§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total amount of food, including fruit, which was destroyed in the EEC under the common agriculture policy arrangements in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
In 1985–86 a total of 1,819,126 tonnes of fruit and vegetables were assumed to have been spoiled or wasted under the Common Agricultural Policy arrangements for withdrawals of fruit and vegetables from the market. This represents just under 7 per cent. of production of the products concerned.670W
Although produce withdrawn may be distributed to certain institutions, distilled into industrial alcohol or used as animal feed, it is in practice difficult to find outlets in the time available particularly where the produce is highly perishable. About 17 per cent. of the quantity withdrawn in 1985–86 is estimated to have been used in this way.
I am concerned at the increase in the amounts being withdrawn. This makes it even more important to ensure that withdrawal provisions are such as to provide only an outlet of last resort. This has been our objective at successive annual negotiations on the agricultural price fixing.