HC Deb 01 December 1958 vol 596 c832
30. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that 69 per cent. of the outbreaks of food poisoning in 1957, in which a cause was found, were associated with processed and made-up meat dishes; what evidence there is that this danger is increasing; and what advice he is tendering to local authorities as to its prevention.

Mr. R. Thompson

Yes, Sir. This percentage is much the same as in recent years, but since 1955 the number of outbreaks it represents has decreased. Local authorities were reminded earlier this year of the risks that can arise from processed and made-up meat dishes and the need to ensure high standards of food hygiene.

Mr. Hastings

In view of the very serious position, would the hon. Gentleman think it desirable to consult the Medical Research Council on whether some method could be obtained to prevent or, at any rate, reduce the number of these epidemics?

Mr. Thompson

I rather doubt the wisdom of that suggestion, because the outbreaks in which it has been possible to trace both the cause and the agent of infection form only a small proportion of the whole. But the rate of decline is similar in each case.

Dr. Summerskill

In view of the Parliamentary Secretary's Answer, may I ask whether he is satisfied that there is adequate inspection of the premises where the food is prepared in view of the shortage of public health inspectors?

Mr. Thompson

I think so, yes.