Condemned Food

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons on 14th October 1942.

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Mr. Rostron Duckworth:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that in the four weeks ended 27th August the food condemned in Manchester included 37½ tons of meat, 31¾ tons of fish, 16¾ tons of vegetables, 1¼ tons of fruit, 1,803 head of poultry, 739 rabbits, 445 eggs, 1,818 lbs. of canned condensed and evaporated milk, 869 lbs. of canned luncheon meats and 614 lbs. of miscellaneous groceries; what is the measure of food condemned in all the cities of the country; and what steps he is taking to prevent such waste of food?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

Yes, Sir. I am aware that the food condemned in Manchester during the period mentioned was approximately as set out in the Question although the quantities, according to the reports I have received, were in general smaller. It is proper to point out that these condemnations form a very small proportion of the total quantities of food distributed in the area, despite the very considerable transport and other difficulties now prevailing in food distribution. The concentration of slaughtering and other wartime measures, moreover, have had the effect of increasing the quantity of food condemned in particular centres, but I have no reason to believe that, taking the country as a whole, any substantial quantity of food condemned is waste, properly so called as distinct from food which of its nature is unfit for human consumption, ought not to be brought to market, and is, therefore, condemned by the appropriate authorities in the exercise of their duty of protecting the public health.

Mr. Rostron Duckworth:

Does the Parliamentary Secretary consider it desirable to give authority to inspectors of ports to condemn fish which is not likely to arrive at its destination in a sound condition?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

It would be undesirable if it was thought that the Ministry of Food induced any inspector of food to relax his high standard. It is much more important that the public should know that their health is being protected by the proper inspection of food.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

Is there any reason why this food was kept so long that it had to be condemned?

Photo of Mr William Mabane Mr William Mabane , Huddersfield

It was not kept so long. Eighty-eight per cent. of the bulk of the meat condemned was found to be infected with tuberculosis, which is inherent in the animal.