asked the Minister of Food what investigations have been made into the possible ill-effects of preservatives or insecticides used in foreign countries in respect of foodstuffs imported into this country; and how far foreign Governments exporting foodstuffs to this country have had the results of our investigations conveyed to them together with our representations on the matter.
The Food Standards Committee has set up a sub-committee to investigate the use of preservatives in food. A recently published report of a Working Party on toxic chemicals in agriculture made reference to the risks that might arise in treatment of food before it was imported and recommended that international action should be encouraged on this matter.
As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries announced in the House on 9th February, the Government has set up an advisory committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Zuckerman to keep under review all risks that may arise from the use of toxic substances on agricultural products and in the storage of food; and this particular question will be placed before that committee for consideration.
Does not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman feel that, pending any international action for agreement, this country itself should take action in view of the known deleterious effects of certain preservatives used in some parts of the world? Have we not an obligation to consumers in this country to take whatever action we can immediately?
We certainly have. A committee is investigating all these substances. Where we are satisfied that deleterious effects exist, the importation of the foodstuffs is prohibited.