HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc14-5
28. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health what is the amount of food which has been condemned at the ports during the year 1958 because of radioactivity.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Richard Thompson)

So far as I am aware, none; imported food is not examined at the ports for radioactivity.

Mrs. Slater

In view of modern developments and the possibility that food may be contaminated by radioactivity, is it not time that the Ministry of Health looked at the problem of recording how much food contamination by radioactivity there has been?

Mr. Thompson

We are always having this matter under consideration, but there is no reason to think that imported food is more highly contaminated by radioactive fall-out than food produced in the United Kingdom, which is extensively monitored.

Dr. Summerskill

Where did the hon. Gentleman obtain that information? Is it not a fact that certain tea was discovered on testing to be radioactive?

Mr. Thompson

I am not conversant with the situation about tea. In reply to the specific question about advice and information, I have to tell the right hon. Lady that the monitoring programme is supervised by a special Sub-Committee of the Joint Committee of the Agricultural and Medical Research Councils and the Development Commission on Biological (non-medical) Problems of Nuclear Physics.