HC Deb 24 March 1938 vol 333 cc1376-7
66. Viscountess Astor

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Food Council in its recent report condemned the waste of 6,500,000 gallons of skimmed milk; and, in view of the stress laid upon its value as a nutritive food by the advisory committee on nutrition, what action is he contemplating to avoid this waste in future?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I am aware of the statement to which the Noble Lady refers, although the estimate of gallonage should, in my opinion, be accepted with reserve. The supply of skimmed milk is inconstant, since it depends upon the varying quantities of whole milk available for manufacture into butter and cream, and it is in greatest supply when the overflow of whole milk from the liquid market is largest. Moreover, many manufacturers have no facilities for converting skimmed milk into a product which can be conveniently stored, handled and transported. Even those manufacturers who are so equipped have difficulty on occasions in finding outlets for all the skimmed milk left from their manufacturing operations, and, for the others, the problem is largely one of finding a steady sale for a highly fluctuating quantity and no satisfactory solution has yet been found.

Viscountess Astor

Is it not the case that the Milk Marketing Board refuse to allow this skimmed milk to be sold? That is their policy. Are they not thereby depriving thousands of children and other people of the benefit of this skimmed milk?

Mr. Morrison

That is not quite true. The Milk Marketing Board do not pay rebates on skimmed milk when sold by the purchaser for liquid consumption, as the purchaser would get almost as much for skimmed milk as he paid for whole milk, and the board would thereby be subsidising the sale of skimmed milk to the detriment of their own producers. What we want is that people shall drink whole milk, and not skimmed milk.