HC Deb 23 March 1920 vol 127 cc246-7

asked the Food Controller whether he will state the number of boxes of bacon which came under his control On 9th August, 1919, how many have been received since, and the average price paid for this bacon; whether much of this bacon has so deteriorated that it has been sold to soap boilers, and, if so, to what extent has this policy of destruction been carried out and the average price obtained for the bacon so destroyed whether large quantities have been re-exported to the Continent as unfit for consumption in this country, and, if so, how many boxes and what is the average price he has obtained for it; whether the present stock left on hand is suffering from deterioration to a considerable extent; and what does he propose to do about it?

Mr. PARKER (Lord of the Treasury)

Approximately 500,000 boxes of bacon were requisitioned by the Ministry of Food from private importers during the period from 9th August to 21st September, 1919. The price to be paid for this bacon is at present the subject of negotiation between the Ministry of Food and the American packers. A large proportion of the amount requisitioned was found when landed to be in an unsatisfactory condition, and such quantities as were unfit for human consumption were sold for soap-making. Without a considerable statistical investigation it is not possible to state the actual amount disposed of in this way, but the average price realised was, approximately, £20 per ton. Free export of all out-of-condition bacon was permitted through the ordinary trade channels. It is not, therefore, possible to state the amount of requisitioned bacon actually exported, nor the average price obtained. With regard to the remainder of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given yesterday to the hon. Member for Plaistow, but I would like to emphasise the point that since the resumption of control not a single box of bacon has arrived in such a condition as to be, or to become, unfit for food.

Colonel YATE

Will the public ever be able to see an audited account, giving the result of this adventure in bacon?


I presume the accounts will go in the ordinary course before the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and that the matter will appear in his Report.


May I ask how long these boxes were allowed to remain in this country before it was discovered that the contents had deteriorated?


In the answer I stated that this was found to be wrong on arrival.

Colonel YATE

Will the hon. Gentleman see that these audited accounts are presented to this House?


I will convey that to the Department.


Will arrangements be made with America to see that we get compensation for stuff that goes bad before it lands?