HC Deb 24 March 1998 vol 309 c94W
Mr. Laxton

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the safety of canthaxanthin for use in animal feed insofar as it affects eggs and farmed fish consumed by the public; and if he will make a statement. [36345]

Mr. Rooker

I am grateful for the Food Advisory Committee's advice that there are no consumer safety concerns associated with the use of this pigment in animal feed. I conclude that it may therefore continue to be used in accordance with its long-standing authorisation in Directive 70/524/EEC concerning additives in feedingstuffs.

We nevertheless propose to seek a reduction under the Directive to the maximum permitted level (MPL) for use of the substance in feed for laying hens. The levels used are, for technological reasons, far below the current MPL.

I also intend to ask the new Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs, when it is established, to consider whether, despite the lack of current safety concerns, it would be prudent to monitor the degree to which this colourant is used in the future.

Finally, I note that the FAC wishes to review the need for labelling of animal products coloured in this way. I believe this is an important matter for consumer information and I look forward to receiving its advice in due course.