Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Quality of Meat Exports.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if his attention has been drawn to the remarks passed at Tower Bridge Court concerning pressed beef from Eire; whether there is adequate inspection of the preparation and handling of pressed beef, and if he will see that greater precautions are taken to see that this food is not sent out in an unfit condition.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will state whether he has received any complaints in respect of certain meat products, the country of origin being Eire, which were condemned in London as unfit for human consumption; whether any complaints were received by his Department in respect of similar exports prior to this case; and, if so, what measures he has taken or proposes to take to ensure that no consignment of such meats will be permitted to leave this country except that of good standard quality so that our reputation for meat of good quality will not be impaired.

asked the Minister for Agriculture whether he can make a statement on the alleged inferiority of certain Irish cooked meat exports to Great Britain; whether the meat condemned in London had been long overheld by the owner in cold store and whether he will make representations to the Food Controller in Great Britain asking him to ensure that such foodstuffs are properly handled in future.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he has now made inquiries as to the source of origin of the cooked pressed meat which was condemned in England as unfit for human consumption and if he has made any arrangements for resumption of the trade.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 41, 42, 43 and 44 together.

Reports have been received in regard to the unsatisfactory condition of certain cooked meats exported from this country to Great Britain. It is understood that these reports had reference to meats which had been in Great Britain for a considerable time before coming to the notice of the local health authorities. More recently samples of cooked meats were taken on arrival at British ports by representatives of the Ministry of Food and as a result of this examination the Ministry of Food prohibited imports as from midnight on 30th November.

Steps were taken some months ago to regulate the manufacture and export of cooked meats. Manufacturers were licensed and preparation of the meats permitted only on licensed premises. Owing to the perishable nature of the commodity and unavoidable delays in connection with present facilities for transport and distribution there is difficulty in ensuring that it will reach consumers in good condition.

I am having the whole question of production of cooked meats for export examined, but can give no indication at present as to when, if at all, the trade can be resumed.