Colouring Substances

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th April 1955.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford 12:00 am, 4th April 1955

asked the Minister of Food if he will now take action to ban the colouring of kippers with coal-tar dyes and encourage a return to the practice of producing the appetising appearance and health-giving properties by smoking instead of painting.

Photo of Mr Derick Heathcoat-Amory Mr Derick Heathcoat-Amory , Tiverton

The addition to food of colouring matters including coal-tar dyes has been the subject of a recently published report by the Food Standards Committee. Consideration is now being given to representations from interested parties with a view to a decision on the Committee's recommendations.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

Does that answer apply to this Question or to my next Question; and whether it does or does not, can the right hon. Gentleman give a categorical denial that the dyeing of kippers is harmful to health?

Mr. Amory:

My intervention must be limited to that, to harmful effects. I am anxious to consider the recommendations and representations made in connection with this before I reach a decision,

Photo of Sir Beresford Craddock Sir Beresford Craddock , Spelthorne

Is is not a fact that kippers have been dyed with basic dyestuffs for many years and that research has shown that there is no harmful effect?

Photo of Mr Edward Evans Mr Edward Evans , Lowestoft

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the question of the "painted ladies" is among the least of the anxieties of the herring industry, which has much more difficult problems to surmount?

Mr. Amory:

I am very anxious to try to surmount them all.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

asked the Minister of Food what has been the response of producers and manufacturers to his invitation to give their point of view in respect to the proposal to ban colouring substances in foods, as recommended by the preservatives sub-committee of the Food Standards Committee.

Photo of Mr Alfred Broughton Mr Alfred Broughton , Batley and Morley

asked the Minister of Food what comments he has now received from the catering industry, from manufacturers of colouring materials used in food, or from other interested bodies, on the report of the Preservatives Sub-Committee of the Food Standards Committee concerning the preparation of an approved list of substances which may be added to food.

Mr. Amory:

The comments received to date relate for the most part to points of detail concerning the recommended colours. Some objections have also been lodged against the principle of a restricted list of colours for use in food.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

What is the Minister going to do about this? What sort of recommendations has he received from the trade? Is he going to do anything about them?

Mr. Amory:

Yes, I thought I had indicated that we allowed a period for anyone to make representations, who desired to do so—

Mr. Amory:

Yes, to 31st March. That period is now over, and I am actively considering what action is required.

Photo of Mr Alfred Broughton Mr Alfred Broughton , Batley and Morley

Will the Minister look upon this matter as one of some urgency in view of the statements that were made in the report, and will he make sure that coal-tar derivatives used in colouring foods will be prohibited in the near future?

Mr. Amory:

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that this is an important matter. I will take into consideration what he has mentioned, and I can assure him that there will be no avoidable delay in taking action.

Photo of Mr Hector Hughes Mr Hector Hughes , Aberdeen North

Having regard to the unique methods used by the Aberdeen kipperer, would it not he a good idea to send a body of experts or a delegation to Aberdeen to study the methods used there in order to have a proper appreciation of the position?

Mr. Amory:

I regard the hon. and learned Gentleman as an expert himself in these matters, and I shall rely upon his advice.