Food Standards Agency

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 30th July 1997.

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Photo of Mr Paul Tyler Mr Paul Tyler Liberal Democrat, North Cornwall 1:45 pm, 30th July 1997

Can the Chancellor be more specific about the timetable? He has acknowledged that there will be a period for consultation on the White Paper and that that will be followed by legislation. It is likely that the new agency will not be in operation until April 2000. In the meantime, the situation is deteriorating. I accept the right hon. Gentleman's point that that is a legacy from the previous regime, but there is a crisis of confidence in food safety in the United Kingdom now and worry about the import of substandard food—notably beef—from other countries. I press the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what action plan he and his colleagues have now to improve confidence in British food because lack of confidence, which is surely unjustified and perhaps irrational, nevertheless exists.