HC Deb 01 August 1951 vol 491 c1458
50. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Minister of Food how much fresh pork was condemned as unfit for human consumption at Smithfield during the week ended 21st July; if he will outline the circumstances which led to this condemnation; and what steps have been taken to prevent a repetition of this waste of food.

Mr. Webb

I think that the hon. Member is referring to the condemnation of about seven and a half tons of pork out of two consignments sent to Smithfield from the West of England on 20th July. Transfers from producing to consuming areas are, of course, quite normal and, so far, the precautions taken to keep meat sent from the West of England in good condition have proved satisfactory. On this occasion, however, the weather was exceptionally and unexpectedly hot. Following inquiry into the incident, arrangements have been made for all pork for London from the west to be cold stored for at least 48 hours before being despatched.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Does not the Minister agree that the pork was loaded at Chippenham into vans on the morning of 19th July and was not unloaded at Smithfield until the morning of 20th July, when it was quite unusable? Is not this the sort of thing that happens when there is an absence of the profit and loss motive?

Mr. Webb

Even with the profit and loss motive, English weather in the end always gets its own reward.

Mr. H. Strauss

Which surprises the right hon. Gentleman more, a hot summer or a cold winter?