HC Deb 01 February 1996 vol 270 cc1116-7
12. Mr. Campbell-Savours

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received on developments in the canned foods industry. [11277]

Mrs. Browning

None recently, although my Department keeps in regular touch with the industry on issues of concern.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is there not a public interest case for the fullest possible disclosure of information on industrial accidents and food hygiene in the food canning industry in the United Kingdom? Will the Minister call on Campbell Soups of Camden, New Jersey to publish that information in the form of reports and surveys on its United Kingdom operations and, in particular, on its factories in England?

Mrs. Browning

There are already in place mechanisms through the Health and Safety Executive and environmental health officers for monitoring food processing plants. If the hon. Gentleman has specific factories and incidents in mind, and has information that he can substantiate, we would be grateful to receive it.

Mr. Bellingham

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are many canning jobs in King's Lynn in my constituency, including those of nearly 500 people who work for Campbell's? They are sympathetic to what the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) is trying to do to save the factory in his constituency, but are against the boycott of Campbell's products because it could jeopardise their jobs.

Mrs. Browning

The House recognises the concern of the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) about the loss of jobs at Campbell's in Maryport. He knows that I have supported the action that he has taken through legitimate means to try to represent his constituents. The Government cannot support a boycott of one product against another because, as he will be aware, jobs all around the country are involved, including those in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Norfolk (Mr. Bellingham) and in Stratford-on-Avon, which have benefited from the losses that the constituents of the hon. Member for Workington have sustained.