HC Deb 01 March 1962 vol 654 cc1527-8
41. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in order to curtail the spread of disease by birds, he will ask milk distributors to fit plastic, instead of silver paper, caps on all milk bottles.

The Joint-Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

No, Sir. I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health that he has no medical evidence that would warrant this action.

Mr. Mallalieu

Has the Minister any evidence at all of the great nuisance this is? If he lived in the countryside himself he would know that this is happening every day, and he would know of the very strong feeling there is among country people that disease is produced in this way, and that a great deal of milk is wasted as a consequence?

Mr. Vane

There is no medical evidence to warrant the suggested change. It is true that birds, in their search for food, have discovered that the coloured tops of milk bottles lead them in the direction of something they want, but a very strong case would have to be put up before it was suggested that any substitute for aluminium foil should be employed, and aluminium foil is very useful for this purpose.

Mr. Hayman

Could the hon. Gentleman not arrange with his right hon. Friend to set up some sort of inquiry into the possibility of disease being spread in this way? As he knows, disease is widespread throughout the country?

Mr. Vane

Some attention has certainly been given to this matter, but the evidence is that there is no widespread disease.

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