Opinion Number. 1786

Subject

TRADE DESCRIPTIONS: ‘BUTTER SPREAD’WHETHER THE WORD ‘BUTTER’ USED IN THE DESCRIPTION ‘BUTTER SPREAD’ CONSTITUTES A ‘FALSE TRADE DESCRIPTION’ WITHIN THE MEANING OF COMMERCE (TRADE DESCRIPTIONS) ACT 1905

Key Legislation

COMMERCE (TRADE DESCRIPTIONS) ACT 1905

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Commerce and Agriculture

I refer to your memoranda of the 5th and 12th August, 1946, (No. M. 45/7/3) requesting an opinion as to whether the word ‘butter’ used in the description ‘butter spread’1 constitutes a ‘false trade description’ within the meaning of that expression as defined in the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905–1933.

The relevant law is sufficiently set out in your memorandum of the 5th August.

The fact that the Regulations contain a specification with which the article known as ‘butter spread’ must comply if its export is to be permitted is not conclusive as to the question whether or not ‘butter spread’ is a ‘false trade description’ within the meaning of the Act mentioned. The matter must be considered in the light of the actual words used in the definition itself.

The term ‘butter spread’ is apparently a manufactured word which has been coined to describe a certain product of which butter is a constituent and which is intended for use in a manner similar to butter for spreading on another substance such as bread. To my mind the fact that a new word has been invented to describe this product is a clear indication that it is composed of a number of ingredients and the use of the word ‘butter’ in the new word is merely indicative of one of those ingredients. In my view, therefore, the inclusion of the word ‘butter’ in the term ‘butter spread’ does not, in relation to the substance known by that name, make ‘butter spread’ a false trade description within the meaning of the above-mentioned Act.

[Vol. 37, p. 288]

1 Statutory Rules 1946, No.107 inserted a definition of ‘butter spread’ in reg 5(1) of the Exports (Dairy Produce) Regulations.