§ 21. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that tins of milk produced some considerable time ago and disposed of by his Department on condition that they were not for retail sale are being offered for sale in private trade shops at cut prices and bearing the name "Wheatsheaf Full Cream Milk "; and what action he proposes to take to deal with this unsatisfactory situation.
§ 32. Mr. Sydney Irving
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to ensure that the undertaking given by certain firms not to offer for sale in retail shops tins of Wheatsheaf and other full cream milks, purchased by them from his Department as surplus because of their doubtful age, has been carried out; if he is aware that such tins have been on sale recently in private traders' shops in Dartford and elsewhere at cut prices and without any indication of age or origin; and what further steps he proposes to take to remedy this state of affairs.
I am having inquiries made and shall consider what action if any I can take when they are completed.
§ Mr. Dodds
Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that on 5th March 558 last year there was a row in the House about this same sort of business, when he admitted that quantities of canned milk sold for animal feeding stuffs to a number of buyers and others had gone into shops and was being sold retail? Now, a year later this milk is still on sale in the shops. One of my hon. Friends asks, "What about a prosecution?" Is it not sharp practice that housewives should be buying this tinned milk, not knowing that it was produced anything from five to eight years ago? What will the right hon. Gentleman do about that?
The hon. Member reminded me of a row. I cannot remember that particular one, but there have been several between then and now. Of course, this full-cream, unsweetened, evaporated milk was sold by my Department a considerable time ago—
—for other than human consumption. I do not think that I can add anything to the reply which I have already given to the hon. Gentleman. He will see from that that I am actively considering what action I can take.
§ Mr. Irving
Is the Minister aware that one of the firms involved is Messrs. Mence Smith? I understand that there are other firms. Will he consider listing in HANSARD the firms involved in order to protect the public from this abuse?
I will take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said, but I do not know what firms were concerned in this matter.
§ Mr. Willey
I may well have taken part in the earlier row a good deal of time has passed. Will the right hon. Gentleman do his best as early as possible to allay public anxiety about this question?
I remind the hon. Gentleman that in the case of any food which is unfit for human consumption the local health authorities have the duty of seizing the food and of prosecuting.