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Confiscated Food (Disposal)

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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57.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many parcels of meat have been confiscated by officials of the customs at sea and airports since 1st January, 1949; what was their total weight; and what happens to them.

I assume the hon. Member is referring to fresh meat. Imports of this from the Continent are prohibited under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, in the interests of animal health, and parcels seized in the Customs are destroyed. I regret that the statistical information asked for is not readily available.

May I ask the Financial Secretary why he assumes anything at all? I asked a straight Question. May I also ask him, in view of the disastrous results of the policy of the Minister of Food, whether it is in any way an encouragement to our generous friends overseas that these food parcels should be confiscated?

59.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that, on 17th March, 1949, Miss Winifred Rowley, of Vicars Moore Lane, Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, brought with her from France a 20-1b. cured ham, wrapped in cellophane paper and that, on arrival at the Customs sheds at Victoria Station, she declared the ham and a Customs officer, without unwrapping the paper, threw it into a large dustbin to join pounds of other food; and if he will make a statement as to the reason for this procedure.

The importation from the Continent of all uncooked meat and of cured meat unaccompanied by an official certificate is prohibited under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894. Miss Rowley's ham was seized under this prohibition and destroyed under instructions issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Since the date of this incident, the Ministry have agreed that a certificate may be dispensed with for small private importations of fully-cured bacon or ham.

Is the Financial Secretary aware that cured and smoked ham are immune? In view of the change of policy may I ask him whether Miss Rowley will be reimbursed? Is he further aware that if I had my way I should put the Ministry of Food into the dustbin?

Is the Financial Secretary aware that the farming industry trusts that he will continue to destroy meat from the Continent, where foot-and-mouth disease is rife?

Is it not the case that Miss Rowley made a mistake by bringing in this ham in a red wrapper?