HL Deb 17 December 1979 vol 403 c1523WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are satisfied with the controls on the importation of canned fish and accept them as adequate in view of the outbreak of botulism, arising from which two persons died in Birmingham last year.


My right honourable friend is satisfied that the general controls on imported food imposed by the Imported Food Regulations provide a valuable public health safeguard. It is not however practicable to detect all defects in canned fish or other imported food by controls applied in this country. Effective control must lie with the producer by strict adherence to good manufacturing practice. The department is about to issue a memorandum for overseas food producers who export to this country canned foods, including fish, liable to contain dangerous micro-organisms. The purpose of this is to indicate the points to which particular attention should be given in order to minimise the risk that unsafe food is exported to us. Producers can be expected to recognise that much attention is in their interests as well as in those of the British public.