Oranges

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st January 1945.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Purbrick Mr Reginald Purbrick , Liverpool, Walton 12:00 am, 31st January 1945

asked the Minister of Food, in view of the great number of oranges that have gone bad out of the consignments recently received owing to the embargo on retailers disposing of them before a certain date, if he will remove this and so save this waste of valuable food.

Photo of Mr John Llewellin Mr John Llewellin , Uxbridge

No embargo has been imposed on retailers by my Department. In some cases local distribution committees have asked retailers to commence sales simultaneously, but the delay in any case is short, and could have no effect on the condition of the fruit. I have received no evidence that these arrangements have caused waste.

Photo of Mr Reginald Purbrick Mr Reginald Purbrick , Liverpool, Walton

In view of the fact that the Department has a large number of inspectors, could not some inquiries be made, because the waste seems general? Surely the Department ought to be capable of re-organising itself so as to end this waste?

Photo of Mr John Llewellin Mr John Llewellin , Uxbridge

I am afraid such waste as there is in these oranges is largely because of the conditions under which we have to transport them to this country at the present time.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

Why did the Minister display such enthusiasm in bringing thousands of cases of Seville oranges here, when they are now rotting in the shops because people have not the sugar with which to make the marmalade?

Photo of Mr John Llewellin Mr John Llewellin , Uxbridge

The supplies of these bitter oranges will work out at only about 1 lb. per family of four persons. I believe that the concession by which people were allowed to take sugar instead of jam allows a large number of people to make that extra marmalade at home which they very much welcome.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

The Minister can see what is happening in the shops.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

Does not the Minister know from the reports he has that a lot of these bitter oranges are rotting in the shops because, rightly or wrongly, people think that they have not the sugar? Could he not do something by handing the oranges over to marmalade makers?

Photo of Mr John Llewellin Mr John Llewellin , Uxbridge

I can assure my hon. and learned Friend that we are supplying the full requirements of the marmalade factories for these bitter oranges. It is the residue that is going into the shops for individuals.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

It is the residue that is rotting.

Photo of Mrs Agnes Hardie Mrs Agnes Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

Is there not something wrong with the distribution of oranges? In some districts we cannot get any.

Photo of Mr John Llewellin Mr John Llewellin , Uxbridge

Oranges are difficult things, because they will not keep and they have to be distributed as quickly as possible. We do try to distribute them evenly over the country and we hold them in the shops for five days for anybody who has not already had his ration book marked. We are doing our best. A very large percentage of the oranges are getting to people in good condition and are very much welcomed.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Would the Minister bear in mind that if these bitter oranges are not wanted in the South, they are required in the North of England?