§ LORD ADDISON rose to call the attention of His Majesty's Government to certain aspects of food policy, with special reference to milk and milk products, and their cleanliness and safety; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Motion that I have to submit to your Lordships to-day has been on the Paper for a long time. It has been altered a little in its wording but substantially it is the same Motion as appeared on the Order Paper several weeks ago. The postponements that have occurred have related to advice given to me from time to time that it would be useful and convenient if the discussion were put off for a little while. Being anxious to do anything I can to facilitate Departmental arrangements those postponements took place. Since it was put on the Paper, and indeed since one of its various postponements, we have happily come into possession of the White Paper which I expect those of your Lordships who are interested have all read; and a very important Paper it is. As a matter of fact the original purpose of my Motion, knowing how extremely urgent is the subject, was to do what I could to promote the production of a White Paper. 772 I felt that the matter was very urgent indeed and I so represented it to the powers that be. I am sure those who know the subject and are interested in it welcome this White Paper. It deals with a matter which has long required treatment, and I rejoice to know that it is at last going to receive comprehensive and rational treatment.
§ It represents with regard to milk, which is the most important of all human foods, a great organized step forward. It means that the State itself is going to see that this vital food not only becomes more popular but is also wholesome, which is very important. There is of course behind this a remarkable story. If nature teaches us anything in this world I think it is that the proper food for a baby is milk. One cannot imagine any other lesson being more strikingly presented by nature. Nevertheless those of us who have an inside knowledge of the practice of feeding infants know that not so long ago in this so-called civilized society that elementary lesson was grievously neglected. In fact, I remember—it must be nearly fifty years ago now—when I was concerned with the maternity department of one of our big London hospitals, being met frequently with acute resentment on the part of the descendants of Mrs. Gamp, because I protested against the little infants being given bread soaked in beer and things called "pobs." These last, I believe, were a kind of biscuit soaked in something or other. It was with indignation that the Mrs. Gamps of those days remonstrated with me on the ground that they only gave the little ones bread soaked in beer in order to keep them quiet. They were surprised when I told them that the reason the children screamed at night was that they had indigestion. Now that is not so very long ago. Every one of us who had first-hand contact in the past with institutions where babies were dealt with had facts like these brought to our notice. It was a gross, strange and unaccountable defiance of the lessons of nature. And we have suffered for it accordingly. In those days, if I remember aright, the death-rate of infants during the first year was somewhere about 150 per thousand. In some parts of the British Isles it was even much higher than that. And no wonder.773
§ Since those days we have, happily, made great advances, and in this sphere I think we ought to-day to pay tribute to pioneers like Alderman Broadbent and many of those who helped to create the early infant and child welfare centres. We ought not to forget, either, Sir George Newman, who did a great piece of very valuable work. Gradually we have seen the sensible application of the lessons of nature bring the infant death-rate down so that it is now about 50 per thousand whereas it used to be 150 per thousand. We all hope that it will soon be lower still. We recognize that we have had the benefit of great advances in research in regard to maternity problems. It has been brought home to us, too, how we have suffered through our neglect of milk as a food and how immensely we have benefited when we have made use of it in a proper way. Your Lordships will recall that there is a group of Peers who have taken an acute interest in these problems and who have issued a memorandum on agricultural policy. Amongst other things we refer at great length to the question of increased milk consumption. Experts tell us that there ought to be an increase of 65 per cent. on our pre-war consumption of liquid milk, and we find that that would mean an addition of something like 700,000,000 gallons to the pre-war figure of consumption. I have no doubt that the total, including this addition, would be by no means an overestimate having regard to the full nutritional requirements of the infants, the nursing mothers and the expectant mothers of this country. But it will go far, very far indeed, to improve national health. It means, of course, that an additional million of milking cows will be needed, cows of a good type, and let us hope therefore that it means a fundamental improvement in that great branch of British agriculture.
