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Exhibits, Smithfield Show (Price)

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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56.

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that beef exhibited in the carcass competitions at Smithfield Show are paid for at casualty rate resulting in a loss to exhibitors of 1d. per lb.; and whether he will give instructions that this prime beef should be paid for at the full rate.

The hon. Member's information is not quite in line with the facts. Last year cattle entered for the carcass competition were paid for on the basis of their dead weight—in other words the actual rather than the estimated carcass weight. This procedure, which is the only practicable one in the circumstances, will. I believe, be adopted again next year.

Would the Minister check his information and make sure that he is accurate, because the information which I have from Smithfield is, in fact, that these carcasses, judged the best in the world, are paid for at casualty rates?

As the hon. Gentleman knows—he has spoken to me about this and I have gone into it in great detail—I am satisfied that my information is correct.

57.

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that under the present regulations beef produced from animals exhibited at the Smithfield Show are paid for on the basis of live weight grade and not on actual dead weight, resulting in a loss to exhibitors at the 1949 show of about 2,000 lb. weight of meat, and whether he will alter these regulations so as to permit payment for actual carcass weight.

These cattle are graded and paid for in exactly the same way as those we buy at collecting centres throughout the country. Our top grade includes all animals with an estimated killing-out percentage of 59 per cent. and over. If we fixed separate prices for any higher grade it would tend to encourage the production of over-fat animals not suitable for the retail trade and I am not prepared to alter the existing arrangements. After all, our main purpose must be, at this stage to improve the quality of meat for eating.

Is the Minister aware that the exhibitors at this show are not asking to be paid for fat? They are quite prepared to have the fat trimmed. All that they are asking for is that they should be paid for prime beef at the right price and not be robbed of 2,000 lb. weight of meat which the Ministry of Food take from them.

I am aware of that fact. My advice is that if we altered the grade we would be encouraging the production of animals for fat and not for meat.

Has not the object of the Smithfield Show always been to raise the quality, and has not it done so most successfully, long before we had any Minister of Food?