INTERMEDIATE EDUCATION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1924. - DAIL IN COMMITTEE.

In this Act—
the expression "the Minister" means the Minister for Lands and Agriculture;
the word "butter" means the substance usually known as butter, made exclusively from milk or cream, or both, with or without salt or other preservative, and with or without the addition of colouring matter;
the expression "creamery business" means the business of manufacturing butter from cream which has been separated by means of centrifugal force mechanically applied from the commingled milk supplies of a number of cow-keepers;
the expression "creamery butter" means butter which has been manufactured in premises registered in the register of creameries and has not been subsequently blended or re-worked;
the expression "cream-separating business" means the business of separating cream by means of centrifugal force mechanically applied from the commingled milk supplies of a number of cow-keepers;
the expression "mechanically applied" means applied by machinery driven by any motive power other than human or animal power;
the expression "butter factory" means premises on which by way of trade butter is blended, re-worked, or subjected to any other treatment, but not so as to cease to be butter;
the expression "register kept in pursuance of this Act" means a register which the Minister keeps or causes to be kept pursuant to this Act and does not include a register kept by a registered proprietor; the word "manufacture" when used in relation to the manufacture of butter on premises registered in the register of manufacturing exporters includes the blending or the re-working of butter or both such blending and re-working;
the word "inspector" includes any person authorised (either generally or for a special purpose) by the Minister to exercise all or any of the powers and perform all or any of the duties conferred and imposed on an inspector by this Act;
the expression "dairy produce" includes any article of human food made wholly or mainly from milk or the products or bye-products of milk;
the word "package" includes any box, case, kiel, keg, firkin, or other receptacle containing or capable of containing butter for transport, and, where the context so requires, includes the contents of such receptacle;
the word "wrapper" includes any paper, folder, carton or case used for packing or wrapping a piece of butter;
the word "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made under this Act.

I move amendment 1:—

In Section 2, page 3, lines 36 and 43, after the word "cow-keepers" in each case to add the words "or the business of manufacturing butter from cream which has been separated by means of centrifugal force at the place of production of the milk and delivered at the place of manufacture in a fresh condition and which complies with special regulations to be made by the Minister in regard to this method of manufacture."

The Minister is aware that there are several amendments down dealing with this matter. I suppose we will have to deal with them as we come to them. My object in putting down this amendment is to allow a certain class of butter-manufacturing business in this country to be included in the category of creameries and to allow them to use the word "creamery" in connection with the product which they manufacture. The matter was very fully discussed at the Special Committee and I do not know if it is necessary to go into all the questions which we went into at that Committee. I have given the matter a good deal of thought both then and since, and I am still inclined to think that it would be to the advantage of the creamery business of this country if such a class of factory were included in the category. I refer to factories where the milk, which is separated at the farms by means of hand separators, is brought in and pasteurised. Sometimes the cream is actually mixed with the milk and I think should be mixed with the milk. It is separated and then manufactured into butter. As the Bill stands at present, according to the definition clause, such factories would not be entitled to label their product "creamery butter" and it would have to go to the outside market labelled as "factory butter." It is well known that factory butter, on the average, commands a much lower price than creamery butter. I think it may be said that factory butter is something like £1 per cwt. lower in price than creamery butter. There is, as least, one business of that kind carried on in this country and that business has been producing as good a product as any creamery in the country. It will inflict the gravest possible hardship on that business if they are not permitted to use the word "creamery."

