asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has now reached a decision about the proposed ban on sales of untreated milk.
I hope to do so within a month.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that to confirm the decision of the previous Government in this matter would be damaging to the livelihood of many farmers in constituencies such as mine? Does he agree that the health inspectors already ensure a high standard of hygiene and that no further action is necessary?
I am aware that my hon. Friend will understand that I cannot anticipate my final decision, but I understand the problems that the decision of the previous Government would cause in his constituency and many other areas in England and Wales.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is Conservative policy to allow freedom in these matters and that, as long as the bottle is clearly marked as containing untreated milk, it should be available? If it is banned, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there will be considerable problems regarding milk distribution in rural areas?
I understand the views of my hon. Friend. I know about his knowledge of the problem in the locality that he represents. Certainly I think it is important to study the strong representations that are made as to the effect and impact of the decision by the previous Government, if it were continued.