HC Deb 27 June 1973 vol 858 cc351-2W
Mr. Charles Morrison

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to receive the reports of the working party on the monitoring of foodstuffs for heavy metals on mercury in food (supplementary) and cadmium in food; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Godber

I have now received these reports, which are being published today, and copies are being placed in the Library and the Vote Office.

The reports have been submitted to the Toxicity Sub-Committee of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Chemicals in Food and the Environment and the Food Additives and Contaminants Committee, whose advice is published in appendices to the reports.

I have noted that results of the Survey of Mercury in Food: Supplementary Report are similar to those in the first report. I accept the committees' conclusions that there is no evidence of harm to health from present levels of mercury and cadmium in food for the average consumer and that there is no need to impose statutory limits on the amounts of mercury and cadmium that may be present in food for human consumption.

The Government therefore propose to take the following action:

  1. (1) To continue the monitoring for mercury and cadmium on the revised bases and to proceed with the monitoring of other heavy metals recommended by both committees.
  2. (2) Where possible to commission epidemiological investigations on certain individual consumers who might have an above average dietary intake of cadmium.