HC Deb 12 June 1882 vol 270 cc826-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade, If his attention has been called to the manufacture, in the United States of America, of an article called cheese, compounded of a mixture of the bluest skim-milk and lard; and, if he will endeavour to ascertain if any of this spurious cheese is imported into this Country; and, if so, if he will take steps to insure that this compound, when exposed for sale, shall be sold only as "lard cheese," or be distinguished in such a manner as to prevent imposition to purchasers in this Country?


asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether he has read the report of Dr. Voelcker to the Royal Agricultural Society on the composition of lard and oleomargarine cheese lately imported from America; and, whether he would cause inquiries to be made at the ports of entry relative to the importation of such cheeses, so that they may be entered and sold under their proper designation, and not as "whole milk" cheses?


Sir, my attention has been directed to the manu- facture of an article called "cheese," compounded of skim-milk and lard, or oleomargarine, and I am aware that this article is being imported into this country. I have made inquiries of the Custom House, but at present the import and export statistics do not make any distinction between this cheese and ordinary cheese, and I am consequently unable to give any information as to the extent of the importation; but the question of statisticsis at the present time being considered by a small Departmental Committee, and I will refer the question of providing for a distinct classification in future to the Committee. As regards the sale in this country, the Adulteration Acts impose a penalty of £20 on any person selling any article of food not of the nature, substance, or quality demanded by the purchaser, without disclosing the fact, and this enactment would, I presume, serve to prevent imposition. I have also read the Report of Dr. Voelcker, alluded to by the hon. Member for Mid Cheshire (Mr. Wilbraham Egerton), and find that he states that as far as he can judge at present— The lard and oleomargarine cheeses are wholesome and nutritious articles of food, which cannot be distinguished by their appearance and general properties from ordinary cheese. I am, moreover, doubtful whether in any case it is desirable to interfere further with the production or sale of this article, even in the interests of agriculturists, as I find that Lord Vernon, who took the chair at a recent meeting of the Agricultural Society, expressed his opinion that the Society should be very careful before requesting the interference of the Board of Trade, as one of the great obstacles to butter-making was the difficulty in getting rid of the skim-milk; whereas, by the introduction of lard or oleomargarine, the dairy companies would be able to work up their refuse produce into a wholesome article of food. It appears, therefore, that the British farmer may possibly desire to enter into this manufacture.