There is another important aspect of the question and that is the future of the Irish dairy business. What would be the tendency in the development of that business? I am inclined to think that if such businesses are forbidden to use the word "creamery" in regard to their product, it will have the effect of curtailing what I believe will be their natural development. There are many parts of the country where the ordinary creamery business cannot be carried on. The reason for that is obvious. The supply of milk available is not sufficient to warrant the establishment of an ordinary creamery. There is a certain minimum supply required and except that minimum supply is available within reasonable distance of a creamery, such a creamery on the ordinary lines of milk-gathering cannot be established. I think it would be a mistake to hinder or put any obstacles in the way of establishing what I consider to be the next best thing—that is creameries where the cream is manufactured into butter from the cream gathered from farms. I do acknowledge that such butter runs the chance of not being quite as good as butter manufactured in the creameries as they are at present but I do think that, with proper regulation and strict regulation and with the cream collected daily from the farmers—with such regulations by the Department and with strict regulations by the factories themselves with regard pasteurisation and re-separation of the cream, commingled with a certain quantity of new milk, butter of a very high quality could be made in those factories. The point I want to emphasise most is, that if you prohibit by the Act those creameries from calling their product "creamery butter" you will injure them so badly that the whole tendency of development in that direction will be checked or stopped altogether, with the result that you will crystallise the present system of making butter on the farms. I am not an advocate of maintaining or crystallising that system, because I do not think you can make satisfactory butter on the farm as a regular thing. I do know that excellent butter can be made on the farm, but I do know, too, that very bad butter is often made on a farm. It is well known that when that farm butter goes into the shops and is put on the counter it appears to be fresh and in excellent condition, but in the course of a week that butter is quite unfit for human consumption. I think we should, where farmers cannot establish creameries, give them the chance of establishing the next best thing. The next best thing, in my opinion, is the cream-gathering factory. I think we ought to give those factories the right to apply the word "creamery" to their products.

Mr. HOGAN

It may shorten discussion if I state what we propose to do in connection with the points that Deputy Heffernan has dealt with. There are two sides to every question. Unfortunately, as I am in charge of the Bill, I must weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and decide whether the balance is with the advantages or the disadvantages. Deputy Heffernan is in a different position. He can afford to treat of only one side of the case and leave it at that. We all realise the case for the particular type of institution which he mentioned, namely, an institution that gathers cream and makes butter out of it. There is a strong case on the one side, but the question is: Is there a stronger case on the other? I do not intend to state that now. We debated that in the Special Committee, and probably everybody here who is interested in the subject knows the merits of the case. Deputy Heffernan has an amendment, No. 14, in which he provides for a special register for cream-gathering institutions, and I take it that what he is definitely standing for now is that every cream-gathering institution should have the right to the use of the term "creamery butter"in saecula saeculorum.

Well, I would not state in saecula saeculorum, but while the Dáil is here.

Mr. HOGAN

I see. Not for ever, but while the Dáil is in existence.

The Minister misunderstands me. We can always pass legislation to take away the use of the word "creamery."

Mr. HOGAN

Well, the provision we have inserted to meet this case is as follows. We are establishing an additional register, and we call the creameries which are registered in it manufacturing exporters, so that each particular institution need not be under the necessity of submitting to the indignity of calling themselves butter factories; they can call themselves by a separate name, namely, manufacturing exporters. We have provision for that in the amendment, and, in addition, in amendment No. 53 there is the following provision:—

The Minister may if and when during three years from the passing of this Act the special circumstances of the case justify him in so doing, grant to the registered proprietor of any particular premises registered in the register of manufacturing exporters a licence to use the word "creamery" in relation to such premises, and any such licence may be granted subject to such conditions and for such time (not extending beyond three years from the passing of this Act) and may be revoked as and when the Minister thinks proper.

That is to say, there is power in the Bill to allow any premises registered in the register of manufacturing exporters to use the term "creamery butter" in connection with the butter which they produce, and the difference between Deputy Heffernan and myself is that we only take that power for three years, and he apparently wants to introduce it into the Bill and to have it until such time as the Dáil thinks of a different method. I do not intend to go into the merits of the case. We have discussed them at great length in Committee, and there is no occasion to discuss them again. I do point out that that gets over the most important hardship. It enables a particular institution to use the term "creamery" for three years: that is to say, to use the word "creamery" for such a time as is adequate to earn the national brand, and consequently establish themselves. That was the real grievance, that if we pass this Bill suddenly they have to refrain from using the term "creamery." They would immediately begin to lose a certain amount of money because they would not be able to use that term, and great hardship would be caused thereby. This enables us to allow them to use the term for three years, and at the end of this time we will be better judges of possible developments than we are now. Meanwhile, there is no harm done.

