HC Deb 04 August 1904 vol 139 c963
MR. ALFRED DAVIES (Carmarthen Boroughs)

To ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board if he can state the various methods by which decomposition is arrested in meat from abroad to our shores, and if he is aware that boric acid or boracic acid is frequently injected into the carcases of animals for export at the time of killing, and that experiments have been tried, with the result that on arrival carbonate of soda is found to effervesce upon the meat so treated; and whether he has any official reports on the effect of partaking of boric or boracic acid upon human beings; and, if so, will he lay them upon the Table.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) I understand that the ordinary methods by which decomposition is prevented or arrested in meat coming from abroad are (1) cold storage, (2) salting, with or without drying, and (3) preservation in cans. According to the evidence given before the Departmental Committee on Food Preservatives, borax and boric acid (which is called boracic acid) are largely used for the preservation of bacon, ham, sausages, and other preserved meats, but not by means of injection into carcases of animals at the time of killing. No evidence appears to have been given to show that carcases of butchers' meat are preserved in this way. I have no information as to the alleged experiments, nor have any reports been made to me on the effect of partaking of boric or boracic acid upon human beings. The hon. Member is probably aware of the Report of the Departmental Committee to which I have referred. It has been laid before Parliament.