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Liquid Milk

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will take action to reduce the price of liquid milk to the consumer; and what means are available to prevent skimmed milk being wasted.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir." No skimmed milk is being wasted now that the milk flush has passed.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary accept that if milk were cheaper the likelihood is that more would be consumed by the public, and that it would be for the benefit of the public if this were so?

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern. He will, no doubt, rejoice in the fact that the average consumption before the war was 2¾ pints per head and that it is now 4½ pints per head. Among the poorest section of the community the amount of milk consumed has been almost trebled.

Is not it true that in other countries—the Scandinavian ones and especially Holland—consumption of liquid milk is much higher than that?


asked the Minister of Food whether he estimates the present rate of liquid milk consumption as being the optimum; and what steps he intends to take so that the rate of consumption will increase.

The optimum rate of liquid milk consumption cannot be estimated in isolation from that of milk products, of the general national diet, or, more particularly, the diet of those whose need for milk is greater or less than the average.

All sections of the milk industry, acting jointly, have launched a publicity campaign to encourage the consumption of liquid milk.

That being so, what does the Ministry propose to do to assist? Does it propose to leave the matter purely to the industry or to give any specific assistance either by furthering the campaign or lowering the price of milk?

The hon. Gentleman will recall the transference of powers to the Milk Marketing Board that has taken place. The Ministry will give all the aid it can, though the responsibility now rests primarily on the Board.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary agree that the argument which he has previously advanced on this subject is valid, that because there was under-consumption of milk before the war we should be satisfied with the consumption today?

But the consumption of milk should be taken in relation to the consumption of other foods, and the consumption of other foods is. in many cases, up.

We had better not go into the biochemistry of food, but millk, important though it is, is not the only food which is of value to the human body.


asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to improve the hygienic production and transport of milk following the recommendations made at the meeting recently held in Denmark on behalf of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

The Milk and Dairies Regulations, 1949, and 1953, and the Milk (Special Designations) Regulations, 1949, 1950 and 1953, already give broad effect to the general recommendations made at this meeting.

Is the Minister aware that that is the first satisfactory answer we have heard this afternoon?