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Thursday, 1 December 1927

Senator ANDREW (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Markets and Migration, upon notice -

1.   Is the Government aware whether, owing to the absence of preservative in our unsalted butter exported overseas, it is found that on arrival at its destination the butter has deteriorated in quality?

2.   Will the Minister take the necessary steps to make representations to the Imperial Government with a view to an amendment of their regulationsso as to permit sufficient preservative to be put in the unsalted butter to ensure its being sold in the home market under the very best conditions?

SenatorCRAWFORD. - The answers to the honorable senator's questions are as follow : -

1.   Complaints have been received from London regarding the quality of certain of the first shipments of Victorian unsalted butter this season. When this butter was submitted for inspection prior to export the quality was regarded as very satisfactory. After these shipments had been made the samples retained showed slight defects, and action was taken by Commonwealth officers to withhold from shipment for observation all the unsalted portion of the consignments then in store, lt was discovered that deterioration also took place in connexion with certain of these consignments; hut as the outcome of experiments by Commonwealth officers in conjunction with factory managers, a method has been discovered which it is hoped will maintain the grade and quality of butter without the use of preservatives by increasing the lactic acid content of the cream.

2.   The Commonwealth Government is fully seized of the difficulties confronting Australian producers in connexion with the prohibition of importation into the United Kingdom of butter containing preservatives, and has during the past three years made frequent representations to the Imperial Government in connexion with the matter. The British Government, whilst not prepared to exempt butter containing preservatives from the terms of the prohibition, agreed to defer the enforcement of the embargo from 1st January, 1927, to 1st January, 1.02S, to enable producers in the Commonwealth and other parts of the Empire to take the necessary action to manufacture butter which would comply with the requirements of the British regulations. Only yesterday, in answer to further representations by the Commonwealth, the British Minister for Health stated that he regretted he was unable to contemplate any further postponement of the enforcement of the regulations.

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