HC Deb 06 July 1920 vol 131 cc1239-40
90. Mr. PALMER

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the complaints of London butchers that they are not permitted to buy frozen meat in good condition unless they agree to take a large percentage of inferior meat; that they are not able to purchase home-killed meat without buying at the same time a proportionately larger amount of unwholesome mutton, much of which is in a state of actual decomposition; whether, as a result, butchers have refused to take meat for sale, particularly in the poorer districts of London; and whether, in view of the gravity of these allegations, which are made by responsible persons in the meat trade, he can make any reassuring statement?

The MINISTER of FOOD (Mr. McCurdy)

As regards the first part of this question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on this subject to the hon. Member for Bradford on the 24th ultimo. There is no foundation whatever for the suggestion contained in the second part of the question. I have made inquiries on this matter, and am satisfied that no such suggestion has been made by any responsible person in the meat trade. At a recent meeting with a deputation of the Union of London Retail Meat Traders' Association, representing the large majority of London butchers, I made express inquiries on this point, and was assured that no such complaint was made on behalf of the trade. All meat sold is subject to careful inspection by properly qualified Health Officers to ensure that no meat unfit for consumption is permitted to be offered for sale.


If I bring the right hon. Gentleman samples of the meat, will he look into the matter?


Certainly, but I may say that I have had several consultations with the body which represents the whole of the retail meat traders of the Metropolis. I have had very careful inquiry made into the matter, and have given the hon. Member the result of that inquiry. I will make further inquiry on any further information.


May I ask whether the bodies the right hon. Gentleman has consulted, the retail butchers, are perfectly satisfied with the arrangements of his Department?


The main question relates to the quality of the meat. The supplementary question is a general question as to the arrangements made by my Department. If the hon. Member will furnish me with any particulars as to what arrangements he refers to, I shall be very happy to answer that question also.