and total fats. However, the White Paper points to the need for a whole-diet approach.

Mr. Tony Banks

Is the Minister aware that vegetarianism is one of the healthiest eating habits that we can adopt? If he wants to set an example to the nation on healthy eating, he should give up grouse and start eating lentil bake.

Mr. Soames

I am sure that it is, in its own way, an attractive proposition, but I have never regarded vegetarianism as a serious alternative.

Mr. Bellingham

Is my hon. Friend aware that, when it comes to "The Health of the Nation", Ministers should set an example? Bearing that in mind, will he tell the House what steps he has taken as regards his diet and personal habits?

Mr. Soames

Like the Government as a whole, I am committed to a pragmatic and practical approach to dietary targets, as outlined in "The Health of the Nation".

Mr. Etherington

I am quite sure—

Madam Speaker

Order. Question 12.