§ 65. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the public concern at the increasing cost of meat, which is at a higher level than in previous years and has risen again within the last few weeks, when a seasonal decline of home-killed meat was experienced; and if he will introduce price control.
Although the price of fresh meat has risen, ample supplies of imported frozen meat are available at very reasonable prices. I am not prepared to re-introduce price control.153W
§ 67. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Food what stocks of imported meat are at present held by his Department.
§ 68. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Food the estimated trading loss on the realisation of the stocks of meat held by his Department.
It would be both misleading and commercially imprudent to give such an estimate until the stocks have been sold.
§ 69. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Food what shipping space is being used by his Department for the storage of meat; and why normal storage places are not being used for this purpose.
All the available space on one ship which has holding capacity for 5,300 tons. Normal storage is being used to the full.
71. Mr. John Hall
asked the Minister of Food at what prices his Department is offering Australian, New Zealand and Argentine meat to the trade; and how these prices compare with home-killed meat.
Prices vary according to quality and grade; the following are representative of recent sales to importersAustralian and new Zealand beef—11d. to 1s. 3d. per lb.Argentine beef—1s. to 1s. 4d. per lb.New Zealand lamb—1s. 3d. to 1s. 10d., wethers—6d. to 1s. 1¾d., and ewe mutton—4½d. to 8d. per lb.
There are no directly comparable prices for home-killed meat, but recently wholesale prices of imported frozen beef at Smithfield have been just over half the home-killed prices and frozen lamb 60 to 80 per cent. of home-killed prices.
§ 72. Mr. W. Wells
asked the Minister of Food what prices have been arranged in the current agreement for the purchase of meat from the Argentine; and how these prices compare with those negotiated in the previous agreement.
Negotiations for a new agreement with Argentina are still proceeding. It is not contemplated that there will be any further arrangements for the Government purchase of meat.154W
§ 73. Mr. Bullard
asked the Minister of Food at what price, relative to the last control price, meat imported by his Department is now being sold.
For frozen meat at first hand, on average, about 20 per cent. below the last control prices.
§ 74. Mr. Bullard
asked the Minister of Food the total supply of carcase meat and offal in the first six months of decontrol, from July to December, 1954, compared with the corresponding periods in 1951 and 1953.
Supplies passing into consumption in the period July to December, 1954, are estimated at 1,115 thousand tons; during the corresponding periods in 1951 and 1953 they were 825 and 1,031 thousand tons respectively.
§ 76. Mr. P. Williams
asked the Minister of Food what steps are taken to ensure that meat imported into the United Kingdom is fit for human consumption.
The Public Health (Imported Food) Regulations, 1937 and 1948, prohibit the import of meat unless it is accompanied by an official certificate recognised by me and issued by a competent authority in the country of export that the meat was derived from animals inspected both before and after slaughter and found to be fit for human consumption.