asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what was the total sum spent by the European Economic Community on the destruction of food surpluses in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and if he will list the quantities of food items destroyed during this period;(2) what progress has been made by the Common Market Commission in taking action on the report of the European Economic Communiy audit commission about the fraudulent payment of European Economic Community funds for the destruction of non-existent food surpluses; and if he will make a statement.
In certain circumstances, produce withdrawn from the market under the Community schemes for fish and fruit and vegetables finds no end use and has to be destroyed. The expenditure involved cannot be identified from the Community statistics, which relate to all withdrawals. For fish Community expenditure on withdrawals was 17·5 mecu in 1983 and 14·8 mecu in 1984; the quantity withdrawn in 1983 was 87,216 tonnes. For fruit and vegetables 2·05 million tonnes were withdrawn in the 1983–84 marketing year, involving Community expendure of 446 mecu.The Court of Auditors has not published any report dealing specifically with allegations of fraud under these schemes. No other Community schemes provide for destruction of food.