HC Deb 03 November 1958 vol 594 cc586-9
14. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has had concerning his intention to allow the sale of ice-cream which is devoid of milk fat; and whether he will bring forward regulations whereby substitutes for ice-cream shall use some other name.

15. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the anxiety on the part of farmers and others engaged in the milk industry in connection with the proposal to allow ice-cream to be so described, even when it contains no cream; if he will give further consideration to the representations which have been made to him on this matter by the industry; and if he will make a statement.

11. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to prevent the selling of ice-cream which contains no cream.

Mr. John Hare

I am at present considering the comments of the National Farmers' Unions and other interested parties on draft proposals for regulations governing the composition and description of ice-cream, and will make a statement in due course.

Dr. Stross

While thanking the Minister for his consideration of the question, will he bear in mind that we discussed this matter on the Report stage of the appropriate Bill a few years ago? We were all of us, in the House and in Committee, under the impression that steps were then being taken to ensure that the public should not be deceived and would always know what they were going to eat in this respect. Would he further bear in mind that farmers and small producers will think they are being very harshly treated unless the Minister takes appropriate action?

Mr. Hare

I have said already that I am giving careful thought to the various representations which have been made to me. I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is more than one side to this question.

Sir F. Medlicott

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the difficulty of finding a correct name is no reason for persisting in using a misleading name for this substance? Would he, in particular, draw the attention of the ice-cream trade to the possibility of reviving a popular and not entirely inappropriate description which was formerly used, namely, "hokey-pokey"?

Mr. Hare

That is a new suggestion. A large number of suggestions on this subject have been made to me, and I will include amongst them what my hon. Friend has said.

Mrs. Braddock

Will the Minister consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government about this matter? As it is apparent that any new regulations will have to be supervised by medical officers of health in local authorities, unless there is some specific way of understanding the types of ice-cream that are sold, it will be very difficult indeed for many officers of health throughout the country.

Mr. Hare

The hon. Lady has made a very pertinent point. She is absolutely right; this is not an easy question, and that is why I have to give the matter considerable consideration. I am grateful to her.

Mr. Gurden

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that cream has never been the sole ingredient of ice-cream, that this has usually been milk, and that if even half cream were used in genuine ice-cream its price would be double? May I further ask him to recognise that there are other forms of cream, namely, hand cream, shoe cream, face cream, furniture cream and, more particularly, salad cream, which often contains cream—

Mr. Speaker

We have had all this before.

Mr. Hare

I can answer that question shortly. What my hon. Friend has said points to what a complicated subject this is.

21. Captain Corfield

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will request the Food Standards Committee to publish reasons why it has now reversed the decision which it gave in July, 1950, to the effect that, in the long term, the description ice-cream should be restricted to a dairy product containing a high proportion of milk solids; and to state in what circumstances it would be prepared, once again, to reverse its decision on this matter.

Mr. John Hare

I will certainly bear my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion in mind.

22. Mr. D. Marshall

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps were taken by the Food Standards Committee, before issuing its recent report about ice-cream standards, to examine comparable legislation in the United States of America and other English-speaking countries under which it is forbidden to sell a product under the description of ice-cream if it is not made with butter fat.

Mr. John Hare

The Food Standards Committee informs me that it was aware of the relevant legislation in other English-speaking countries and took account of it in making its recommendations.

Mr. Marshall

Will my right hon. Friend make clear that he will consider all these matters which are being put before him, as he has not yet made up his mind on them?

Mr. Hare

I have already given an indication of my mind. A large number of representations have been made to me, and I shall consider them.

Forward to