HC Deb 27 February 1902 vol 103 cc1289-90
MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that considerable quantities of a material, known as milk-blended butter, are now made by working milk into butter by a mechanical process whereby the amount of water in the original butter is increased from a relatively small proportion up to 20 or 25 per cent., and that quantities of foreign butter thus treated are sold monthly; and what steps he will take to prevent this practice. I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Irish Co-operative Agency Society passed a resolution commenting adversely on the reference to milk-blended butter in the interim report of the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into the standard of water in butter; and whether, in view of this fact, he will legalise the sale as butter of an article containing any further percentage of moisture, by declaration or otherwise, except Irish salt firkin butter, which the Committee reported contains necessarily a higher percentage of moisture.


Yes, Sir. I am aware, I regret to say, of the practice mentioned in the Question. The legality of the sale as butter of such an article is now before the Law Courts, and I must await their decision before I can properly deal with the subject by an Amendment of the law or otherwise. As soon as I have had an opportunity of considering the evidence submitted to the Departmental Committee on butter, I shall fix a standard, and I hope that that in itself will go far to meet the difficulty which has arisen.


Will the right hon. Gentleman fix one or two standards?


Until I see the evidence I cannot express any opinion one way or the other.