§ We have witnessed, since the war began, a most gratifying departure. A State Department for the first time in our history, has, we may say, married nutritional demands to food requirements, and we have benefited immensely as a result. I think the fact that even now we are told on all hands that the health of our children is improved notwithstanding difficulties created by war feeding, docs reflect the enlightened and enterprising activity of the Ministry of Food. In pressing for the increased consumption of milk, Lord 774 Woolton—and I say this in his presence —has put the nation under a debt of gratitude to him. The result of his work in this connexion will be of a very enduring character. But of course when a great State Department urges the necessity and wisdom of increased consumption of milk it is up to that Department to use its best endeavours to see that the milk is good milk. That is where we come to the White Paper. I am very glad that that responsibility is now being accepted in full measure. Of course we do know— it is undeniable—that some diseases may be transmitted by contaminated milk, and other dangers arise from the drinking of dirty milk. At the same time I think we must always be on our guard—whilst fully recognizing any dangers, and planning in any way we can to eliminate them—lest we exaggerate them. For, notwithstanding any risks that there may be, the importance of the public health as a whole is immensely greater than any trivial risk of that kind, and we should still go out for increased consumption of milk. So I do not dwell on that side of the matter very much—I do not think that it is necessary.
§ This White Paper, if I may say so, indicates for the first time that we are going to tackle this question in the right way, and I would like to say a word about that. It says that, we are to begin with the cow, which is a very sensible procedure. In times past our milk and dairy regulation orders and our legislation on this subject rather came into operation after the event. When a complaint arose, the sanitary authority was required to look into it. But it was only when a complaint arose, or when an extra good producer required or applied for a certificate because he proposed to have an accredited herd, that the county council inspectors came in and made inspections. No certificate was given unless the regulations had been fully observed, and that is quite right. But it was only when an application was made that the conditions of milk production were inquired into. No visitation was made in those cases unless a man was keen enough to want to improve his production methods and get a better herd. If he was prepared to carry on with an indifferent herd, and very likely with an indifferent cowshed, there was no action by the authorities. But under this scheme we 775 are beginning at the right place, and, as I happen to know, being associated with the work of a county war agricultural executive committee, there has been, under the direction of the Ministry of Agriculture—and a very fine scheme it is—an inspection of all the herds.
§ I am not going to say much about that, but it does show that there is immense need for improvement, and also that there is an immense and near possibility of improvement. It means that, in some districts, if the cows which have been regularly supplying milk were fed a little more wisely, looked after more carefully, and selected more carefully, we should soon have a breed of cows which would give a much bigger milk yield, and be more profitable to their owners. Active steps are now being taken to weed out undesirables, and also to do everything possible to instruct and guide the owners of milking herds to enable them to improve their own herds. It is a business which will take some considerable time, but the work of these committees amongst the herds shows that we have a very large number of very inadequate premises where these cows are kept, that the water-supply is often very deficient, and that there are often not proper facilities for keeping the utensils clean. There are also many other defects of a like nature on which I shall not enlarge. These things are being tackled now, thanks to the inspiration of the Minister of Agriculture, where the difficulty arises—namely, with the cow itself. I am quite sure that it will not be more than a few years before the milking herds of this country will be immensely improved, not only as to their quality as herds but as to their milk-yields and profit-ability as animals.
§ Alongside that, the Ministry, I think quite properly, take the view that, so long as there is a considerable proportion of milk which is not bacteriologically of the right standard, it is for the Ministry of Food to do what is possible to secure that it is made of the right standard and is wholesome. The method proposed in the White Paper is described as "heat treatment"; which means, I suppose, either pasteurization or sterilization. I think myself—I speak now as a prejudiced person, being a member of the medical profession—that a great deal of nonsense has been talked of damaging 776 milk by pasteurizing it. A child will benefit a great deal by having pasteurized milk rather than none at all. I notice that the Royal College of Physicians unanimously found that milk was not damaged by being pasteurized, and some time ago the British Medical Association came to the same conclusion with, I think, only one dissentient. But, even if there were some trivial destruction of the vitamin content by heat treatment, that could readily be made good in other ways, and what we have to aim at is the immense benefit which will arise to the child-life of the nation by the increased consumption of milk.
