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Pesticides

Volume 718: debated on Wednesday 3 November 1965

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7.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce regulations to require the composition of farm and garden insecticides to be clearly stated on the label or container.

The Advisory Committee on Pesticides and Other Toxic Chemicals is reviewing the existing voluntary arrangements for the safe use of toxic substances in agriculture, home gardening and food storage. When its report and recommendations are received, we shall consider future policy over the whole field of pesticide use, including labelling.

In view of the fact that the nature protection organisations have discovered that the residue of pesticides in birds has trebled in the last year and the concern of public analysts and local authorities who are reviewing residues in food, could the Minister treat this as a matter of urgency and make the present voluntary ban mandatory and introduce labelling which will protect the farmers and gardeners who use the chemicals to remind them of the dangers?

I do not think that we can do anything until the Committee reports, much as we should like to do so. This is a very complicated subject and it is a big job for the Committee. I should not like to indicate how long it may take to report, but it should be before the end of the coming year.