HC Deb 02 February 1959 vol 599 cc18-9
27. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has now reached a decision on the quality standards to be applied to ice cream made in part from vegetable products as distinct from the wholly dairy product; and when the regulations will be laid before Parliament.

Mr. John Hare

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Minister of Health and I, having considered the representations made to us, have decided that ice cream containing vegetable or other non-dairy fat should be marked on the label or container with the words "made with vegetable fat" or "made with non-dairy fat". Revised proposals are being circulated for comment by interested organisations, but I hope to lay regulations before Parliament before the end of next month.

Mr. Hurd

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on having reached a decision upon this very knotty and difficult problem. Will he continue to take into account the public interest, so that everyone buying ice cream may know whether he is buying the genuine dairy product or something rather different, and ensure that the marking is very clear?

Mr. Hare

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. This is a complicated question, upon which very strong views are held on both sides of the House, irrespective of party. I have tried as fairly as I can to reach the best solution, and I think it is the one that I have just announced.

Mr. Hastings

In view of the amount of ice cream eaten by children, will the Minister, when framing these Regulations, insist upon a minimum vitamin content in the vegetable fat used, as is the case with margarine?

Mr. Hare

I shall certainly consider what the hon. Member says.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Under his decision will it be possible to label a product "ice cream" if it has no cream in it at all?

Mr. Hare

Yes, it will. These products have been known to the general public as ice cream for many years past.

Mr. Willey

Is the Minister satisfied that these Regulations will encourage the use of milk in ice cream?

Mr. Hare

I have been very anxious about that aspect of the matter. I believe that the Regulations are in the interest not only of the public in general but of the dairy industry.