HC Deb 23 February 1871 vol 204 cc748-9

asked Mr. Chanchellor of the Exchequer, If his attention has been called to a statement in the public Press that a recent test of sherry wines, described to be of superior quality, has shown that they were adulterated with an acid highly injurious to health; whether it be true that the adulteration took place in the Docks with the knowledge of the officers of Customs; and, whether the officers of Customs have received instructions to afford every facility for the adulteration of wines in bond provided the owners declare such adulteration to be for the purpose of fortifying the wines?


In answer, Sir, to the hon. Baronet I have to state, first, my attention has not been drawn to this subject otherwise than by the Question he has been good enough to address to me. In the second place, I have to state that I have made inquiry, and am informed that no adulteration has been carried on with the cognizance or permission of the officers of Customs; and, in the third place, that we do not give orders to the officers of Customs to tolerate any adulteration whatever, but their orders are of this nature—that they are to permit persons having wines in bond to fortify those wines—["Hear, hear!"]—which, as hon. Gentlemen are aware, is absolutely necessary for their preservation. And we also permit them in case of the wines becoming cloudy to use some means for refining them. But the officers are strictly forbidden from allowing any adulteration.


I give Notice, then, that I shall move for a Return of the quantity of Hamburg and other spirits used in the Docks for fortifying wines.