HC Deb 27 May 1895 vol 34 cc361-2
SIR RICHARD PAGET (Somerset, Wells)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture—(1) whether his attention has been called to the case of Hawkins v. Williams, reported in the Times of the 21st instant, in which it appeared that frozen Australian butter invoiced as "guaranteed pure," was found to contain 17 per cent. of foreign fat; (2) whether his attention has further been called to the fact that, in the above-mentioned case the charge failed in consequence of the retail vendor claiming the protection of section 25 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1875, and proving that the adulterated butter sold by him had been purchased with a written warranty of quality, the invoice sent by the importer bearing the words "guaranteed pure;" and (3) whether he will, with the view of protecting the public from being deceived by the fraudulent sale of adulterated frozen butter imported from abroad, insure that examination shall be made at the Custom House of all butter so imported, in the same manner that examination is now carried on at the Custom House in the case of tea, which (as appears from the report of the Customs analyst for the year ending 31st December, 1893) is liable in certain cases to be destroyed when found to be unsound?


I have read the Times report of the case to which the hon. Baronet refers. With reference to the suggestion made in the concluding paragraph of the question, I may say that arrangements have recently been made by which samples of butter will be taken at the ports of importation, and analysed by the Principal Chemist of the Government Laboratories, who is also the Chief Agricultural Analyst. A certain number of samples have, in fact, already been taken, and I am in communication with the Treasury and the Board of Customs with a view to the settlement of the course to be pursued in the event of its being found that any offences under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, the Margarine Act, and the Merchandise Marks Acts, have been, or are likely to be, committed.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would inform the House as soon as he had received the information for which he had asked.


I will, of course, lay before the House any information which I think it my duty to give.