HC Deb 28 February 1905 vol 141 c1457

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a master butcher in Ealing recently purchased a number of pigs in the Central Meat Market, Smithfield, London, E.C., which he was informed were Norfolk pigs, slaughtered at Islington Market where they would undergo examination in the ordinary course, and having purchased these pigs at top market price they were delivered at Ealing, where the inspector condemned two heads as being affected with tuberculosis, as a result a summons is now pending with a view to secure a criminal conviction; and whether he will make inquiries in this case in order to ensure uniformity of inspection, and thereby safeguard a trader from criminal proceedings in respect of meat purchased bonâ fide, passed by one inspector and subsequently confiscated by the inspector in another district.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) I have made inquiry with respect to this matter. I understand that the pigs were not cut up at the Islington Market or at the Central Meat Market, and the medical officer of health for the City points out that it was quite possible that disease which would not show itself in the carcase would become apparent after cutting up. I am informed that proceedings in the case are now pending before the justices, and hence I cannot take any further action with regard to it. But I may state that one of the medical inspectors of the Department is engaged in inquiring into the methods of meat inspection in London with a view of reporting to me on the subject. I may add that the Ealing Town Council have issued a circular to the butchers in the borough, in which they state that the sanitary inspector may, at the request of a butcher, visit his premises and inspect any meat which has been delivered to him, as to the condition of which he may be doubtful, and that, in the event of any of it being found to be diseased, the inspector will take steps to have it destroyed in manner prescribed by law. The town council point out that in such a case the risk of exposing for sale meat unfit for human consumption would be minimised.