HC Deb 25 February 1952 vol 496 cc689-91
12. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Food what part of the shell-egg consumption of the United Kingdom, during 1951, was imported and what part home-produced.

Major Lloyd George

Of the controlled supplies of eggs consumed in the United Kingdom during 1951 about 23 per cent. were imported and 77 per cent. home-produced.

33. Mrs Mann

asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement on the egg allocations for this year.

Major Lloyd George

There have been 14 allocations on average in the first six weeks of this year. I cannot say how many there will be over the rest of the year.

Mrs. Mann

Can the Minister say whether he expects the allocations to be as good as last year's, and if he is getting enough feedingstuffs to give us an increase in egg production?

Major Lloyd George

I think we can expect as many as last year because we had then a particularly bad early spring flush. It is a very risky thing to say, but I think we shall be no worse off; but a lot depends upon the hen itself.

Mrs. Mann

Are there enough feeding-stuffs for increased egg production?

Mrs. E. M. Braddock

Can the Minister assure us that, in the next rationed allocation, eggs of such small size as the one I have here—[HON. MEMBERS: "Throw it"]—will not be included? In view of the inquiries he made rising out of a Question I had on the Order Paper, but which was not answered because of the recent adjournment of the House, will he give an assurance that housewives are not compelled to receive eggs of this small size on the ration, and that they can refuse them and demand eggs of a reasonable size?

Major Lloyd George

I am sorry about that egg, but I think it is an imported egg. I think I recognise the size of it. Our own are very much better. Naturally, I will do what I can to improve the position.

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order. Is it in order, Mr. Speaker, for the hon. Lady the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock), to produce a china egg which purports to be a shell egg? Is not that bogus evidence?

Mrs. Braddock

Further to that, will it be in order if I throw it at the hon. Gentleman to prove that it is an egg, Sir?

Mr. Speaker

Certainly not.

43. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Food by what procedure retailers are permitted to sell unrationed eggs which have failed to hatch out after a period of artificial incubation.

Major Lloyd George

Eggs which have been incubated for any period and which are marked with the letter "H" are excluded from the operation of the Eggs (Great Britain) Order, 1951, which controls the sale of eggs. These eggs may, therefore, be sold freely, but the public should know that they deteriorate very quickly.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that most of these eggs have deteriorated by the time they reach the shops? Is it the policy of the Government to encourage the sale of these dud eggs other than by way of use as missiles at election time?

Major Lloyd George

This has nothing to do with us. Before the war most of the eggs of this sort were sold for pig food. They are all marked "H," so the public can take them or leave them as they wish.