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The year covered by the report starts in July, 1945, and ends in September, 1946. During this time the Council has had many complicated administrative tasks to perform because the period is the first almost complete year covering the changeover from war to peace. In July of last year the ice cream trade was in the middle of one of the most phenomenal sets of conditions in the whole of its varied existence. It will be remembered that 60 per cent. of the prewar usage of sugar and an allocation of shimmed milk powder was still available to the trade, but the quantities were relatively small compared with the enormous public demand for our product, and the ice cream trade had begun to attract the attention of unscrupulous speculators. Every effort was made by the Ministry of Food, who alone had the power to exert any regulation whatever, to prevent unauthorised persons from entering the trade. These efforts were not always successful, but the Association took whatever steps lay in its power to assist the Ministry to prevent firms who had never been in the trade before starling the manufacture and the sale of ice cream, to the detriment of the established trader who had been doing his very best against almost overwhelming obstacles. The loose interpretation of the right of a caterer to make and sell ice cream was for a long time a most difficult problem, but during the year the Ministry of Food Executive Officers have managed to curtail a great many of the unauthorised sales of ice cream which were taking place at points far distant from the caterer's premises when the product had been made with materials obtained under a catering licence. In many of the large cities this type of trade brought the whole industry into disrepute because various forms of ice cream were being sold to the public at fantastically high prices. The whole problem of the manufacture of ice cream has been the subject of discussions by the members of the Technical Advisory Committee, mainly on the subject of proposed standards of quality and bacteriological purity. The Executive Council is indebted to the painstaking efforts of the members of this Committee for their careful researches and many long discussions. The work undertaken by the Ministry of Food and the knowledge it has gained in dietetic values during the years of wartime feeding of the British population has been considered very carefully and the point of view of what constitutes the maximum nutrition in ice cream has altered from the prewar knowledge of rating the value of ice cream in accordance with the highest possible milk fats content. Professor Sir Jack Drummond, when he was the Nutritional Officer to the Ministry of Food, emphasised the need in the everyday diet of both children and adults, of the maximum amount of milk minerals and milk solids not fat. In normal times when ingredients are in free supply there is no difficulty with either children or grownups in obtaining plentiful supplies of fat, but almost all of the value of the milk solids not fat has been forgotten or else brought into disrepute following the laws which were passed many years ago compelling tins of condensed skimmed milk to be marked Unfit for Babies. The Technical Committee, taking all of these facts into consideration, has evolved a standard which has been agreed by the Executive Council and submitted to the Ministry of Food, designed to give the best type of ice cream, planned in such a way that the maximum amount of milksolidsnotfat can be included. This skimmed milk powder can be incorporated into the mix and still keep a reasonable quantity of fat, which in the Committee's opinion should consist only of milk fat. After the most careful research and discussions, having in mind the interest of the small trader who cannot install very elaborate machinery, it was agreed by the Committee that, when fresh dairy cream becomes available again, a minimum standard of milk fat in ice cream should be arranged to include the use of both fresh dairy milk and cream as well as enough skimmed milk powder to bring the total to a correct balance of ingredients which would freeze in the average type of freezer without becoming sandy or crystallised. There was a good deal of experience on which the Committee could base its findings, obtained from the use of the standards put into force by the Government of Northern Ireland before the war these were not fully balanced and required some adjustment. Negotiations on the question of the standard between Ice Cream Alliance and the Wholesale Ice Cream Manufacturers' Federation were conducted at great length and the different points of view were examined with the utmost care. It has been found, however, that the proposals by the different Associations cannot be reconciled to form one standard common to the best interest of the members of both Associations. The Ice Cream Alliance has been safeguarding the welfare of the general public and thereby the future trade of its members, and it has insisted that the minimum standards which its Technical Committee has recommended should not be varied in principle to comply with the somewhat wider interpretation of the Wholesale Federation. One point upon which the Technical Committee lays great stress is that the tests for the standard should always be conducted by sampling the finished ice cream as delivered to the consumer, and not the ice cream mix as made in the factory. This would place definite limitations on the amount of overrun which could be permitted and would prevent any ice cream manufacturer, regardless of his type of machinery, from giving a smaller quantity of fat or milk solids to the consumer, than his competitor who might have less elaborate and expensive machinery. It has, of course, been made clear that all questions relating to a standard for ice cream refer not to the present period of emergency, with its substitute ingredients, but to the time when all ingredients can be purchased free of any restriction by every ice cream manufacturer. There is no doubt that if it were possible to evolve a standard of substitute ingredients it would be of the greatest advantage to the trade, but this cannot be done until the right ingredients, namely skimmed milk powder, fat and sugar are made available to every member of the trade in equal proportions. Your Executive Council has approached the Minister of Food on various occasions seeking an interview to put these points before him and to emphasise the need for better and more consistent supplies of the right types of materials so that ice cream can be made worthy of its name by all manufacturers. It is also anxious to remove the difference in the allocations as between the larger manufacturer who receives 70 per cent. of his datum usage of fat and the ice cream trader who made his product in prewar days only from fresh milk, and who is now prohibited from making an ice cream for consumption with more than about 2 per cent. fat. The serious world position and shortage of food materials has, of course, worked against this project, and until there is some easing of the supply of raw materials for better distribution within the world as a whole, the British Government has found it is unable to provide supplies of the right ingredients. Your Chairman and Executive Council are, however, using every effort to bring about the desirable situation as quickly as possible. In recent months there had been major disasters to the trade which had been caused by the outbreak of typhoid fever conveyed through carriers of this disease to members of the general public through the medium of ice cream. These outbreaks have led to a tremendous amount of wrongful reporting in the daily Press and the many quite unjustified allegations against both the ice cream traders and the Local Government officials, particularly the Sanitary Inspectors and Medical Officers of Health, who are responsible for the interpretation of the 1938 Food and Drugs Act controlling the registration of ice cream manufacturing premises, and who have worked very hard to help both the trade and the public. It must be agreed that many ice cream manufacturers have been working without very much knowledge of the responsibilities of their trade and under enormous handicaps, due to the dilapidations caused by six years of war and their inability to have building work and decorations carried out to make their small factories suitable for the manufacture of ice cream. These years of war have also led to a much greater wear and tear on ice cream plant than would normally have been the case, because the trade has had to put up with flour instead of skimmed milk powder even before it was shut down in 1942. Deterioration and rust during the shut down period from September, 1942, until December, 1944, was even greater than if the plant had been in constant use even with substitute materials. The result has been that many ice cream traders have been faced with enormous difficulties of plant renewals at a time when machinery is unobtainable, with the result that unhygienic vessels and utensils have had to be kept in service, which in the ordinary way would have been scrapped many years ago. The Alliance is taking every step possible with the other Associations that manufacture plant equipment and utensils, to improve supplies to those who need the articles, but here again supplies of raw materials to the machinery equipment manufacturers are growing worse and worse. It is because of this situation that in the negotiations with the Ministry of Health regarding the compulsory heat treatment programme the greatest latitude is being requested so that no regulations would be brought into force until the trade is in a position to comply with them without undue hardship. We would like to record our appreciation to the other Associations who have expressed their willingness to collaborate with us for the good of the trade as a whole.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1946
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