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Flour Improvers (Agene)

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 28 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food if he can yet make a statement in respect of the banning of agene in flour for human consumption.

Not yet, Sir.

Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that an undertaking was given by a Government spokesman on 2nd December, 1953, that a statement was likely to be made within two or three months, and is he not aware that for some considerable period a baker in the West Country has been selling large quantities of bread free from agene and chemicals? What is the Ministry doing about that?

I am aware of the need for an early decision. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we are in the hands of an expert committee which is seeking an absolutely safe alternative. My right hon. and gallant Friend will make an announcement as soon as that expert advice is ready.

Why does not the Minister's Department encourage the millers to give people decent bread instead of the poison which they now supply?

Because he prefers an expert examination of the facts before making loose assertions.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that in the new process, which has been going on as a commercial proposition, no chemicals at all are used? Is it not a good bread in itself, and why does not the Ministry do something about it? If it is not a good bread, why does not the Ministry warn people about it?

I am aware of the aeration process to which the hon. Gentleman refers. It is one of the methods being studied, but, until the study is complete, it cannot be authoritatively stated what the new method will be.