HC Deb 21 June 1950 vol 476 cc1291-2
51. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Minister of Food what proportion of the weekly meat allocation to retailers for the periods beginning 28th May, 4th, 11th and 18th June, respectively, was comprised of imported ewe mutton; what protests have been made to him through trade channels or consultative committees; what action he proposes to take; and whether he will exclude this unsuitable meat from the ration.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Maurice Webb)

The figures for ewe mutton alone are not available. Imported ewe and wether mutton is estimated to have made up some 13 per cent. of the meat allocation for the first two weeks in question, 15 per cent. for the third week and about 8 per cent. for this week. Some protests have recently been made by the trade about ewe mutton, but we cannot at present remove it from the ration; and it was freely sold by retailers before the war.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the proportion of this unsuitable ewe mutton in Argentine shipments is four or five times higher than it was before the war? Is not it true that we are the only country which will take these scrapings of the Argentine barrel? Why does he continue to buy this unsuitable stuff?

Mr. Webb

The whole of the premises in that supplementary question are wrong. It is not true to say it is four or five times higher. The fact is that a good many people now having to use this ewe mutton did not have to use it before the war. It was then largely confined to people with small purses. But people with large purses are now having to use it, and are, I think, getting a valuable experience.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Can my right hon. Friend say, in the interests of science, how the discovery was made that this meat was ewe and was mutton?