asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to conclude the consultation on voluntary nutritional labelling; and when he expects to receive the surveys carried out by the consumer organisations.
Comments from many interested parties on the draft guidelines for the voluntary nutrition labelling of food have been received and are being considered. The Consumers Association, the National Consumer Council and my Department expect to have the results of the consumer survey available shortly.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. How much emphasis will be placed on the results of the survey? If the survey shows the need for better nutritional labelling and for fat information, will she take note of that, and will it affect legislation?
I assure my hon. Friend that comments arising from the draft nutritional guidelines, together with the results of the consumer survey and points that have arisen in consultations with manufacturers and retailers, will be taken into account in producing revised guidelines.
One of the most important aspects of nutritional labelling is the sugar content of any food. As the Department does not propose to show that separately, will the Minister undertake that, if the survey provides evidence that such labelling would be valuable, the Department will change its mind?
The question of the labelling of fibre, sugar and salt content has particularly been brought to our attention. The labelling of those foods is allowed in the present draft, but we shall consider, in the light of comments, whether they need to be part of the basic list.