HC Deb 07 March 1955 vol 538 cc26-7
27. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health how many food poisoning incidents due to processed and made-up meats were recorded in the years 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953; what percentage of the total incidents resulted from such causes in each of the four years; and what advice is being given to those responsible for avoiding such incidents.

Mr. Iain Macleod

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate these in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The Minister of Food and I continually encourage local authorities in their efforts to secure a high standard of food hygiene, and the particular dangers associated with processed and made-up meats are emphasised. Where an outbreak has occurred the medical officer of health usually gives advice to those concerned on how to avoid a recurrence.

Mr. Hastings

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the proportion of these cases which are due to meat and meat products is increasing? Does not he agree that almost every one of them would be completely eliminated if the principles of elementary cleanliness were adhered to? Will not he have an inquiry made, because these epidemics—which in my view and in the view of many others could be almost completely eliminated—are causing great inconvenience and some loss of life?

Mr. Macleod

The hon. Member will see from the figures that the number of outbreaks goes up and down from year to year, and that the percentage of food poisoning outbreaks where we can trace the infection is about 50 per cent., and has increased very slightly. As far as the second part of the Question is concerned, I and my colleagues do everything we can in these matters, and I shall be very glad to have any detailed suggestions from the hon. Member for getting rid of more of these outbreaks.

Following is the information:

The following table gives the number and percentage of recorded "outbreaks" of food poisoning (i.e. instances of two or more related cases, but excluding sporadic cases, where processed and made-up meats have been identified as the vehicle of infection.
Year Number of "outbreaks" attributed to processed and made-up meats Percentage of total food poisoning outbreaks (all foods) where the vehicle of infection has been identified
Per cent.
1950 202 46
1951 114 49
1952 144 53
1953 164 53