asked the Minister of Food if he is satisfied that the supply of lemons and oranges is being fairly distributed to retailers; and if he is aware that the distribution of both is in many districts less efficient than previous to the application of departmental control.
§ Mr. Strachey
Lemons and oranges and all other fruits imported by the Ministry are distributed to retailers through the machinery of the fresh fruit and vegetable distribution committees which have been set up in all parts of the United Kingdom. Retailers of fresh fruit and vegetables are graded for supplies by sub-committees of the distribution committees, known as Retail Grading and Allocation Committees, especially appointed for the purpose. These committees, which are composed of elected representatives of wholesalers, retail fruiterers, grocers, multiple grocers and the Co-operative movement, are responsible for grading the retailers within their respective areas in such a way that supplies of these fruits, which are allocated to each distribution committee area on the 285W basis of its population, are fairly divided amongst them. They are graded in accordance with prescribed rules laid down by the Ministry and supplies are allocated to them in accordance with their respective gradings; any aggrieved claimant may have his case reviewed by the Ministry. The method of grading adopted is the fairest that can be devised but comparison cannot be made with the system in operation before 1941 when conditions were so entirely different.