As I see it, there are four alternatives before us. I think that perhaps the best thing would be to discuss the origin of this amendment. I appreciate the Minister's idea, and the objection I see to it is that it gives the Ministry the power to grant the use of the word "creamery" to the lowest cream-gathering businesses. I was rather inclined to take the other view of it: that it should not be the case of the Ministry having the power and the right to grant the use of the word "creamery," that these businesses should have the right to use the word "creamery," on their products, provided they met with regulations and requirements. The objection I see to this is, that it may be said that the Ministry has shown favour. I do not believe that they do so, but it may be said that they would show favour and that they would grant the right to use the word "creamery" here that they would not grant in another place. My idea is that if one place can come up to the Minister's requirements and be entitled to use the word "creamery" I do not see why other places should not be able to come up to the Minister's requirements also. I have an alternative amendment which establishes a fourth classification, but it is only an alternative to be used if my first is turned down. I am not very definitely bound to these amendments. I may say that I have not given a great deal of thought to them, and have some doubt about them, but I think it better to allow these people the use of the word "creamery," provided they comply with the regulations. I do not want to press the matter too hard, but I would like to hear the view of some other Deputies on this matter.

I feel that, whether, fortunately or otherwise, I am on the side of the Minister on this occasion. I take it that the idea in the mind of the Minister in trying to hedge round the term "creamery butter" with certain safeguards is to secure that it shall stand for a very high standard of quality, and he defines a certain process to secure that, that is to say, in the creameries which are defined as such in the Bill milk is delivered daily straight from the cow, whereas in the cases of the cream-gathering stations the cream may have been kept over a number of days on the premises of the farmer who separated the milk, and, as Deputy Heffernan pointed out, there have been circumstances where the butter manufactured on such premises has not been up to a high standard, a standard that would justify something even less than a standard of creamery butter. The cream may be separated in a house which may be clean or unclean; in a separator which is clean or unclean, or stored in a place which is similarly situated, and there would be a very, very serious difference in the circumstances affecting the gathering of such cream from the circumstances where the creamery butter was a result of daily supplies of material fresh from the cow. The Minister has indicated that he has taken certain powers under this Bill to grant licences to such cream-gathering stations to use the term "creamery." I hope that he will be very cautious. I have had put before me within the past week or so the circumstances of the particular institution that Deputy Heffernan has in mind, and possibly it would be a great hardship to them if they were deprived of the use of the word "creamery." But the question is: does that term stand for a certain quality of butter made under particular circumstances, and does this institution to which Deputy Heffernan refers comply with these conditions? It is not the immediate result, the quality that is established as a result of the immediate examination, but all the other things that enter into and make for a certain definition as to what "creamery" is. I think that the Minister is right in his attitude on this amendment. I have considerable doubts as to whether he is right in his idea which is expressed in amendment 53.

When we were in Committee I moved an amendment with a view to having this matter discussed, and I stated then that I was in doubt as to the merits of the proposition that cream gathered from houses and sent to a creamery should be considered within the limits of the term "creamery"; that the word "creamery" should not be applied to an institution which gathers cream and makes butter therefrom. I was in doubt then. I am not so much in doubt now. I am convinced that at the present stage it would be undesirable to allow freedom to creameries to gather cream from the suppliers for the purpose of mixing with whole milk or with other cream, and making butter therefrom and allowing it to be called "creamery butter." We must have in mind all the time that creamery butter is a name, and the term "creamery" commands a certain goodwill. The object of the Bill is to increase the value of that goodwill, and it is intended to impose stricter limitations upon creameries and to prevent the use of the word "creamery" unless the butter is made under specified conditions. Now, I am convinced that at the present stage in the development of the butter-making and the milk-producing industry in this country that there is a certain risk attaching to allowing the cream-gathering practice to develop, and the use of the term "creamery butter" allowed to such institution. Notwithstanding that I believe that we should look forward to a time when the farming practices will have improved and when the practice of separating milk in the farm, provided that farm is well equipped and has a clean dairy, may be a development we should encourage rather than discourage. I do not think that time has arrived, and, in my opinion, the Minister's proposition is the best way to meet the possibilities of that future development, and yet to safeguard the immediate interests of the creamery system. While saying that I am inclined to think the Minister should alter the terms of his own proposition. I am not sure that three years is long enough, because the value of the national brand as a marketable proposition will not have established itself by then, and such creameries as are at present using the word "creamery" as applied to butter, although they are gathering cream at the farmhouses, will not have been able to replace the national brand, at least the value of the national brand will not have been able to replace the loss of value attached to the deprivation of the use of the word "cremery." I suggest that is a possibility—that within three years the value of the national brand will not have increased the value of the butter sufficiently to meet the loss which would be occasioned by a well-conducted cream-gathering factory if it were obliged to renounce the use of the word "creamery."

