HC Deb 13 April 1959 vol 603 cc633-4
37. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the decline recently in the uptake of welfare foods. in particular orange juice and cod liver oil; what sums have been spent by the Government in publicising and promoting welfare vitamin foods in the periods 1940–1944, 1945–1949, 1950–1954 and since 1955; and whether he will give the figures for the uptake of welfare food. national dried milk, orange juice and cod liver oil during the same periods.

Mr. R. Thompson

There has been a decline in the uptake of cod liver oil but the uptake of orange juice in relation to those entitled to this benefit has increased. I regret that the information desired in the second part of the Question is not available. On the last part of the Question I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT such figures as are obtainable without a disproportionate expenditure of time and effort.

Mr. Janner

In view of the statement he has made, can the hon. Gentleman say whether he is make sufficient efforts to publicise the value of cod liver oil?

Mr. Thompson

Oh, yes. This service has been available for nearly twenty years. For the comfort of the hon. Member I would say that publicity measures include advice to doctors, midwives and health visitors, a supply of free posters to local health authorities, leaflets to expectant mothers and advice notes in women's journals.

Following are the figures:

Period National Dried Milk (tins) Orange Juice (bottles) Cod Liver Oil (bottles)
United Kingdom
1940–44 Comparable figures not available
1945–49 124 231 49
1950–54 148 178 44
England and Wales
1955 20.2 30.0 5.3
1956 19.7 32.4 4.8
1957 15.6 34.3 4.1
1958 12.3 (a) 22.1 (b) 2.7 (c)
(a) The decline in issues of National Dried Milk has been offset by an increase in the consumption of liquid welfare milk which is an alternative benefit.
(b) From 1st November, 1957, entitlement to orange juice was withdrawn from children over two years of age, except for tokens already issued
(c) In July, 1957 the Report of the Advisory Committee on Welfare Foods was published recommending that infants taking National Dried Milk should receive drop doses instead of teaspoonfuls of cod liver oil.