HC Deb 13 March 1950 vol 472 cc743-4
44. Mr. Somerville Hastings

asked the Minister of Food whether he will make regulations designating two or more qualities of ice cream according to fat content, so that the public may have knowledge of the food value of the article purchased.

Mr. Webb

I am afraid that shortage of ingredients still makes it impossible to introduce a satisfactory single standard for ice cream without seriously reducing supplies to the public. The expert Food Standards Committee, which advises me on such problems, has considered the possibility of fixing two standards; but after consulting the trade and the local authority associations they felt that the lower standard, to which most of the manufacturers would have had to conform, would not have a good enough food value. In the circumstances, the Committee recommended that the introduction of standards should be deferred until an improvement in the supply of rationed ingredients made it possible to prescribe a satisfactory minimum standard.

Mr. Hastings

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that whereas some of the better-known brands of ice cream contain 8 per cent. of fat, the inferior brands contain less than 2 per cent., and there is no means by which the public can distinguish whether they are being cheated or not? Cannot he do something in this way to prevent this cheating of the public?

Mr. Webb

That is very well realised, and we are looking at the problem. I hope that before very long my hon. Friend will be satisfied about it.

Mrs. Castle

Does my right hon. Friend's reply mean that a considerable quantity of ice cream now being sold is unsatisfactory? In view of the high price charged for ice cream, would it not be better to reduce the quantity and to see that it is of good nutritional value?

Mr. Webb

As I never eat ice cream myself, but regard it as a most innocuous dish, I cannot make any personal comment on what is supplied, but if any hon. Member has any views about the matter, I shall be glad to consider them. As I have already said, we are looking at this problem and, in due course, I hope that it will be put right.