§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the working of the Food and Drugs Act, under which a seller may be prosecuted on the sole ground of the analysis of a local public analyst, who is liable to error, and the public analyst himself may be prosecuted on the grounds that his analysis is wrong; and whether he would consider the expediency of introducing legislation to assimilate the working of the Food and Drugs Act to that of the Fertilisers Act in respect of having the analysis of the local analyst revised by skilled analysts of the Local Government Board before proceeding to a prosecution under the Act.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N)
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers may I ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board if he is aware of the frequent cases of injustice due to the existing law regarding prosecutions under the Food and Drugs Act, whereby sellers can 715 suffer material damage from a prosecution at the instance of local inspectors, although the prosecution is subsequently withdrawn; and also that claims against local authorities by those so injured through unfounded charges are dismissed in the law courts as being irrelevant; and whether his attention has been called to a recent case of such a nature—Aberdeen—in which a firm of aerated water manufacturers suffered unmerited and serious loss.
§ *THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
Perhaps I may answer both questions together. The case giving rise to them appears to have occurred in Scotland, and I have no jurisdiction under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act in that country. My attention has, however, been called to the matter referred to, but I do not think that sufficient ground has been shown for legislation.