HC Deb 03 April 1894 vol 22 cc1254-5

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is now able to announce the result of his consultation with the President of the Board of Trade in regard to American and foreign meat imports; and whether any steps will be taken by these Departments to enforce the laws framed to protect British producers and consumers from fraudulent trading?

MR. SEYMOUR KEAY (Elgin and Nairn)

At the same time, I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, having regard to the Report of a Committee of the House of Lords on the marking of foreign meat, Her Majesty's Government will take steps with the object of preventing the fraudulent practice of selling foreign meat as meal of home production, whereby great injustice is done to farmers, particularly to those in the North of Scotland?


In reply to the hon. Baronet, and to my hon. Friend the Member for Elgin, I would say that as the result of the best consideration we have been able to give to this matter, we have come to the conclusion that the law as it stands ought to be sufficient to prevent fraudulent misrepresentation as to origin in the case of meat, and what I would suggest is that home producers should utilise their various Organisations with a view to bring under the notice of my right hon. Friend cases in which there is evidence to show that the Merchandise Marks Acts have been infringed, or themselves take action in the same way as the Bacon Curer's Association have recently done so successfully. The Board of Trade have the power to prosecute in cases in which the general interests of a section of the community or of a trade are affected; but the Board of Trade cannot exercise this power unless they are moved to do so in specific instances.


Are these recommendations intended to apply to such feeders as the crofters of the Western Highlands and the farmers of Aberdeenshire?


There are such bodies as the Highland and Agricultural Society, which can take up the matter.