§ I am glad, therefore, that the White Paper foreshadows arrangements for the sterilization or pasteurization of the milk, whichever it may be, as and when it is practicable to do so. It cannot be done all over the country at once; we all know that. The organization for the collection and assembly in depots of the milk, the provision of the apparatus and so forth must take a considerable time. I gather from the White Paper that the Minister will begin with the larger centres of population. It will need courage and persistence, but I know of nothing, so far as the improvement of the diet and nutrition of the nation are concerned, which has given me at any rate more encouragement for many years past than this enterprise, and I sincerely hope that it will succeed. I beg to move for Papers.
§ LORD HORDER
My Lords, I too have shared the concern to which my noble friend alluded as the subject of this debate appeared on, and disappeared from, the Order Paper from time to time during the last six months. I wondered for how long my noble friend's complacence would continue, and whether there should not be some limit in the public interest to the Party truce. So far as the country itself is concerned, its patience may be taken, perhaps, as a measure of its confidence in the two Ministers of the Crown primarily concerned in this matter; but perhaps we should remind ourselves that dictators are not the only people whose patience is sometimes liable to be exhausted. However, at long last we have before us the Government's Memorandum on measures to improve the quality of the nation's milk supply, and I think that those of us who have, on medical grounds, for some time urged that 777 steps be taken along these lines, do feel on the whole satisfied with the policy out-lined in the White Paper. But, as my noble friend Lord Addison has in other words remarked, time is of the essence of this contract, as it. is of all contracts. I am not prepared to subscribe to my noble friend's view that the techniques necessary to implement the Government's policy must necessarily take a very long time.
It is good to know that the Government propose to transfer the functions of the local authorities with regard to the conditions under which milk is produced on the farm to the Minister of Agriculture. It is equally satisfactory to find that the Minister of Food proposes to take powers to make it an offence to sell milk by retail in any scheduled area unless the milk is pasteurized or is lawfully sold as "T.T." milk or—and I shall refer to this point again—is sold as the milk of a single ac-credited herd. We have at last a clear definition of the responsibility of the two Ministers concerned, and that is some-thing which we must all welcome. It is an individual responsibility so far as production and distribution are concerned; the Minister of Agriculture is responsible for the production and the Minister of Food for the distribution of clean milk, so as to ensure that the supply of clean milk to the citizen is guaranteed. Both Ministers share this obligation. It is like two trustees signing a cheque; the trust is doubly secure.
There is, however, one exception to this general sense of satisfaction which medical men and women feel with regard to the safeguards outlined by the Government, and that is as to the sale of milk from an accredited herd. I believe I am right in saying that much of this milk is not obtained from tuberculin-tested cows. If this be so why is it not going to be an offence to sell this milk unpasteurized? I hope that my noble friend the Minister of Food will be able to give us some hope that the Government will reconsider this important point. With regard to the Minister of Agriculture's taking over the supervision of the conditions of milk production, it is to be hoped that the local authorities will not ca'canny in the matter of vigilance for clean milk, that is to say, that they will still hold a watching brief for the consumer. Because, as we all know, the supply of skilled veterinary inspectors will for some time 778 be very limited. The efficient working of the Government's policy will require frequent sampling of milk, especially mill supplied to nurses, schools and canteens this sampling should, I think, still be undertaken by local authorities, and should cover bacteriological tests as well as mere tests as to keeping properties.
With all the emphasis that I can find I want to support Lord Addison's plea that we should at long last clean up this milk position. I take it that we are all agreed that that means we begin with the cow, as Lord Addison said, and we end with the milk as it is put into the consumer's hand. All along that line some supervision is necessary. I will not dwell on the present anomaly, which is very obvious. A great many anomalies have been ventilated in your Lordships' House, but surely no greater anomaly than this, that to-day in the year of grace 1943 this nation, priding itself, quite justly, upon its pioneer efforts in hygiene and attention to the common health, should purvey, the Minister of Food condoning, a basic article of food knowing it to be a germ-spreading medium of a very high order, and knowing also that the position is worsening rather than getting better, as a result of difficulties of distribution in the main.
