HC Deb 08 June 1906 vol 158 cc617-8
MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a quantity of boneless and pork meat is imported into Great Britain; whether he can state of what material it is composed; whether he is aware that this meat is used in the manufacture of sausages sold as English produce; whether he will communicate with the American Government respecting the allegations made concerning lard and boneless, tinned and frozen meats; and whether he can state the methods employed in the inspection of this imported food.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am aware that a quantity of boneless beef and pork is imported into this country from the United States. I understand that it is composed of beef "chucks," "pork cuttings," "ham trimmings," and the like, and that it is used in the manufacture of sausages, which are presumably sold without any declaration as to the sources from which the ingredients of; which they are composed are derived. I understand that the law in the United States requires all shipments of meat and meat products to Europe to be passed by inspectors of the Department of Agriculture before clearance is given to the vessel by the Customs authorities, and that the Department have laid down elaborate regulations relative to the inspection of meat intended for export. Having regard, however, to the recent allegations referred to in the Question, I have put myself into communication with my right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with a view to its being ascertained to what extent reliance can be placed on the system of meat inspection undertaken by the United States Bureau of Animal Industry. In this country imported lard and boneless and other meats are liable to the same inspection as other articles of food. There are circumstances affecting some of these imported foods which present serious difficulties in the way of efficient inspection; but I am fully aware of the need for securing that the powers of inspection possessed by local authorities should be exercised as far as possible in these cases, and I have recently caused inquiries to be made and action to be taken for this purpose.