Mr. HOGAN

What period do you suggest?

The Minister has spoken of three years. I am inclined to think five years would be better, provided the Minister has the power to revoke. The Minister will see when I am finished that it is not a matter of three or five years, provided he has not only the power to revoke, but the power to extend, if within three years it has been found there has been such an improvement in the conduct of farmhouses and dairying generally— that the farmhouses which are separating their own milk would be able to pass any test, and that, therefore, the cream gathered for use in the creamery would justify the continued use of the word "creamery." We should not insist on the revocation of such licences at the end of that time. I suggest we should retain for the Minister under the Bill not merely the power to revoke, but also the power to extend the period of those licences. It may be that the tendency in the country will be towards home-separating, and, notwithstanding the arguments that have been used now, and the arguments that we heard in Committee, I believe if it were found practicable it would be a beneficial thing for cream to be separated in the farmhouse. It would not be entirely beneficial to the marketing-value of the butter, but I think it would be beneficial to the country, to the homes of the farmers, and their labourers. I think you would have a better chance of having a bigger supply of milk for home consumption. In a general way it is a desirable tendency, and if it could be effected under hygienic conditions and with efficient and cleanly work on the farm we should not utterly destroy it. Consequently I suggest to the Minister that while I think his proposition meets the immediate needs, we should still retain the power to extend the period beyond three years, and perhaps to consider even fixing five years.

There are two questions, so far as this matter is concerned, two distinct questions. One is what I may call, if the phrase does not offend anyone, the vested interests of those who are already using the word "creamery." Undoubtedly they will be very hard hit in their trade before the national brand establishes itself, and, therefore, that may be regarded, if they are capable of fulfilling the conditions, as a reasonable and equitable substitute for the use of the word "creamery." The other is the question of future development. As Deputy Johnson stated, future development may be on the lines of gathering cream and making butter. So far as these two problems are concerned, and taking, as we must take, the present position of our knowledge in the matter, I must say that the Minister's proposed amendments meet the case much more safely than the amendment which we are now discussing. So far as the term "use" is concerned, I must say that under Amendment No. 51 I did think that the term of use was generous. I was rather surprised to see the Minister so readily grant three years. Three years gives first of all, an opportunity for the national brand to establish itself—a fair principle, it seems to me, if it is going to establish itself, and, secondly, a principle for the Minister who is then in office to consider on what lines development is likely to take place. After three years it should not be difficult for some satisfactory development to take place along the lines that it is sought to legislate for in Amendment No. 1, namely, cream-gathering institutions. It should be possible to amend that by legislation rather than by means of the experiment fancied by Deputy Johnson. Against the actual amendment on the Order Paper, I think this is rather dangerous. Deputy Heffernan says that he sees no reason why, on the average, these institutions should not produce satisfactory butter. On the average they will, but that is not the aim of the Bill. The aim of the Bill is to secure butter that is uniformly good. I suggest to Deputy Heffernan that it would not be well to press this particular amendment.

I am not desirous of pressing the amendment too far; but there are certain obstacles which I see involved in the Minister's intentions. Deputy Johnson has made the matter a little bit easier, and I think that the Minister should consider his suggestion. I am not concerned so much with vested interests, but I am concerned with future developments. I think the result of this would be to stop future developments, as people will not establish these cream-gathering institutions or factories if they are afraid that at the end of three years the right to use them will be taken away. It will simply stop all development along these lines. It is well known to the Minister, and probably to many Deputies, that some of the best butter coming into the London market is made on this system. I believe that a large portion of New Zealand butter is made on this system, and it is made under conditions which would not be as good as ours. A great deal of the cream is gathering for long periods, and is made into butter, having been specially treated by having acidity removed. If my suggestion were adopted, the cream would be gathered in a fresh condition, and, that being so, I see no reason why the butter made in these factories should not be as good as that made in other creameries;

At the same time, I do not want to stand too hard by my amendment, but I think the Minister might meet it in another way by extending the time. I do not think that the developments which Deputy Johnson suggests in regard to farmhouses are feasible, as I do not believe that first-class butter can be made in farmhouses, as it would require pasteurisation, and I do not believe that you can have that on the farms. I would suggest that the Minister should reconsider his amendment and proceed along the lines suggested by Deputy Johnson. I admit that I feel inclined to argue a bit against myself, because I do see difficulties about it. Some factories might not make a good quality of butter, but that might be got over by the enforcement of stringent regulations.

