HC Deb 25 March 1892 vol 2 cc1826-7
MR. SUMMERS (Huddersfield)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the evidence given by Mr. Albert F. Farn, microscopic examiner of lymph to the National Vaccine Establishment, to the effect that it had never been the practice of the Department to guarantee lymph, and that calf lymph was only supplied on ivory points, which precluded microscopical examination; and whether Mr. Farn correctly stated the practice of the Local Government Board in this matter; if so, at what date subsequent to that on which the evidence in question was given (27th November, 1889) the practice of guaranteeing the purity of lymph has been introduced?


No absolute guarantee of the purity of lymph is given by the Department; but if the hon. Gentleman refers to my recent answer to a question in the House, that when calf lymph was sent out from the Department it was guaranteed to be pure calf lymph, there is nothing in my opinion inconsistent with the custom of the Department in that answer. We do guarantee that it is taken direct from the calf by officers of the Department, and, therefore, I consider that I was quite justified in calling it pure calf lymph.


I should like to ask the President of the Local Government Board if there has been any change in the practice of his Department as to guaranteeing the purity of lymph?


If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my opening sentence he would have heard me say that no absolute guarantee of the purity of lymph is given by the Department; but I think I ought to add, in order to make it perfectly clear what the practice of the Department is, that there are two kinds of lymph provided by the Department, one being humanised lymph, the other calf lymph. The first is provided in tubes issued by the Department, and is subjected to a minute microscopical examination before being sent out; and if there is anything in a tube other than what is considered pure it is rejected, and only what is believed, after microscopic examination by an officer of the Department, to be perfectly pure is issued. There is also humanised lymph—but a very small quantity—which is supplied on points. It is true that that cannot be subjected to the same examination as that supplied in tubes; but all the points are taken by most skilled officers of the Department themselves, and therefore there is, in my opinion, a very effective guarantee as to its purity. The calf lymph is, of course, taken direct from the calf.