Food Labelling
Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Photo of Mrs Elizabeth Shields

Mrs Elizabeth Shields (Ryedale)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to improve information made available to the public about the contents of prepared foods.

Photo of Mr Donald Thompson

Mr Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

The food labelling regulations already require a substantial amount of information about foods to be provided.

Photo of Mrs Elizabeth Shields

Mrs Elizabeth Shields (Ryedale)

Will the Minister ensure that in the labelling of prepared foods attention will be paid to the quantities of items such as preservatives, salt, fat, sugar and so on? Will that labelling include, if and when applicable, notice of irradiation?

Photo of Mr Donald Thompson

Mr Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

Irradiation is illegal in Britain and until that is resolved I cannot answer that part of the hon. Lady's question. Present regulations require a great deal of information. They require a clear and precise name, a full list of ingredients and an indication of how long the product can be kept. Added sugar and salt already appear on ingredient lists and total sugars and salt can be and are included in nutritional statements.

Photo of Mr Conal Gregory

Mr Conal Gregory (City of York)

Does my hon. Friend agree that the most important factor is the mother in the household, who can give good advice about balanced food? Does he further agree that we should not get into a namby-pamby state about pre-packaged foods?

Photo of Mr Donald Thompson

Mr Donald Thompson (Calder Valley)

The mother in the household is entitled to a full range of information so that she can make a sensible and balanced choice. I expect to make a statement shortly about our guidelines on voluntary nutritional labelling. This follows wide-ranging consultations which have already taken place.