It is a complicated matter to some extent. I have the old bill, and I have the new bill, and, for each one of the amendments I have to refer to three or four papers and that is why I take the present bill-
Paragraph "j" section I of the bill was intended to make clearer what was meant by "dry lobster meat". There was already a definition, and some words are added to it. It was also to give some latitude in the length of time for draining the liquid from a can before the meat is weighed. The time is at present fixed as one minute, neither more nor less. By the new bill we extend it to one minute and a half.
Section^ 2. At present under subsection 1 of section 12 A, canned fish and shellfish are subject to inspection during the course of preparation and packing only. The amendment provides that such fish and shellfish may be inspected at the cannery any time after they have been packed or at the first purchaser's warehouse, if he sc desires. It is also proposed to substitute the word "labelled" for "marked," as being more in line with the intention of the section. The word "fish" in paragraph (a) is the result of a mistake. It is, therefore, being replaced by the word "first" as originally intended-the "first" dealer instead of the "fish" dealer.
Subsection 4 of section 12 A provides for the exemption from the labelling requirements of canned fish and shellfish exported to foreign markets or the markets of the United Kingdom. That is the law as it was. This does not include Australia and New Zealand; it says only foreign mar-
Meat and, Canned Foods
kets and the United Kingdom, hence the change in the wording of the subsection to "markets outside of Canada."
Section 3. Section 12 C, which is to he repealed, provides for the seizure of unsound fish or shellfish before packing, but dees not make any provision for so dealing with unsound fish or shellfish when in the cans. As fish and shellfish found to be unsound prior to canning are amply provided for in section 12 B, the amendment to section 12 C is intended to cover unsound goods in cans. That is, we have the same right even after they are canned.
Section 4. The amendment to section 12 D is intended to fix definitely the size of each of the five sizes of cans at present legalized. They are the same sizes as before. As a matter of fact, it is especially to empower inspecting officers to seize and hold lightweight cans, pending a decision as to their disposal. We have not that right under the law as it stands.
Section 5. Section 12 E at present simply designates the different varieties of. British Columbia salmon. As there has been and still is a more or less insistent call for the official grading of the different varieties of salmon when packed in the cans, the amendment provides for such being done if and when it is deemed necessary. Also, the amended section provides for transferring the naming of the varieties to the regulations, because of anticipated changes when grading takes place.
Section 6. Section 12 F gives the minister sole power to close a cannery in the event of the provisions of the Act not being complied with. That is the section as it was. It sometimes happens that an inspecting officer finds a cannery operating under such a state of filth as to call for the immediate stoppage of operations. Delays in reporting to and receiving instructions from Ottawa allow canning to go on under undesirable conditions frequently for too long a time. The amendment consequently seeks to give power to the officers to take immediate action when such conditions are discovered and, of course, to report to Ottawa.
Section 9. Section 12 G is deemed to be entirely unnecessary and, therefore, apt to lead to confusion. Consequently, its deletion is proposed. All that is provided for by section 12 G is already provided for in other sections.
Section 10. The proposed amendment to subsection 1 of section 12 H, is, in the first
place, to provide that canned fish or shellfish imported into Canada to be again exported must show the name of the country of origin, in order that they may not be mistaken for Canadian goods. In the second place it is to provide that no misleading mark or name concerning the kind or variety of canned fish or shellfish imported for sale in Canada be used. The last provision is intended to stop the practice of Alaska packers sending Alaska red salmon into Canada labelled as sockeye, as this meantime permits them unfairly to compete with British Columbia sockeye, a much superior fish. I think that covers all the amendments.
Just one question. Will the minister intimate, if his notes supply the information, what the state of the law was as to the first part of clause 9 which now appears to be clause 10 of his bill, the very last?
That is an unfortunate thing. A case of ptomaine poisoning may occur; the label may be gone, and there will then be no way of finding out the name and address of the packer. Would it not be a wise provision to have the packer's name, number and address printed on the can itself? A label is easily torn off, and then you have no means of tracing the packer and finding out where the can comes from.
The same thing exists as regards other kinds of canned goods than fish. Section 12-H, referred to by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) reads, as it is in the act:
A11 cans of fish or shellfish imported into Canada shall he correctly labelled so as to indicate the kind and quality of their contents, the minimum weight in avoirdupois of the contents of the cans in the case of canned fish and of the dry meat in the can in the case of canned shellfish, the place of origin and the name and address of the person, firm or corporation by whom they are packed or by whom they are imported: provided that canned fish or canned shellfish imported into Canada to be exported again need not be so labelled.
The new proposed clause will read:
All cans of fish or shellfish imported Into Canada shall be correctly labelled so as to indicate the kind and quality of their contents, the minimum weight in avoirdupois of the contents of the cans in the case of canned fish and of the dry meat in the can in the case of
Meat and Canned Foods
canned shellfish, the place of origin and the name and the name and address of the person, firm or corporation by whom they are packed or by whom they are imported provided that canned fish or canned shellfish imported into Canada to be exported again need only be labelled to show the country of origin; and no false or misleading mark or designation of the kind or variety of the contents shall be shown on any can of fish or shellfish imported for sale in Canada.
This clause will also apply to canned lobsters. For instance, there is a practice whereby lobsters which were packed say, in Newfoundland, come to Halifax, N.S., and are bought there by jobbers, repacked and exported. Supposing the label were destroyed, consciously or unconsciously, a jobber would be able to palm off those lobsters as Canadian lobsters. There is no protection for the Canadian lobster packed under strict departmental inspection as against the Newfoundland lobster. That is a very important point which the minister should consider.
not sufficiently durable or permanent; it may be destroyed or lost, either deliberately or accidentally. Therefore, as has just been stated, once the label has been removed, it is impossible to identify where the particular can came from, supposing 4 p.m. a case of ptomaine poisoning has occurred-this is of great importance, because some cases of ptomaine poisoning are fatal. If a poisoned can is not marked in such a way that it can be identified, it is impossble to trace the factory in which the goods were put up and where there may be many other cans in the same condition. I trust that some means may be adopted of having a permanent mark on the can itself.
While it would be a very good thing to have the individual tin stamped with the name of the packer, yet I think anybody who understands this business, realizes that it would be impossible for the canner to stamp every tin with his name. As regards bad fish which may be found in cans and ptomaine poisoning occurring from those bad fish, it is a well-known fact that when fish are packed in a can by the packer, he immediately puts a label on the can and that gives it a more attractive appearance. No grocer or fish dealer will sell a can of lobster or salmon
unless the label still remains on the can in proper shape. The label makes the package more attractive and, consequently, the housekeeper will not buy a package of lobster or salmon unless there is on the can a label showing the name, quality and quantity of the contents and the packer's name and address. But it is quite possible, as the hon. member for St. John says, that after the can has been opened and the contents cooked they may be found to be affected. As a rule the first thing the housewife does before putting the can in a pot of hot water is to tear off the label, and if ptomaine poisoning follows the eating of the contents the housewife naturally is so excited that she does not remember which grocer she bought the can from, let alone who packed it. So it is absolutely impossible to mark these cans so that the public will know who packed the contents.
Is it not a fact that in a great many cases the name of the packer never appears on the label? For instance, a lot 'of wholesale grocers in Nova Scotia' such as Bauld Bros., will have a particular brand put up for themselves and the label does not disclose who actually packed the lobsters.
Is is not also a fact that small packers do not put any brand at all upon their pack? The lobsters are sent to a jobber in the lobster business at Halifax, and he re-packs the fish, placing his own brand upon the cans.