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Rapeseed (Erucic Acid Content)

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 19 February 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to ensure that all future British crops of rapeseed have a low erucic acid level.

My Department is in touch with trade and farmers' representatives with a view to overcoming the technical difficulties which stand in the way of increased production of low erucic acid rapeseed. It is expected that over the next two or three years increasing quantities of low erucic acid varieties of rapeseed will be planted.The EEC Council of Ministers has asked the Commission to consider how production of low erucic acid rapeseed could be encouraged, and proposals are expected by 1st July 1975. However, there is a continuing demand for high erucic acid rape oil for use in industry, so a total switch to low erucic acid varieties would be undesirable.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to ensure that all future imports of rapeseed have a low erucic acid level.

We have no plans to restrict the varieties of rapeseed that may be imported. Industry will continue to need rape oil containing high levels of erucic acid for certain purposes, including the manufacture of lubricants. In 1974 the United Kingdom imported about two-thirds of its total requirements of rapeseed. Although domestic production is expanding rapidly, imported supplies will continue to be important.