Food Labelling

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 5 May 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Masham of Ilton Baroness Masham of Ilton Crossbench 8:45, 5 May 2004

My Lords, I, too, beg leave to speak in the gap. My reason for speaking briefly in the debate is because on my way to your Lordships' House my taxi driver asked me what was going on here today. I told him about this debate. He told me that one of his children has a serious allergy to nuts. It is so serious that the parents have to carry two syringes of adrenaline in case their boy becomes seriously ill.

My taxi driver told me that there should be a national campaign to make children, restaurants, hotels, food manufacturers, schools and everyone aware of the dangers of serious allergies, which can be life-threatening. Not enough is written on menus in restaurants and in food shops about food and sweets that are free from, for example, nuts and wheat germ. Far more research should be carried out. Supermarkets should promote healthy, clean food and drink. Can the Minister tell the House whether it is a fact that some children who have food allergies have a deficient gene?

I have a diabetic husband. Diabetes should be avoided at all costs. It causes numerous complications. But the worrying situation is that diabetes is on the increase. It is a serious problem, particularly among the Asian population. I congratulate the Government on trying to promote fruit in schools. More healthy, well-labelled food and drink should be available that is suitable for diabetics and others, including in your Lordships' Dining Room.