Orders of the Day — Food (Weights and Measures)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14 December 1949.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire 12:00, 14 December 1949

I know that the House has other business and I will not detain it long. The purpose of these regulations is simply to include under Schedule I of the Sale of Food (Weights and Measures) Act, 1926, additional products. I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary one question and to make one or two comments. I should like to ask which bodies he has consulted? Section 9 of the Act lays him under an obligation to consult with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and such interests as appear to him to be concerned. Perhaps he might be good enough to divide his answer to deal separately with farinaceous products and dried fruit.

My second point is that among the articles which are included in Part III of the Schedule are farinaceous products. It so happens that some of those products are manufactured and packed by the same manufacturers or packers who pack products already included in Part III. The "bulk" of those products happens to be different from the "bulk" of the products already included in Part III in that the former articles take up either more or less space than the latter. In fact what happens is that the manufacturers order one type of package for both types of product and, because one of the products has to be packed with a certain net weight, the other product must, of course, because the bulk is different, have a different net weight. The Act as it exists at present imposes the necessity of products included in Schedule I, being packed in multiples of two or four or six or eight ounces, and if packers are to comply with the Act that means that an entirely fresh set of packaging material, and fresh machinery for filling and labelling will have to be ordered.

I wonder whether the Minister is aware of that, and whether that has been taken into account by the Board of Trade and what representations have been made about it. It seems wrong that at this time we should call upon manufacturers or packers to divert their capital into the purchase of new forms of machinery merely to comply with this Act. I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman would be good enough to say what representations have been made.