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Meat And Poultry

Volume 486: debated on Monday 16 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Food what is the transport cost per pound of importing reindeer meat by air.

These imports are entirely in the hands of private traders, for whom I cannot answer.


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the import of Irish cattle under present price regulations is becoming increasingly difficult because of the rapid growth of Irish exports of carcases to the United States of America at prices with which British cattle buyers cannot compete; and whether he will amend the price scale accordingly.

My information is that the export of carcase beef from the Irish Republic to the United States of America is likely to have a negligible effect on the steadily increasing exports of live cattle and beef to this country. In any event, even if the numbers of carcases were added to the number of live animals exported elsewhere than to the United Kingdom, they would still not exceed the 10 per cent. of total trade which may be reserved for other markets under the Anglo-Irish Cattle agreement.

Is the Minister aware that the experience of buyers of Irish cattle is entirely different from that indicated in the first part of his answer, and will he therefore look into this matter again in order to remove the differential between Irish and English meat in this country?

As I have said, I am, of course, bound by the agreement. I am satisfied that the extent of the exports to the United States of America is really quite negligible, and certainly within the bounds of the agreement.


asked the Minister of Food what steps he proposes to take to prevent substantial increases in the price of poultry now that imports, in the main, are prohibited.

The ban on imports recently announced by my right hon. Friend will mean a drop in our total poultry supplies of about 6 per cent., but we hope that this will, to a large extent, be offset by increased home production.


asked the Minister of Food how much meat and poultry, both canned and uncanned, respectively, have been exported from Britain since 1st January, 1950; and to which countries.

There are no official figures available in the form for which the hon. Member asks, but I will write to him as soon as possible and let him have what information I can.

Why is the Minister afraid of giving the export figures for meat, canned and uncanned, in the House? Is he aware that I am told that a great deal was exported? Why export meat from this country when we are on an 8½d. ration?

I am not afraid at all. I very much welcome publicity for these figures, but they are rather involved and complicated. I undertake, when I send a reply to the hon. Gentleman, to place it in the Library of the House.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the whole of this trade is in the hands of private traders?


asked the Minister of Food what quantities of reindeer meat have been imported to the latest convenient date; the countries of origin; the controlled retail price specified by his Department; the effect of these supplies upon the size of the current meat ration; and whether he can advise housewives as to the special hanging period for reindeer steak prior to human consumption.

Reindeer meat is imported from Sweden and Norway by private traders under open general licence and is not shown separately in the official trade returns. It is not subject to price control and does not form part of the meat ration. Advice on preparation is included among the recipes available to anyone who applies to my Department, but since this meat is entirely in the hands of the private trade my Department can assume no responsibility for its handling.


asked the Minister of Food whether any part of the current meat ration of 10d. per person per week comprises whale, or beaver or reindeer or horse meat; and the controlled retail prices of each of these four types of meat.

No, Sir; none of these meats forms part of the ration and none is price controlled. These classes of meat are entirely in the hands of private, or free, enterprise.

In consideration of the fact that none of these meats is included in the standard 10d. meat ration we have at present, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us why the meat available is so very tough and gristly?