Peer once ate a biscuit that was 20 years old… and insists it tasted fine 

Lord Palmer, whose family used to own the Huntley & Palmers biscuit company, told peers he once ate a 'perfectly edible' 20-year-old biscuit

Lord Palmer, whose family used to own the Huntley & Palmers biscuit company, told peers he once ate a 'perfectly edible' 20-year-old biscuit

Lord Palmer, whose family used to own the Huntley & Palmers biscuit company, told peers he once ate a ‘perfectly edible’ 20-year-old biscuit

The House of Lords has – on occasion – been accused of exceeding its sell-by date.

But for one peer that’s not the way the cookie crumbles.

Lord Palmer, whose family used to own the Huntley & Palmers biscuit company, told peers he once ate a ‘perfectly edible’ 20-year-old specimen.

The crossbench hereditary peer claimed sell-by dates were ‘far too cautious’ as he raised concerns about food waste.

He added: ‘My father always believed that when it came to non-sweet biscuits, such as those to go with cheese, it didn’t matter how old they were.’

Environment minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond said he did not believe he had eaten a biscuit that old but ‘would not be afraid of doing so’.

Lord Palmer later revealed the snack had been a ‘butter shortie’ shortbread biscuit.

He added: ‘There were no such things as sell-by dates when I grew up.’

Huntley & Palmers was one of the first global companies and ran what was once the world’s largest biscuit factory. The business was sold to Nabisco in 1984.

In 2017 conservators found a 106-year-old fruitcake made by the company among the artefacts at Cape Adare in Antarctica.

Lord Palmer later revealed the snack had been a 'butter shortie' shortbread biscuit (file photo)

Lord Palmer later revealed the snack had been a 'butter shortie' shortbread biscuit (file photo)

Lord Palmer later revealed the snack had been a ‘butter shortie’ shortbread biscuit (file photo)

It is believed to have been part of the rations of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition in 1910 to 1913.

Captain Scott left England for the Antarctic in 1910 armed with Huntley & Palmers biscuits, some of which were made for the expedition.

In 2011, a 104-year-old Huntley and Palmers biscuit taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton on his Antarctic expedition in 1907 sold for £1,250 at auction.

In response to Lord Palmer’s comments, Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith of Richmond said he did not believe he had eaten a biscuit that old but ‘would not be afraid of doing so’.

The Tory frontbencher highlighted steps being taken by the Government to cut food waste, which he said would help tackle climate change and the natural world.

Lord Palmer, who said he had been involved in the food industry ‘all of my walking life’, said: ‘I am sure one of the main problems is that the sell-by dates on products are far too cautious.

‘I remember once eating a biscuit that was 20 years old. It was perfectly edible.’

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