HC Deb 30 July 1953 vol 518 cc1512-3
10. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Health whether he has investigated the recent cases of food poisoning of children in South London; and what action he is taking.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Officers of my Department have been in touch with the public health departments of the London County Council and the Metropolitan borough councils concerned. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Food and the L.C.C. have taken steps to recall the milk powder suspected to have infected the food responsible for the outbreak.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is it not scandalous that school children should be poisoned by powdered milk supplied by the Ministry of Food to local authorities? In view of the fact that the number of poisoning cases of this kind is double those of last year, will the Minister guarantee that stocks held by the Ministry of Food will be immediately examined, and, if found unfit, destroyed before any further damage is done?

Mr. Macleod

That is largely a matter for my right hon. and gallant Friend, but I am certain that it is being done.

Dr. Stross

Is the Minister aware that it is a great blow to our trust in tinned powdered milk that we should have any cases of this type at all? Can he say what is the causing agency—was it staphylococcal poisoning—and what action is to be taken to see that there is no further possibility of contamination of any forms of dried powdered milk in the future?

Mr. Macleod

Investigation into this particular outbreak is not yet completed, so I cannot add to my answer so far as the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question is concerned. As to the second point, we are taking all possible steps in this matter.

Mr. Skeffington

Is it not a fact that food poisoning from this source of supply was first reported in Surrey on 10th July? Can the Minister say why no instructions were given to the L.C.C. until 23rd July?

Mr. Macleod

This is a rather complicated story, and I think it would be more appropriate, if we are to have a debate later, that the matter be raised then.

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