It is sometimes said that we of the medical profession are not unanimous about this matter. This is not true. There is as complete unanimity in the profession on this point as there is on any question in a free country like ours, where a few folk will always take a pleasure in showing their freedom by differing from the great majority. Some three months ago an influential deputation waited upon the Minister of Food urging the need for pasteurization of bulk milk. This deputation included representatives of the three Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association, the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the Joint Tuberculosis Council, the British Pediatrics Association and the People's League of Health— a body which, I may remind your Lord-ships, has been hammering away at this point in the public interest for a number of years. The Prime Minister in a recent broadcast said there is no finer investment for any community than pouring milk into babies There is no difference of opinion, I take it, on the importance of feeding babies with milk, but when 779 we ask what sort of milk we should pour into babies we are faced with this anomaly to which I have referred.
There is one point I should like to stress, because it does not usually get the degree of importance that it deserves. There is a note of drama about tuberculosis which tends to lessen the significance of other diseases which are spread by the use of germ-laden milk. I have in mind undulent fever, septic disease processes in considerable number, scarlet fever, diphtheria and typhoid. The reference to typhoid reminds me of several journeys which I made to Brighton some fifteen years ago when there was an epidemic of malignant streptococcal poisoning, and after some considerable research the milk which spread these cases of streptococcal poisoning was traced to the farm of a man who had earned a very considerable local reputation by keeping a T.T. herd of cows. Of course it is difficult to assess the number of these septic cases which are attributable to milk. We know a good deal more exactly how many cases of bovine tuberculosis occur each year but the morbidity, that is, the pre-valence and the mortality of these cases, taken together, must far outweigh those due to tuberculosis.
Lord Addison has referred to the fact that we are agreed that pasteurization of milk does no harm from the point of view of its nutrient content. How can this basic food be made really safe for children and young adults? I speak of young adults because it is now known that the increased incidence of tuberculosis during the war is due very largely to an increase in the decade fifteen to twenty-five, and in women rather more than in men. And this is a group of young workers who consume a fair quantity of milk; they have some priority for milk, and quite a number of them feed in the factory canteens. There are two ways of dealing with milk so as to make it fit for human consumption. We can take steps to ensure that the cows that provide the milk are free from disease, and that the processes of collection and distribution are clean and not dirty processes. The other way is to pasteurize the milk and so sterilize it as to make it safe for consumption. Both ways are good, and those two ways are not incompatible.
It is, I suppose, a weakness of the human mind that it is sometimes found 780 difficult to keep two ideas clearly together at the same time. A good deal of the controversy about pasteurization has been due to the supposition that those of us who advocate pasteurization are not in favour of starting with the cow and seeing that so far as is possible the milk originally produced from the cow is as clean as may be. We favour both these policies—the long-term policy and the short-term policy. The long-term policy is not enough. It will take several de-cades before anything like complete cleanliness is effected at, if I may use the expression, the cow end. I was a little surprised at my noble friend's optimism when he said it should not take long to effect this. I think it will take several decades. I have in mind, amongst other things, the status of the veterinary profession and the paucity of numbers in that profession. We have the best stock in the world—that is admitted—but though I speak subject to correction in the presence of the noble Duke (the Duke of Norfolk), we have quite a long way to go in the care with which we look after our stock. I do not know how much we have done in this country to express our sympathy with, and to encourage, veterinary science. We are beginning to do something now in the way of an educational trust for veterinary science. We have only begun to do that. Even that is a voluntary effort. We must do more to encourage intelligent men and women to enter the ranks of veterinary science.