Mr. HOGAN

I am not in the same position as Deputies Johnson, Heffernan and O'Sullivan. Deputy Heffernan stated that the three years' limit would prevent new creameries of that kind springing up. I was trying to obviate an immediate hardship with regard to existing institutions. If you consider Deputy Heffernan's suggestion it might mean that a number of creameries, which are fully fledged and quite orthodox, might collect a little cream and say that they are entitled to do it. It might mean, and it is thought very likely, that there will be no more new cream-gathering institutions springing up, but that orthodox creameries will collect cream and say that they are entitled to do it. They will say, "If so-and-so who are registered manufacturers and exporters have a right to make butter because they collect 20 per cent. milk and 80 per cent cream, why should we not have all the advantages of a creamery, considering that we collect 90 per cent. milk and 10 per cent. cream?" I do not contemplate that within three years any new institutions of that kind will spring up. There are one or two existing institutions, and I want to give them fair play for three years, and give the Department of Agriculture a chance of considering the matter for that period in the light of changing conditions and the new experience which we will get as a result of this Bill. From that point of view I would be against Deputy Johnson's amendment.

The Minister will, I think, confirm what I say, when I say that I have rather contemplated the possibility, if not under this Bill, under some future Bill, that he will take powers to examine farmhouses and the places where the milk is produced. If that were done, then I say it would be quite a desirable development. My only doubt in the matter as to the merit of this cream-gathering system arises from the fact that I know that the conditions in many farmhouses at present are not very satisfactory, but if one could ensure, before granting any licence, that the conditions are such as to warrant certificates of good care and good methods, I say that then it would be a desirable procedure to adopt for the good health of the country to encourage the cream-gathering system rather than the mere centralising system. I would hope that within three years we would arrive at a stage where the Minister would be bold enough to examine the methods of milk production in the farmhouses and the facilities for separating.

Mr. HOGAN

I am not at one with the Deputy there. It reduces itself to this. We all agree that the immediate development of that system, namely, that existing creameries should start gathering cream is bad. We all agree that it would be bad to do injustice to existing institutions. Thirdly, it is agreed that during the next three years we should watch the developments of farmhouses with regard to this Bill, and if the developments are such as to justify us in this expense, this particular provision would be considered. We are in a totally different position now, inasmuch as we will have the Dáil sitting here always. Formerly three Dairy Bills went to the British Parliament and were crowded out. There was not time to consider them. It is always easier to deal with those matters by legislation than by a contentious order.

Would there be any likelihood of adopting the principles of unification in this particular industry? I think Deputy Johnson suggested the idea of centralisation, and possibly unification.

I was glad to hear the Minister making the remark about the Dáil being here, about the passing of Bills and the bringing forward of complaints. That is one of the things people down the country who have criticised this Bill do not know. They have not recognised that the Dáil is here and if there are any complaints that they can come to me or any Deputy and get their complaints aired in the Dáil and have legislation passed here. If that fact were recognised we would have less criticism of a certain type.

The Deputy has already made three speeches.

There are so many amendments on this particular subject.

You will have other opportunities.

Mr. HOGAN

This is easily the most important point in the Bill, and perhaps it might save time later if the Deputy were allowed to proceed. It rules five or six other amendments.

The Minister, instead of waiting for, should encourage the development of this kind of business.

Mr. HOGAN

What development?

The cream gathering factory.

Mr. HOGAN

It is more likely to be the other way about.

I say that the Minister's obstacle may possibly have the effect of causing creameries already orthodox to change to this cream gathering system. In view of the fact that that is a possible development I do not wish to force forward any change which might have that effect. Therefore, with the leave of the House, I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Would the Minister inform us which amendments are hanging on this?

Mr. HOGAN

Fourteen, fifteen and fifty-three are the principal amendments.

Are those amendments dropped now?

Mr. HOGAN

No. But this will enable people to say less when we come to them.

I move amendment 2:—

In Section 2, page 3, to insert after line 49, the following paragraph:—"the expression `butter factory business' means the business of blending and re-working butter or subjecting butter to any other treatment but not such as would cause it to cease to be butter."

It is merely a definition of the expression "butter factory business."

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move to report progress.

Agreed.