HC Deb 26 January 1995 vol 253 cc459-60
5. Mrs. Angela Knight

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has further to promote British food.

Mrs. Browning

We are working closely with food exporting firms and Food from Britain on a plan for vigorous promotion of British food and drink over the next three years.

Mrs. Knight

As part of the promotion of British food abroad, will my hon. Friend undertake to point out how much tastier Stilton from Hartington in Derbyshire is than, for example, a plastic covered Dutch Edam cheese, how much more nutritious a British sausage is than a watery frankfurter and how infinitely preferable it is to eat a British Cox apple than a continental Golden Delicious, which has the texture of cotton wool?

Mrs. Browning

My hon. Friend speaks with much justified pride about the speciality foods produced in her constituency. I am sure that we all recognise the contribution that speciality foods make not only to the taste and quality of United Kingdom food products, but to the export drive: Food from Britain is to spend £3 million on promoting such foods abroad.

Mr. Enright

Will the Minister consider setting aside a day on which to promote Yorkshire rhubarb?

Mrs. Browning

The hon. Gentleman has set me a challenge, but I can tell him that, as a former cookery teacher, I could certainly help to support those who may wish to demonstrate the preparation of crumble, fruit compot made with rhubarb and a range of other wonderful recipes that would restore a traditional British food to its rightful place.

Mr. Gill

Does my hon. Friend share my concern about the future availability of British fish? Does she not believe that the recently published report by Sir Crispin Tickell argues strongly for the abolition of the common fisheries policy?

Mrs. Browning

In last week's debate, both my right hon. Friend the Minister and my hon. Friend the Minister of State clearly explained that, although my right hon. Friend is establishing a committee to examine the future of the common fisheries policy, my hon. Friend's suggestion that its abolition would somehow help to promote fish stocks is quite wrong. It would, in fact, lead to a free-for-all: we should be faced with not 40 Spanish boats but 250.

I certainly believe in the promotion of fish. It contains healthy proteins, and I recommend it to hon. Members. I am told that it is good for the brain, and I particularly recommend it to my hon. Friend.