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Food Processing (Coal Tar Dyes)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food if he will take steps to impose restrictions upon food processors and manufacturers in relation to the use of dyestuffs derived from coal-tar, having regard to the evidence that the use of such dyestuffs is in some degree responsible for the increase in the number of cancer cases.

The use of certain coal tar dyes is already prohibited. The general question of the addition to foods of colouring matters is being considered by the Food Standards Committee.

Is it not a fact that the workers handling coal tar have to take special precautions against ill-effects on their health? Is it not a fact that this dye is used for colouring kippers and other coloured foods?

The first statement of the hon. Gentleman is true, but do not let us generalise and so arouse fears and suspicions unless and until there is scientific evidence on the subject.