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Strawberries (Vitamins)

Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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asked the Minister of Food how much vitamin C is present in fresh strawberries; and how muchis left in strawberry jam of the full fruit standard after the pulp has been impregnated with sulphur dioxide and stored until the mash is boiled to remove brown discolouration.

:The average vitamin C content of fresh strawberries is 256 milligrams per lb. That of mashed, sulphited, stored pulp depends largely on factors other than the addition of sulphur dioxide, which helps to preserve vitamin C. The vitamin C content of jam made from such pulp cannot, therefore, be stated precisely.

:The Minister is not being fair to the House in that answer. He has not taken into account the prolonged boiling to which the mash has to be subjected in order to get rid of the sulphur discolouration. Cannot he show in what way this pulp deteriorates in vitamin C? When shall we get back to pre-war practice and forbid this preservative altogether?

:The hon. Member has me on very weak ground in this matter, which is a very technical one, but I understand that sulphur dioxide helps to preserve vitamin C, and that all cooking processes result in a loss of from 50 per cent. to 75 per cent. of vitamin C.

In view of that reply, in which the Minister stated that from 50 per cent. to 75 per cent. of vitamin C disappears in boiling, will he not put a stop to this fraud on the public?

I do not think that jam is a very good source of vitamin C. The best source is the fresh fruit which is available.