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Ministry Of Food

Volume 527: debated on Monday 17 May 1954

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Tinned Milk Stocks (Disposal)


asked the Minister of Food if he can yet state the decision reached, following consultation with both sides of the milk industry, on the disposal of stocks of evaporated milk, full cream condensed milk and skimmed condensed milk.

The trade has agreed to take over a substantial part of these stocks but they will be disposed of gradually to avoid dislocating the home manufacturing and marketing programme.

Sausages (Meat Content)


asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement indicating the results of the inquiry into the meat content of sausages.


asked the Minister of Food whether he will make provision to ensure good standards of meat content in sausages.

The results of the inquiry are being examined in consultation with the appropriate trade organisations, and I hope to be able to make a statement in due course.

Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman appreciate that there is evidence that as more meat is available less is going into some sausages? There are many good manufacturers who resent the fact that there are backsliders. Will he, if he wants to go down in history as a great man, try to solve the sausage mystery?

If I were to solve the sausage mystery, I should go down in history as a great man. However, what, I think, the hon. Gentleman wants to know is this. All the public health authorities have been circulated to let us know what has happened since the decontrol of meat content, and we have had replies from about 260. The inquiries show that, on the average, the meat content is up since decontrol. There is, of course, a very great difference of opinion amongst public analysts. Some think 50 per cent, meat content is sufficient, and others that 65 per cent, is right. One goes so far as to think the content should be 75 per cent. However, I am looking into this matter, and will make a statement as soon as I can.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that, if he solves the sausage mystery, he will lighten the work of the courts?

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend do something through the manufacturers or others to try to get them to make sausages that taste like sausages as well as look like sausages?

The trouble with sausages, of course, is that there are so many different tastes, even in one family, that I think that a standard sausage would be extremely unpopular. I am asking the manufacturers and other interests concerned to meet me as soon as possible to discuss the result of the inquiry with them.

Fruit And Vegetables (Distribution)


asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to improve the distribution of fruit and vegetables.

As the hon. Member well knows, there is no quick or easy way of improving the present system, and I cannot usefully add to what I have already said on past occasions.

In view of the fact that the main difficulty was that of capital expenditure, and in view of the improved position now, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman energetically look at this matter?

I am always prepared to look at this question, which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is an extremely difficult one. The capital expenditure involved is very considerable, as he knows.

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend consult the Minister of Agriculture, and consider whether the time is not opportune for setting up a Royal Commission to go into the whole question of horticultural marketing? There have been a number of Departmental investigations, but surely a Royal Commission might do some very useful work?

I am prepared to consider anything, for this is a matter of some importance, but over the last 30 years there have been a large number of inquiries into this extremely difficult question. There is a good deal of exaggeration in the matter, and there are also a tremendous number of interests to be consulted before I can go any further, but I will certainly have a look at it.

Long-Term Contracts


asked the Minister of Food what representations have been made to him regarding the continuance of those long-term contracts for the procurement of foodstuffs still in force.

The only recent representations on long-term contracts still in force have been on West African vegetable oils and oilseeds, for which the marketing boards concerned have proposed, and we have agreed, the termination of the contracts at 30th June, 1954, and on New Zealand meat which the Ministry of Food will, by mutual agreement, cease to purchase 12 months earlier than the long-term contract provided. Discussions about the marketing under decontrol of Australian milk products during the last 12 months of the long-term contract are now proceeding, and parallel discussions about New Zealand milk products will open later this month.