HC Deb 01 May 1922 vol 153 cc956-7
20. Mr. DOYLE

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in many countries almost entirely dependent on imports for their milk supplies the importation of machine-skimmed milk is forbidden, and that in several important British Colonies, including the South African Union, a prohibitive tariff on skimmed condensed milk exists; and whether, in the advantage of British trade, similar restrictions can be applied in this country to the importation of machine-skimmed milk, particularly as we are not dependent upon imports for our milk supplies, and that the continuation of the imports of low-grade condensed milk is seriously affecting the condensed milk industry in England, which had developed so considerably during the War?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and, to the second part, that I am not prepared to introduce legislation for the purpose indicated.

80. Captain TERRELL

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has considered the desirability of promoting legislation to fix a standard of content for dried and tinned milk in order that the interests of the consumer may be protected; and, in that case, what decision I has he arrived at?

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Alfred Mond)

I have been asked to reply to this question. My predecessor appointed a Committee to consider the question of fixing standards for condensed milk, and draft Regulations were prepared to give effect to the recommendations of the Committee. It appeared, however, that there was no general agreement as to the standards to be fixed, and I therefore decided not to proceed with the Regulations. I am not aware of any sufficient reason for fixing a standard for dried milk, as there cannot be any misapprehension as to the degree of condensation of this product, and any adulteration can be dealt with under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act.

83. Mr. DOYLE

asked the Minister of Agriculture what quantities of machine-skimmed condensed milk were imported into this country during January, February, and March, 1922, and how that quantity compares with the corresponding months of 1921 and 1920; and whether he is aware that the continued importation of manufactures of low-grade condensed milk is inflicting much hardship upon the condensed milk industry of England, where little or no low-grade quality condensed milk is produced?

The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen)

The quantity of condensed (sweetened) separated or skimmed milk imported into the United Kingdom in the first three months of 1922 was 278,230 cwts., as compared with 157,112 cwts. in 1921 and 82,901 cwts. in 1920. The proportion of this which was machine-skimmed cannot be stated. I am aware that complaints have been made of the extent to which this grade of milk competes with the condensed milk industry in this country.