§ 60. Mr. EVERARD
asked the Minister of Health whether he has received any reports that the prevalence of rickets amongst children in some districts is largely caused by the fact that they are being fed on imported skimmed milk which is marked unfit for babies: and whether he will take steps to prevent the use of this commodity as a food for infants?
I have seen a newspaper report of a statement of a lecturer on agricultural economics to this effect. I am advised that the feeding of infants on skimmed milk in any form would tend to produce rickets, and it is for this reason that I have made Regula- 973 tions requiring the words "Unfit for babies" to be displayed on the tins. Recently I have issued fresh Regulations which will have the effect of displaying these words more prominently.
§ Mr. EVERARD
May I ask whether in the public interest the right lion. Gentleman will not publish the figures showing the value of English milk over the foreign condensed milk as a clean product?
I do not think it is necessary to publish figures showing the difference between the skimmed milk and the full milk.
§ Mr. HARDIE
Is it not the case that people who buy skimmed milk have no choice owing to the high price of other milk, and does the right hon. Gentleman still hold the view which he made in a statement in answer to a question as to its effect on rickets?
That does not arise on this question, but I think the hon. Member has misinterpreted my answer.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Is it not a libel on our civilisation that these mothers have to buy skimmed milk because they cannot afford to buy other milk in order to feed their babies?
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that as long as skimmed milk is sold in such small packages people will buy it whether it is marked unfit for babies or not, and will he issue Regulations to provide that this milk is sold in much larger containers?
§ Mr. REMER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the growing importation of skimmed milk into this country, and will he look further into the matter in order to see whether some other steps cannot be taken to avoid this increased consumption of skimmed milk, which must be bad for the people who consume it?
I cannot accept the statement of the hon. Member. He seems to consider that children and adults are in the same position. My advice is that, while skimmed milk is bad for infants, it might be quite wholesome for adults.
§ Colonel HOWARD-BURY
In that case, will the right hon. Gentleman prohibit the sale of it for infants?
Will the Minister of Health consult the President of the Board of Trade as to whether the Safeguarding of Industries Act might not be applied to this skimmed milk?