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Volume 523: debated on Monday 1 February 1954

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asked the Minister of Food the minimum and maximum prices of margarine when this is taken off the ration book.

:On the removal of price control and the reintroduction of brands, margarine will be sold competitively at prices varying according to type and quality and the movement of world prices for oils and oilseeds.

:Cannot the right hon. and gallant Gentleman indicate the minimum or the maximum, or does he not intend to impose a maximum?

There will be no minimum and there will be no maximum when decontrol takes place, which, if I may say so, is a very good thing. There will be a margarine available at about the present price and of the present quality.


asked the Minister of Food what are the main oils used in the manufacture of margarine; their respective food values; to what extent vitamins are added in the course of manufacture; and if he will publish the respective nutritional merits of 1 lb. of standard margarine and butter, respectively.

:As the reply is necessarily rather technical and contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate the information in the Official Report.

:Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say what is likely to be the standard form of margarine available? Would he consider placing on the labels of these margarines some indication of their nutritional value, so that people may know exactly what they are buying?

:It is generally accepted that the fat and energy content of butter and margarine are about the same. After derationing, better quality margarine will be available and there will also be a margarine exactly the same as that used today, which is called the standard margarine. I have not considered the question of putting anything on the labels, but I will look into that matter.

:Are we to assume from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's answer that he intends margarine for the less well-to-do and butter for the more well-to-do, if the food values are the same?

Following is the information:

The main oils used in the manufacture of margarine are coconut, palm kernel, palm and groundnut oils, which are of similar food value. Margarine sold for domestic purposes contains 450–550 internationalunits of vitamin A, and 90 international units of vitamin D per ounce. Vitamins are not added to margarine used for manufacture.

The fat content and energy value of butter and margarine are almost the same. The vitamin content of butter varies with place of origin and season of production. An average vitamin A value is 14,000 international units per lb. compared with 8,000 in special margarine, and an average vitamin D value is 270 international units per lb. compared with 1,440 in special margarine.