HC Deb 02 November 1998 vol 318 c356W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the policy of the military garrison on the Falkland Islands in relation to the country of origin of lamb and beef purchased for its use. [57469]

Mr. Spellar

The procurement of food for the Armed Forces is contracted to Booker Foodservice and this includes supply to our personnel stationed in the Falkland Islands. Our contractor is currently unable to supply British beef to any of our Armed Forces outside of the UK because of the continuing EU export ban. The beef provided is, therefore, predominantly Australian, New Zealand and Uruguayan in origin with a small amount from Brazil, Ireland and Belgium. Some 65 per cent. of the lamb supplied is sourced from New Zealand and Australia with the remainder from Uruguay.

My Department and our contractor have been working closely with farmers' representatives and the Meat and Livestock Commission since the beginning of the year to ensure that every opportunity to buy British meat at competitive prices explored. All of the beef being bought for our Forces in the UK is now British in origin, following agreement by the European Commission to allow access to stocks of British beef in intervention. We are actively pursuing opportunities to purchase British frozen lamb and this includes offering to commit to substantial forward buy to encourage competitive pricing.