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Food And Drugs Amendment Bill (Consultations)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 5 July 1954

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35.

asked the Minister of Food what further consultations he has had with the catering trade regarding the Food and Drugs Amendment Bill; and what changes have been made in the proposed regulations as a result.

37.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will announce the result of his discussions with catering trade organisations on food hygiene.

A revised draft of proposals for food hygiene regulations was circulated to representative organisations, including those representing the catering trade, on 31st May. It is too soon to say what changes, if any, will result, as many replies have still to come in.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether it is true that more than half the valuable safeguards originally contained in the regulations have been dropped in view of the pressure of the catering industry? Does he propose to bring forward the attenuated Bill later this Session?

It is true that after the first series of proposals a revision was made for the second version, in the light of the comments and criticisms received. It is the second version that is now the subject of the criticism of the associations of local authorities and other bodies concerned, and we shall continue this practice of consulting those affected.

Has not the Government's abject surrender to the catering trade pressure dealt a very damaging blow to the clean food campaign? Will the hon. Gentleman now make it quite clear that it is not the intention of the Government so to allow the regulations to be whittled down as to continue to make it easy for dirty food to be served in dirty caf├ęs?

A study of the second draft of the proposals would reveal that the hon. and gallant Gentleman's suggestion of an abject surrender is contrary to the facts.

In view of the fact that the Leader of the House has persistently and obstinately declined to inform the House what the prospects of the Food and Drugs Amendment Bill are, could the Parliamentary Secretary, with his greater knowledge, put the House out of its misery by telling us about the state of the Bill, because he obviously knows better than the right hon. Gentleman, who often is not fully up to date with Parilamentary business?

Is it the Government's policy now that the standard of hygiene shall be as high as the lowest of the dirtiest firms in the catering industry?

No. The right hon. Gentleman is making a completely unfounded suggestion. It is right and proper that when proposals for new standards are brought in they should be submitted for the comments and views of all those concerned. That is what is happening in this case.