HC Deb 21 March 1935 vol 299 cc1364-5

asked the Minister of Health whether the bacteriological examination recently carried out at the Devonport laboratory of eggs imported from China would indicate their food values?


No, Sir. The report which I have seen of this examination gives no indication of the food values of the eggs in question.


Will the hon. Member endeavour to persuade his colleagues in the Government to try some of these eggs themselves?

25. Mr. HASLAM

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the report of the Scientific Poultry Breeders' Association, a copy of which has been submitted, which contains evidence that Chinese eggs are often produced under insanitary conditions, and has had a bacteriological examination made of the contents of the tins containing Chinese liquid eggs as imported into this country; that this examination shows that bacteria causing decomposition are present in these liquid eggs; that such bacteria would become active as soon as the eggs are unfrozen and raised to room temperature, especially in summer; and whether in view of the danger to public health, he will hasten the inquiry he has been making since 11th February or take interim measures to safeguard the public?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on the 14th March to my hon. Friends the Members for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) and Blackburn (Sir W. Smiles) a copy of which I am sending to him. As stated in that answer, samples of Chinese eggs have recently been examined in the laboratory of my Department and nothing was found to show that any pathogenic organisms were present. The examination of further samples is being completed as quickly as possible.


Is the hon. Member aware that the examination showed that there were bacteria causing decomposition, and will he ask the Minister of Health to publish a fuller report than he has indicated to the House showing exactly the numbers of these microorganisms, the rate of decomposition, and other matters of importance to public health?


The Department of Health was asked to make this examination and did so; and the result does not confirm the fears of the hon. Member.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

Is it not true that only one tin out of a whole lot was examined?


Does the Parliamentary Secretary suggest that his Department only condemns food when it has pathogenic organisms, that is organisms which produce disease, and does not mind organisms which only produce decomposition? That is his suggestion.