HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1195-6
4. Mr. Archer

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make regulations to establish standards relating to the bacteriological content of dairy cream.

38. Mr. Roebuck

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that of 106 samples of dairy cream purchases in London in the summer of 1967 only 20 per cent. were satisfactory bacteriologically according to a study made by the Bacteriology Department of Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, details of which have been sent to him; and whether he will take steps to formulate statutory standards for dairy cream.

Mr. Hoy

My right hon. Friend and his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health are advised that cream has a good record as a safe food. No cases of food poisoning or other illnesses have been attributed to cream contamination with any certainty during the past 10 years. Moreover, I have been glad to note that the dairy trade have recently adopted a code of hygienic practice for cream production, distribution and handling, and this will reduce what risk of infection remains. This code was drawn up by the Milk and Milk Products Technical Advisory Committee which advises my right hon. Friend on all technical matters concerning milk and milk products. In these circumstances, and in the absence of a universally accepted test, regulations laying down a statutory standard would not be justified.

Mr. Archer

While noting with satisfaction my hon. Friend's reference to the new code, may I ask whether he has considered the evidence referred to in Question No. 38? Is London worse than the rest of the country? Would it not be worth looking at again?

Mr. Hoy

We keep a continual watch on all these matters. I do not think London is worse, but contamination can arise through distribution and so on. Obviously we do our best to prevent it.