HC Deb 09 November 1953 vol 520 cc577-80
6. Mrs. White

asked the Minister of Food what representations he has received on the danger of selling by auction meat from abattoirs under his control which is unfit for human consumption.

8. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the anxiety felt by sanitary inspectors over the auctioning of meat condemned as unfit for human consumption, that such meat may be made available for human consumption in the way of manufactured food products; and whether, in the circumstances, he will re-examine the present system relating to such sales.

15. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Food what action he proposes to take on the resolution sent by the conference of sanitary inspectors to his Department respecting the change in arrangements announced by the meat and livestock-division regarding the disposal of condemned meat.

27. Mr. Lambert

asked the Minister of Food what steps he has taken to ensure that condemned meat sold in Government-controlled slaughterhouses is not used for human consumption.

Major Lloyd George

I have given careful consideration to the representations which I have received on this matter and have decided to make certain changes in the present arrangements for the sale of condemned meat from Government slaughterhouses.

I should explain that it would be an offence under the Food and Drugs Act to offer condemned meat for human consumption and that responsibility for the enforcement of this provision rests with the local authorities. In order to assist these authorities in carrying out their statutory duties all condemned meat sold by the Ministry is stained green before it leaves the slaughterhouse and local authorities are notified of the names and addresses of the buyers.

Local authorities are given the right of access to Government slaughterhouses and it is being made clear to them that notwithstanding Crown right their inspectors may take any meat unfit for human consumption and dispose of it as they think fit.

I am also revising the present conditions of sale of condemned meat from Government slaughterhouses by requiring that before condemned meat is sold retail it should be sterilised.

Mrs. White

I thank the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for his reply, but has he considered the fact that the meat is now auctioned, whereas it used to be sold without auction.

Major Lloyd George

Yes, Sir. One of the difficulties is that the proportion of carcases going through Government slaughterhouses is very much less than the number going through the others.

Miss Ward

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend give me a more detailed reply to my Question? I am asking him what attention he has paid to the representations of the conference of sanitary inspectors, on Tyneside. His answer does not give that information. I should like to know the answer, in view of the fact that it was the sanitary inspectors who made representations to my right hon. and gallant Friend.

Major Lloyd George

I am very sorry. I thought that I had answered my hon. Friend's Question. She asked what action I proposed to take, and I went into some detail in my reply. If there is any point which my hon. Friend wants cleared up she may care to get in touch with me.

Mr. Janner

Will the Minister consider dispensing altogether with auction sales, and also consider consulting the Ministry of Health on this matter? Sanitary inspectors, medical officers of health and local authorities are extremely disturbed about the position and regard what is being done today as a policy of considering revenue first and health second.

Major Lloyd George

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I am most anxious to do what I can in this matter, and I shall look into it.

19. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Food the average price per ton paid to his department for condemned meat.

Major Lloyd George

About £23 per ton at present.

Miss Ward

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say why people pay large sums for condemned meat? Is it not about time that condemned meat produced no price at all?

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir. Condemned meat, properly treated, is a very useful adjunct to other animal feeding-stuffs.

Dr. Stross

The Minister, in reply to an earlier Question, said that this meat, when released, will be sterilised. Could he tell us what the process of sterilisation is that is contemplated?

Major Lloyd George

Boiling for an hour.

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