HC Deb 22 November 1954 vol 533 cc771-2
59. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the concern at the increase of food poisoning cases, from 3,519 in 1952 to 5,277 in 1953; and what action he proposes to take to deal with the matter.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Yes, Sir. Where these incidents occur they usually indicate poor food hygiene or faulty practice in food factories and kitchens. The Minister of Food and I will continue to encourage local authorities in their efforts to ensure by publicity and education that high standards of food hygiene are practised by the food industry, the catering industry and food handlers generally, and as soon as the Food and Drugs Amendment Bill comes into operation we shall jointly make food hygiene regulations to strengthen the hands of the local authorities in this matter.

Mr. Dodds

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that this matter underlines the folly of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Food in surrendering to the pressure groups, resulting in the abandonment of the registration of catering establishments?

Mr. Macleod

We discussed that matter very fully in the Bill, and I am afraid I could not accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we shall never make Great Britain clean by Act of Parliament, but only by the weight of public opinion?

Dr. Summerskill

As the right hon. Gentleman has already said that many of these cases can be attributed to dirty kitchens and restaurants, could he not agree that registration of these places would be the right approach?

Mr. Macleod

We have debated the matter many times, as the right hon. Lady knows perfectly well. She takes one point of view. I frankly disagree. I think the present Bill will be workable. I do not think that some of the suggestions which the Opposition would have liked adopted would work.

Sir I. Fraser

Will my right hon. Friend believe me when I tell him that hundreds of small boardinghouse keepers in Morecambe and other seaside resorts are delighted that he has removed this interference with their very good behaviour?

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