HC Deb 14 June 1906 vol 158 cc1124-6
*DR. COOPER (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether any of the current Army contracts are held by British makers of canned or preserved meats; whether any of these contractors are firms whose articles were condemned during the South African War; whether there is any inspection into the quality and soundness of the materials used during their manufacture; if so, is the inspector a medical man holding a public health diploma or is he a military man.


No Army contracts for tinned meat are held by British makers at present. Whenever a contract for preserved meat is held by a British firm surprise visits to the works are paid by Army officers, and samples are submitted to a Government analyst. These Army officers hold certificates from the Birkenhead Medical Officer of Health and some from the Royal Sanitary Institute, the latter being similar to those held by inspectors employed under the Local Government Board.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would cause a trained Army officer to pay surprise visits and take other precautions to ensure good quality.


asked whether the inspector should not be a trained veterinary inspector and expert in meat, or a medical man holding a diploma of public health.


thought the hon. Member did not appreciate the kind of training that these Army service medical officers had. They were trained for this very purpose, and there were several certificates which they had to obtain. One was the Birkenhead certificate. Another certificate was that of the Metropolitan Meat Market. Colonel Hobbs, who had gone out to inspect the stockyards, not only held that, but had had practice in judging meat for some years.


asked whether the Secretary of State had made himself acquainted with the nature of these two examinations and whether they were not very perfunctory.


said he was informed that the examinations for some of these certificates, particularly that of the Sanitary Institute, were very searching indeed.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would ascertain the value of the tinned meat and other provisions supplied, not by American, but by British contractors during the late war.

[No Answer was returned.]