HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc16-7
36. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health why he has not included tuberculosis in the Food Regulations which specify certain diseases which should exclude employment from food preparation.

Mr. R. Thompson

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations, 1953. There is no evidence that transmission of tuberculosis occurs through the handling of food.

Mrs. Slater

Is that not a dreadful reply, that it is possible for tubercular people to be engaged in the preparation of food? Is it not time that the Department again revised these Regulations?

Mr. Thompson

No, Sir, I do not accept that. Tuberculosis in this country is now largely a pulmonary infection acquired mostly by close contact with persons suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the hon. Gentleman again tell the House from where he obtains his facts? Is it not a fact that dry sputum is known to infect a person with whom it comes into contact?

Mr. Thompson

The Regulations are concerned with cases involving a risk of infection if the person concerned prepared or handled food or drink for human consumption, for instance, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever or other salmonella infection, dysentery and staphylococcal infection likely to cause food poisoning.