HC Deb 19 March 1935 vol 299 cc996-7
42. Mr. WEST

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the memorandum on Chinese eggs, issued by the Scientific Poultry Breeders' Association, of which a copy has been sent to him; and will he take steps to prohibit the import of such eggs?


asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of unfavourable reports on the inferior condition of Chinese eggs prior to or after packing in liquid form introduced into this country, he will instruct his inspectors to enter premises where such egg products are being used for human consumption and instruct them to make tests to ascertain the condition of the egg liquid, either by taste or by smell, with a view to condemning them if found unfit for human consumption?


My right hon. Friend has considered the memorandum referred to, and on the general question of Chinese eggs he would refer to the answer given on the 14th March to my hon. Friends, the Members for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) and Blackburn (Sir W. Smiles), copies of which are being sent to the hon. Members. As regards Question No. 43 the inspection of food is a function of the officers of local authorities and not of my right hon. Friend's Department, and as at present advised he does not think it necessary to draw their special attention to this matter.


Does the hon. and gallant Member not consider that the facts given in the statement in the memorandum should be either confirmed or proved to be untrue? If they are true, does he not think that in the interests of public health these eggs should be prohibited on the ground that even if they are not impure they must be inferior?


I will call the attention of my right hon. Friend to what the hon. Member has said.


Will the hon. and gallant Member also call attention to the fact that it is very little good subsidising agriculture in this country if these cheap Chinese eggs, produced under the unsatisfactory conditions referred to in the question, are allowed to come in?


Was not an assurance given that a bacteriological examination would be made of these Chinese eggs. Has that been done, and, if so, what is the result?


Is it not a fact that if a case of these eggs has been opened for a week it is impossible for the inspector to get near them?