§ 2.35 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are prepared to make compulsory the marking of eggs, indicating whether they are of free-range, deep-litter or battery origin.]
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CHAMPION)
My Lords, the Food Standards Committee examined this proposal in its recent comphrehensive Report on Food Labelling but made no recommendation on it. A large number of representations about the Report have since been received, including requests that eggs should be marked with an indication of origin. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is now studying all these representations with a view to formulating proposals for new food labelling regulations. He has also requested the Scientific Advisory Panel, which was set up earlier this year, to investigate the question of the nutritional value of foods produced under intensive rearing systems.
§ LORD SOMERS
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord very much for this most encouraging Answer. I hope that both he and his right honourable friend will agree that it is desirable for everybody to know the quality of the articles he is buying. I think that people would even be prepared to pay a little 498 more for articles of higher quality; and that is the real object of marking eggs.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, of course at this stage I cannot commit my right honourable friend on the future possibilities of egg marking, but I can assure the noble Lord that my right honourable friend will consider very carefully what he has said.