HC Deb 08 May 1907 vol 174 cc280-2

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [17th April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

Question again proposed.

MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)

said he did not wish in any way to obstruct the passage of this Bill, as he thought in many ways it was an excellent one. It was desirable, however, that butter substitutes should be labelled with some name which did not include the word "butter." That was the desire of the Dairy Farmers' Association, and he was asked to urge upon the Board of Agriculture that they should introduce provisions in the Bill which would ensure for the protection of agriculturists that butter substitutes containing 24 per cent. of moisture should be so described that the word "butter" was not used. That would prevent frauds upon agriculturists and also upon the consumer, who might be led to think he was consuming butter when the substance he was eating contained nothing of the kind.

LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)

said that the Lincolnshire Farmers' Union also strongly objected to the 24 per cent. of water allowed in butter substitutes. People who bought products called butter substitutes no doubt often thought they got butter. If it was possible for the Board of Agriculture to approve of a distinctive name to be given to these butter substitutes it would be a good thing. It seemed to him that if butter substitutes containing 24 per cent. of moisture were sold under such names as "milk-blended butter" it was quite possible that unwary purchasers might think they were getting an especially good article instead of what they were in fact purchasing. Therefore in the interests alike of farmers, butter makers, and consumers there should be some greater distinction made than existed at present. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would give full consideration to the wishes of the farmers.


said the feeling of the Scottish farmers was exactly similar to that already expressed by the noble Lord. They considered the provision permitting the sale of butter substitutes containing 24 per cent. of moisture would not only be a danger to the public but permit unfair competition with the farmer. Under one clause of the Bill butter and margarine were both condemned if they contained more than 16 per cent. of moisture, but when it came to the so-called butter substitutes the Bill contemplated allowing 24 per cent. of moisture There were many other points to which he might refer, but his purpose was served by making the House aware of the face that the farmers of Scotland felt a grievance on the matter.