There is a third alternative by which our milk can be made fit for human consumption, and that is by boiling it. Shall we pour boiled milk into babies? This alternative cannot be considered, for two reasons. In the first place, boiling milk does definitely lower its nutritive value whereas pasteurization does not. In the second place, if you warn mothers that they must not give milk to their babies unless it is boiled, you are stigmatizing milk, you are sabotaging a basic food, you prevent thousands of mothers from giving it at all, and you lower the popularity of milk in such a way as adversely to affect its production. It will be a bad day—but judging by the White Paper that day is averted—when the Minister of Food comes to the microphone telling the women of Britain that they must boil their milk, and explaining why. So my noble friend was faced with a dilemma. Either he must continue to purvey a dirty, germ-laden 781 food, or he must warn the country that rnilk must be boiled before it is consumed. Of course the Minister of Food decided to pasteurize milk—that is bulked milk. This policy no doubt means devising appropriate and efficient methods of processing. My noble friend is not unaccustomed to exploit new techniques and, if I may say so, following the general view that has been expressed about my noble friend's work, his exploitation of new techniques has not been unsuccessful. The contrary, rather, is the case. What these new techniques of processing for the purposes of pasteurization are to be is not my job to say. We can understand that in these days, with steel in short supply, pasteurizing plants cannot be multiplied in-definitely, but that their number can be considerably increased, and that milk can be bulked to a greater extent even than at present, is not impracticable. If it is a question of releasing steel to make the pasteurizing plants, dare I say that, since we release steel in large quantities for the destruction of life, it might not be a bad thing to release a little for the preservation of life?
There are people who say that this must wait until after the war. It cannot wait, and one of the chief reasons for my saying it cannot wait is that the position worsens rather than improves. My noble friend the Minister of Food admitted in your Lordships' House recently that a lot of T.T. milk finds no market as such. The White Paper gives us no assurance that this position will improve in the near future. A large quantity of T.T. milk is mixed with dirty milk. The producer still gets his subsidy out of the Exchequer, but the consumer does not get the milk for which he is paying an extra price. We have been told that this system of making milk safe by pasteurization is likely to drive the small producer-retailer out of business. We should all regret that. All the same, I believe that the public is sufficiently educated in this matter to prefer milk that is safe to milk that is what is termed "straight from the cow." The cover offered to the small producer-retailer by the proposals of the White Paper should disabuse people's minds of the idea of hardship inflicted upon him. I believe that even my noble friend Lord Beaverbrook would be satisfied with the equity that is proposed to be shown to the small producer-retailer. If the technique needed to pasteurize all bulked milk 782 eventually results in the shutting down of some of the dirtier milk-handling and distributing premises, so much the better for the community. The country spends many millions a year in subsidizing out food supplies. Could any subsidy be better spent than in bringing about an equitable adjustment of this situation so as to protect the citizen, and especially the children, against a danger that has been in our midst, as my noble friend Lord Addison said, far too long?
§ LORD TEVIOT
My Lords, it had been my intention to say a word or two about food and then come to milk, but in view of the fact that the debate has ranged itself round milk, I intend to cut out the earlier part of my speech, as I believe there are other noble Lords who wish to speak on this subject. First of all, let me say that I am a convinced opponent of tampering with food of any sort what-ever. I believe that illnesses, and the danger of illnesses, come to people through eating or drinking too much food that has been tampered with. I am going to show your Lordships that I am justified in that opinion. I can quote very numerous and very eminent men of science and medicine who take exactly the same view, and with whom I have been in touch for many years. I have seen the results of all their experiments. Those men, so far as I know, have had no opportunity of putting the results of their experiments and their experience before those who are advising my noble friend on this matter of milk. In spite of all my noble friend has said, I take the view that with pasteurized milk you get more tuberculosis than with raw milk, and I hope to be able to put forward some definite evidence as to that.
I do not suppose there is anyone in this House who happens to do a little farming, as I do, who would dare to raise their calves on pasteurized milk. It has been tried, and I have some evidence to show the result of it. Yet we propose to give to our children milk that we would not give to our calves. Your Lordships know what a delicate and very sensitive liquid milk is. We know—and I thought my noble friend who has just sat down was coming to the evidence of this—that some people say pasteurized milk does not take up germs like raw milk. But now we know quite definitely that pasteurized milk does take up germs, whether more so 783 or equally so with raw milk I cannot say. Your Lordships will remember the devastating epidemic that broke out in Montreal in 1937. There were 5,000 cases of typhoid and 500 deaths and all of these persons had been drinking pasteurized milk. It was said at first "It is the milk that has caused this." Later that was found not to be so. It was found that there was a typhoid carrier in the works that pasteurized this milk, and that was where the infection came from. That shows conclusively, to me, at any rate, that pasteurized milk picks up evil germs in exactly the same way as raw milk.
