§ Mr. NIELD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, whether a right is claimed by him to interfere with and prohibit the sale, or negotiation for the sale, without a licence from the Food Controller, of articles of food which are neither within the United Kingdom or any of the British Dominions, nor intended to come within such areas, but are grown in neutral countries, and are intended for the consumption by the subjects of an allied country; what is the authority for such claim against a British subject taking part as an intermediary in such a transaction; and of which of the Defence of the Realm Regulations is it suggested it is alleged to be a breach?
The Food Controller's powers enable him to regulate the supply of food in such manner as he thinks best for maintaining a supply of food in the United Kingdom. The proper exercise of these powers may in certain cases involve prohibiting British subjects from dealing in articles of food which are grown in neutral countries. It is obviously impossible to decide the question of destination without specific information, and where an Order has been made prohibiting dealings in articles of food which are outside the United Kingdom, a licence can be issued authorising unobjectionable dealings. The authority under which the Food Controller acts is to be found in the New Ministries and Secretaries Act, 1916, and in Regulations 2F to 2J, inclusive, of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. A breach of an Order made by the Food Controller is a summary offence under those Regulations.