HC Deb 06 November 1980 vol 991 cc647-8W
Mr. John Carlisle

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what percentage of wheat samples offered for intervention for bread-making wheat has passed the machinability test;

(2) what evidence there is that wheats that pass the machinability test as suitable for bread-making for intervention purposes are of a quality accepted by the United Kingdom millers;

(3) what is the average length of time for samples for the bread-making intervention test to be processed between the time of offer and publication of result;

(4) what is the failure rate of United Kingdom wheat samples offered for the bread-making intervention test compared to those offered in France and West Germany.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The different types of bread made in EEC member countries have made it impossible up to now to agree on a common test of baking quality for intervention purposes. However, a common dough machinability test is used in all member States where bread-making wheat is offered into intervention.

The quality of wheat varies from year to year, and the acceptability to United Kingdom millers of wheat currently being taken into intervention can be judged only in the light of market conditions when it is resold on to the market. Our limited experience last year indicated that there should be no difficulty in disposing of stocks of bread-making wheat when market conditions are right.

So far, about half of the bread wheat offered for intervention has been tested, and the pass rate is about 32 per cent. At present the records do not permit the ready calculation of an average time between offer and notification of results, and it would delay the testing programme to obtain this information.

I regret that information about failure rates in other member States is not available.

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