HC Deb 14 August 1850 vol 113 cc1069-70

wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the attention of the Government had been called to the new mode of refining sugar? His object in asking the question was to ascertain whether any deleterious substances were introduced either into sugar or molasses.


replied, that it was quite true that the attention of the Government was some time ago called to this question, which was a matter in which the health of Her Mejesty's subjects was concerned. A new process was discovered some time ago, and there was reason to suppose that a certain quantity of lead might remain in the sugar, and cause deleterious effects. He thought it his duty to make inquiry some months ago, and a report was made by some experienced chemists. An analysis of the sugar refined by two refiners was made, and the report of the chemists was submitted to two medical gentlemen, who presented a report to the Board of Inland Revenue. It did not appear that any deleterious matter remained in the sugar, but there was reason to believe that a quantity of lead remained in the treacle to such an extent as if taken in great quantities would prove prejudicial. He thought it his duty to submit these reports to the party who had invented this mode of refining sugar, and he offered to abide by the best test that could be offered—namely, that he and his family would eat any quantity of the treacle. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought it right that the public should be in possession of the reports on the one hand, and of this statement on the other. He held them in his hand, and perhaps the best way would be to move that they be laid on the table of the House, and then they would be printed, and the public would have the opportunity of forming its own opinion.