HC Deb 17 February 1914 vol 58 cc750-2
20. Mr. HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give the date, terms, and circumstances of the negotiation of the contract entered into by the War Office with La Sociedad Anomina la Compania Sansinena de Carnes Congeladas de la Frigorifica, Uruguaya, for the supply for the British Army of frozen meat from Uruguaya?

Colonel SEELY

Tender forms for the supply of frozen meat ex store for the period of three months from 1st January, 1914, were issued on 13th November, 1913, and offers were received on 26th November, the appointed day. The terms are shown in the printed conditions, a copy of which I will send to the hon. Gentleman. The offer from the firm named was the most favourable submitted, and was accepted on 28th November.

22. Mr. HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case tried at the Andover Police Court, on Monday, 19th January, 1914, when two privates of the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles were charged with the theft of bacon and bread, and urged in extenuation of their offence that the meat supplied to them was uneatable; and whether he will say what firm was at that time supplying the beef for the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles?

Colonel SEELY

I find the facts are substantially as stated by the hon. Member. Frozen meat was supplied by the Compania Sansinena de Carnes Congeladas, and fresh meat by Messrs. Webster and Bullock. The General Officer Commanding reports that the men had made no complaint that they were dissatisfied with their food, and that the men in the same barrack room express themselves as satisfied with their food.


Will the right hon. Gentleman propose to abolish the supply of frozen meat to the troops, and them British meat only?

Colonel SEELY

That is a very wide question which I could not deal with in reply to a question, except to say that it would be a very big thing to abolish the supply of frozen meat, and one which I could not entertain.

23. Mr. HUNT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that the firm of Messrs. Thomas Borthwick and Sons have twice been found to have had in their possession for the purposes of sale Australian beef from which the flanks and briskets had not been properly removed in accordance with the regulations of the Commonwealth Government; whether he is aware that such meat was seized by the sanitary authorities of the City of London and found to contain portions infected by a parasitic worm and declared by the sanitary authorities to be unfit for human food; and whether, at the time of the first of these seizures on 14th December, Messrs. Borthwick and Sons were supplying Australian frozen beef from the same source to the British Army?

Colonel SEELY

My attention has been drawn to the incidents referred to, the first of which occurred during the period covered by Messrs. Borthwick's contract. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.