asked the Minister of Agriculture if the supplies of imported beef into this country come from the same source as in the years 1893 to 1897; if not, from what sources they now come, and in what quantities; whether the change in the source of supplies has been accompanied by any change in the degree of refrigeration required; whether such change is correctly described as being a change from chilled beef to frozen beef; and whether frozen beef or chilled beef approximates more closely to the quality of home-killed beef?
The average annual imports of beef in 1893–97 amounted to 148,000, of which 114,000 tons were shipped from the United States and 27,000 tons from Australia. Since that time imports from the United States have greatly declined, and for some years past Argentina has been the principal source of supply. The total quantity of beef imported in 1921 was 608,000 tons, of which 374,000 tons came from Argentina, 84,000 tons from Australia, 60,000 tons from Uruguay, and 41,000 tons from New Zealand, the shipments from the United States amounting to 9,000 tons. The quantities of refrigerated meat imported in 1893–97 were not separately distinguished in the trade returns, but it is understood that practically all imports from North and South America and Australasia were frozen. This still applies in the case of beef from Australasia, but, as regards North and South America, chilled beef gradually superseded frozen and formed the bulk of the supply for some years before the War. other countries to be killed at the ports; and, if so, what the total increase in number was?
The figures are as follow:During the latter part of the War period, however, there was a reversion to frozen beef, but since then there has been a rapid recovery in the proportion of chilled beef imported from South America, and in 1921, taking Argentina and Uruguay together, about one-third of the imports were chilled and two-thirds frozen. As regards the last part of the question, the price of chilled beef is almost invariably higher than that of frozen beef, and is consequently nearer to the price of home-produced beef.