§ 19. Mr. CECIL WILSON
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will state the cases brought to his notice in which, during the last 12 months, food of any description fit for human consumption has been destroyed, and in each case the reason for the destruction and the action taken by the Department either before the destruction or since; and whether it is intended to take further powers to prevent such destruction?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
The only such cases that have been brought to my notice relate to certain heavy landings of highly perishable fish which the port markets were unable to absorb. The quantities of fish thrown back into the sea were about four or five tons of pilchards in November of last year, and about 60 tons of herring in August and September of last year and in May of this year. The absence of the Italian market was mainly responsible for the destruction of the pilchards. As regards the steps which might be taken to deal with occasional landings of herring surplus to the capacity of the markets, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11th June to questions by the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams). As these cases occur only very exceptionally, the quantities involved in those I have mentioned amounting to not more than.01 per cent. of the landings of wet fish by British fishing vessels in England and Wales for the last 12 months, I do not think it would be possible to provide against them by legislation.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
Generally, landings of fish are a long way off, and on some particular date, such as a Saturday afternoon, it is impossible to get them to the market before they are spoilt.
§ Miss WILKINSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider in those circumstances where food has to be destroyed in this way, distributing it free in distressed areas where the children are in need of food?
§ Miss WILKINSON
What is the Department doing to see that when fish is landed fresh it is prevented from going bad?
§ Mr. LESLIE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the dumping of fish is happening every week—it is not the exception—and that only last Saturday 3,200 cran were dumped into the ocean?
§ Mr. T. JOHNSTON
Apart from the dumping of fish is it not the case that there is an organised limitation in production?