Oral Answers to Questions — Food Waste.

– in the House of Commons on 26th February 1929.

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Photo of Sir Robert Thomas Sir Robert Thomas , Anglesey

41.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if any estimate has been made of the total quantity of fish, fruit, and vegetables which was wasted during the year 1928 owing to insufficient local demand and prohibitive cost of transport to areas where there was a demand; will he state what advance was made in the establishment of more canning factories; and what steps does he propose taking to encourage the development of the canning industry in order to obviate the waste of perishable foods?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

It is impossible to make any reliable estimate of the annual wastage of perishable produce. In the last three years nine new fruit and vegetable factories have been established. During the past year steps have been taken by my Department, in collaboration with the National Food Canning Council, to extend the fish canning industry. Other projects are under consideration. I am hopeful that the prominence given to canned foods of various kinds in the Great Britain section of the displays of Empire produce organised from time to time at trade and other exhibitions will encourage the development of the canning industry by helping to popularise its products.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Have any new canning factories for fish or fish products been started during that time?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

I am not sure whether sonic of them deal with fish, but we are examining the possibility of giving a more regular supply of bristlings, or young sprats, which we are told are required, if these factories are to start on a satisfactory basis.

Photo of Mr Frederick Montague Mr Frederick Montague , Islington West

Why is it impossible to get vital figures about food waste?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

I should be very much interested if the hon. Member could give me any suggestion as to how it could be done.

Photo of Sir Edward Campbell Sir Edward Campbell , Camberwell North West

Is the figure higher than in previous years?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

We have no reliable basis to go on. We cannot estimate.

Photo of Sir Robert Thomas Sir Robert Thomas , Anglesey

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think the waste of food is sufficiently serious for him to advise the Prime Minister to introduce legislation to punish offenders?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

With perishable produce it is inevitable, in seasons of glut, that there should be waste, and we are doing all that we can to improve market- ing arrangements so as to prevent these gluts and see that means are taken to improve access to markets.

Photo of Sir Robert Thomas Sir Robert Thomas , Anglesey

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that, if there was no waste of food, no person in this country would go hungry?

Photo of Sir Louis Smith Sir Louis Smith , Sheffield, Hallam

Has consideration been given to the provision of fish meal concentrators at some of these ports where a glut occurs from time to time, and turn this unsaleable surplus into fish meal to be used as cattle food?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness Lieut-Colonel Walter Guinness , Bury St Edmunds

There are proposals to deal with gluts at certain ports where at present there is no apparatus to turn fish into meal.

Photo of Mr Walter Womersley Mr Walter Womersley , Grimsby

Is it not a fact that these gluts occur at very long intervals and that none of them occur in the same place and is not that a very difficult matter to deal with?