HC Deb 10 April 1911 vol 24 cc204-5W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he can say whether the Swift Meat Company has any other frozen meat contract than the three days a week supply to the Curragh Camp; did the Swift Meat Company apply for a tender form on their own account, or were they supplied from the War Office with tender forms without making application; whether he is aware that the Swift Meat Company and other American firms, before putting the hind quarters of beef into the refrigerator, extract by machinery the juice of the meat which is converted into bovril or other soup; and, seeing that it is a recognised condition of trade that very large trade corporations supply retail traders only, can he see his way to comply with the conditions universally accepted in these matters?

Colonel SEELY

Contracts for the supply of meat to the troops are made locally by the military authorities of the command. So far as can be ascertained, the contract for the supply to the Curragh Camp is the only frozen meat contract at present held by the Swift Company. In order to secure adequate competition invitations to tender are advertised in the Press and are also sent to firms likely to be interested. An invitation was sent to the Swift Company. I am not aware that it is the practice of American firms to extract the juice from the meat before refrigerating it, and I think it extremely unlikely that the practice prevails with regard to the meat delivered under the contract. The terms of the contract require that the contractor shall be engaged in the meat trade, and it is not considered that it would be to the public advantage to make further restrictions as suggested in the question.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if, when next tenders are invited for the supply of meat to the Army, he will, in justice to the British farmer, who contributes to the cost of the Army, stipulate that the meat supplied must be British-fed meat?

Colonel SEELY

It is not proposed to make any change in this respect in regard to contracts for supply of meat.