HC Deb 18 May 1916 vol 82 cc1651-3

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that towards the end of 1913 the Hampshire County Council inspector of weights and measures visited Haslar Hospital and took samples of 42 gallons of milk in course of delivery; that the analysis indicated that, in the case of about two-thirds of the milk, machine-skimmed milk was being supplied as new milk; that proceedings were taken before the magistrates in January, 1914, who were satisfied that an offence had been committed and imposed a substantial penalty; that at the end of 1915 the same firm were found committing a similar offence in connection with the sale of milk to the public; that in the course of subsequent proceedings it transpired that shortly after the first conviction the Admiralty had renewed the contract with the same contractors for much larger quantities of milk; that on the 20th February, 1916, the county council inspector visited the Haslar hospital and, over a delivery of milk of double the amount of that involved in the 1914 visit, a deficiency of milk fat was found; that proceedings were again taken and a fine imposed; that on the 26th February, 1916, a further visit was paid to the hospital and samples were again taken, and it was found that a portion of the milk supplied was deficient in milk fat to the extent of 10 per cent.; and whether he will cause a strict inquiry to be made into the question of the milk supply to Haslar hospital and to the reason why the contract for milk was renewed to the present contractors?


The two prosecutions of this firm in January, 1914, and March, 1916, respectively, were duly brought to the notice of the Admiralty. The circumstances relating to the first were carefully investigated, and the question of striking the firm off the Admiralty list was considered, but they gave an explanation which appeared reasonably likely to be well founded, and as they had held these contracts for upwards of ten years with practically no complaints, and had laid out much money to bring their premises, and herd of cows up to the Admiralty standard conditions, it was decided to give them one more chance. They tendered lowest to Admiralty conditions in March, 1914, for a new three years' contract, and were accepted, with a warning that any future similar occurrence might lead to removal of their name from the list. No further complaint was brought to the notice of the Admiralty until the incident of 20th February, 1916, as a result of which it was decided to cancel the contract and strike the firm off the list.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that after proceedings against the contractor for the milk supply to Haslar hospital in 1914 the officer in charge of the hospital informed the Hampshire County Council that in future his permission should be asked in writing for their inspector to be allowed to enter the hospital for the purpose of taking samples; that on the 10th September, 1914, the Admiralty stated that they were advised that any samples which were required must be taken at the entrance gate to the hospital; and whether, in view of recent proceedings, the Admiralty will give every assistance to the county council inspectors in order to ensure that milk of the correct standard should be supplied to the hospital?


The Admiralty is fully aware of the circumstances referred to. The hospital authorities have very efficient arrangements for supervising and analysing the milk and other food supplies, which are considered adequate to detect any defects in quality of deliveries. The Admiralty, however, welcomes any assistance which the county council inspectors are able to give in the ordinary course of their duties. The arrangements made in the correspondence referred to were intended solely to avoid any overlapping between the two authorities.