HC Deb 26 May 1954 vol 528 cc402-4
50. Mrs. Braddock

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that, in the outbreak of trichinosis in Liverpool recently, it was found to be impossible to trace the infected pig beyond the abattoir; and, in view of the serious infection which can be caused, what steps he is taking to have complete records of the movement of pigs available to medical officers of health responsible for tracing infections.

Dr. Hill

The movement of pigs is subject to the provisions of the Movement of Animals (Records) Order, 1925, which requires records of movements to be kept in a prescribed form; this Order is enforced by the local authorities responsible under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1950, and the records should be available to medical officers and others when tracing infections.

Mrs. Braddock

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there was a very serious outbreak of trichinosis in Liverpool, that the whole of the health services were at work, and that the actual pig infected was traced? Is he also aware that, in view of the fact that records evidently were not kept up to date, it was impossible to find out from which farm the pig came, that it may be that that particular farm is still infected and that there is still infected pork coming from that farm? Will the hon. Gentleman see that the situation is cleared up as quickly as possible, in view of the fact that 11 per cent. of the population are bound to suffer from this disease at some time or another?

Dr. Hill

I share the hon. Lady's concern at the outbreak in Liverpool. In only two of the 89 cases was the infection traced to pork, and, in those cases, it seems that difficulty was found in tracing the infected pig to the piggery. I am looking into these cases. In the remaining cases, as the hon. Lady will appreciate, the infection came from sausages, and it is extremely difficult in a large sausage factory to trace a carcase.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Movement of Animals Order is very effective in that it enables records to be kept of all animals from farm to farm and to the abattoir, but that it is impracticable to trace a carcase from the abattoir to the consumer?

Dr. Hill

The Order permits, in the case of pigs going for pork, the tracing of the carcase to the piggery, and that is the position which the hon. Lady has in mind.