HC Deb 07 December 1966 vol 737 cc303-4W
68. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has considered the correspondence forwarded to him by the hon. Member for Barking, concerning a tin of corned beef, supplied by agents of his Department and issued to a school kitchen, which contained also an extraneous piece of metal; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hoy

Yes. It is not certain that this tin came from Ministry stocks but, whether it did or not, there is no known method of detecting extraneous substances in a sealed tin.

Canned corned beef from the stockpile is released for human consumption only if samples of the meat and the external condition of each tin show that it is fit for that purpose.

76. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware that a tin of corned beef released for sale to the general public by his Department was 16 years old, and that the salts in the meat had turned the inside of the tin black, which in turn had affected the corned beef; what action he has taken, or intends to take, to call in this type of food or date-stamp the outside with the original date of first sealing in the tin container; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Milne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what safeguards are introduced when canned foods are released from stock for sale to the public; and if he will introduce legislation to ensure that the date of canning is clearly exhibited on the container when placed on view for sale.

Mr. Hoy

The tin of corned beef in question was produced in 1953, and was among a number sold back last April to the original packer. Black staining, which is not injurious to health, can occur in cans of any age and cannot be detected from the outside.

Corned beef in the stockpile is examined regularly on our behalf by a firm of public surveyors; and none is released for sale to the public which is not thought to be wholesome and perfectly safe. I am not satisfied that stamping tins with the date of canning would offer any additional safeguard.