HC Deb 03 April 1950 vol 473 cc845-6
18. Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

asked the Minister of Food from what countries the alcoholic liquor known as vodka, or vodka, is allowed to be imported and sold in the United Kingdom as vodka without some such qualification as French vodka; whether he is aware that most vodka for export has at all times been manufactured outside Russia in such countries as Latvia and Poland; that much of the manufacture in Western Europe is now being carried on by the original producers whose business in Latvia was confiscated; and whether he will modify the Labelling of Food Order, 1946, so as to permit all vodka to be sold as such.

Mr. S. N. Evans

Under the Labelling of Food Order, if the name used for a drink suggests that it comes from a particular country or area when, in fact, it comes from some other place, then the label must say so. The question how the Order applies to any particular drink is, of course, ultimately for the courts to decide; but subject to that my view is that vodka from a Western European country would have to be described on the label by an adjective indicating the country of origin. I do not think this requirement is unreasonable or that the Order need be amended.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary realise that the policy he is pursuing means that only vodka coming from a Communist origin can be so described and does he not agree that when exactly the same beverage can be manufactured in non-Communist countries it might be allowed to be sold as such?

Mr. De Chair

Is this vodka capable of penetrating an Iron Curtain?

Mr. Mikardo

Could my hon. Friend give an assurance that he will deal with all supplies of this liquor in the same way, whether they are described as "vodka" or as "wodka"?

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that in any case vodka made in France would have a label saying "Produce of France," and is that not sufficient descriptive differentiation? Is he not further aware that vodka is vodka, wherever it is made?

Mr. Evans

I would point out that this cuts two ways. It might be said that whisky is whisky, whatever its source of origin, but Scotch whisky producers would be very sorry if anybody could use the word "Scotch."

Mr. James Hudson

Would not the hon. Gentleman avoid all these difficulties about the label if he were to say honestly, on all the bottles, that they were poison?

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