HC Deb 08 May 1956 vol 552 c1010
48. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will specify the nature and extent of the tests on refrigeration equipment recently carried out in the research ship "Sir William Hardy" and make a statement on the fish supplied for important researches to the Torry Research Station and the results of those researches.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works (Mr. J. R. Bevins)

As the reply is detailed and lengthy, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hughes

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the work of this very expensive ship has been too long delayed owing to certain defects? Will he take steps to see that it gets on with the work for which it was built?

Mr. Bevins

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend is aware of the position and progress is being made.

Following is the Reply: The tests were made on the ship's cold stores and on a magnetic valve and a vertical plate freezer, both of which are part of the refrigeration equipment. The valve has special features for regulating the refrigerant at very low temperatures, and the vertical plate freezer is a piece of refrigeration equipment, designed by the Torry Research Station and especially suitable for use in freezing fish at sea. The fish caught by the trawler were used in research for assessing the quality and extending the keeping qualities of stored fish. They have been used on the further development of the tetrazolium method for the rapid testing of quality. They have also been used for the accumulation of information on the seasonal and other variations in the chemical composition and the bacteriological condition of fish, the odour and flavour of fresh fish, and the histological disposition of muscle fibres which varies with different types of dehydration processes from vacuum freeze drying to air drying. Experiments have also been undertaken into the bacteriological condition of ice used in storage and an antibiotic in ice was used successfully in a medium scale trial in the trawler. Research is also in progress aimed at finding improved methods of sampling fish flesh as a criterion of changes in quality in cold-stored fish. The results of these researches will be made available in due course through advice given to the industry by the Torry Research Station, in the Annual Reports of the Food Investigation Organisation of the D.S.I.R. by special reports published by H.M.S.O. by articles in the Trade and Technical Press.