There is a great difference of opinion on this question. I have read all the opinions I have been able to get hold of on both sides, and I come down on the side of raw milk. But I entirely agree with my noble friend who opened the debate and also with my noble friend Lord Horder that the way to deal with this matter is to deal with the cow, to clean up the herds. I do not think I agree with my noble friend Lord Addison in one respect. I do not think this would take very long, and for this reason. We have attacks of foot-and-mouth disease and it does not take very long, if you are drastic enough, to clear out the animals suffering from that disease. Can-not some sort of scheme of the same kind, equally drastic, be adopted to apply in the same way to milking herds where tuberculosis is undoubtedly evident?
It is said that tuberculosis is on the increase. This is really interesting. Your Lordships will be aware that up to the age of fifteen there is a diminution of tuberculosis since the war. It is with the older ages that it is increasing. Why is that so? Are we absolutely certain that this increase in tuberculosis is entirely due to milk? May it not be due to other causes? Many of your Lordships have visited some of the great war factories, as I have done, and have seen there the conditions under which people have to work. Unfortunately, due to the war, there are cases in which, while everything is done to improve ventilation and to preserve the health of the people working at the factories—I have myself been to such factories—I would not have been in the least surprised to learn that quite a number of the people employed there were suffering from tuberculosis due to 784 the conditions under which they had to work.
Then we have an immense number of children who have been evacuated to the country. Their health has been enormously improved, due to a great extent no doubt to their new environment, to the fresh air that they get. In the majority of these cases the children are just getting the local milk, unpasteurized milk, and I understand that these children are not, as a consequence of this experience, contracting tuberculosis, Then what about dried milk? I do not know the process of making dried milk but do we know quite certainly that the milk which is eventually dried and used all over the country is free from tuberculosis? And what about butter? I am a butter-maker myself and I am not aware that you can pasteurize milk and then make butter out of it; in fact I am pretty certain you cannot do so. Then again I believe it is laid down that milk which has been pasteurized must not be heated again. What about the baby's bottle? What about the milk pudding? And what about the milk for coffee? Milk for these purposes has to be heated a second time; yet we are told that pasturized milk must not be heated. Then there is the question of raw milk when it has become sour owing to thundery weather. You can use such sour milk, but if pasteurized milk goes wrong it becomes putrid and rancid and you cannot use it at all.
I am putting these ideas forward in order to show the dangers of pasteurization. And another thing I should like to mention is this. I used to have a Jersey herd and I used to go over to the island of Jersey to buy my young bulls. I did so for two reasons. One was that they never, as far as I knew, had had foot-and-mouth disease in the island, and another was that they did not have tuberculosis in their herds. Yet here is a curious thing. Everybody who has been to Jersey knows that there is a tragedy in almost every home owing to tuberculosis amongst the people. There you have cows which for generations have apparently been immune from tuberculosis, yet you have many instances of tuberculosis in the island. I have seen it over and over again. Many friends of mine, from whom I have bought bulls, have a daughter or a son who is a complete invalid owing to tuberculosis.
785 Then there is a question of testing the herds. These of your Lordships who have had a great many cows know that there is not a satisfactory test to-day. There are cows which will react to-day, but if you separate the cow and try her again in three months she may be found to be perfectly all right. The testing is not satisfactory. I know one of the greatest herds in England. A relative of mine is connected with it and does an immense export business. He has two herds. In one the cows have never reacted at all in regard to anything, in the other where they give them a chance they react a second time; but there have been in the second herd beasts that have taken prizes in milk tests and also in shows. Among those who have had animals tested and continue to have them tested, there is no difference of opinion that there is no satisfactory test at the present moment. I want to ask my noble friend, when he replies, to tell us if he has any information as to whether dead microbes in milk are injurious. Perhaps your Lordships will remember a rather amusing story told the other day of a farmer's wife who, after an inspector had looked round the dairy and herd, was told, "Everything is very good, but you are lacking one thing. You should have a pasteurization plant." The farmer's wife asked, "What is that?" and was told, "You see, there are a lot of dangerous diseases that come from milk. Microbes in the milk are dangerous to the health of the people, and by pasteurization they are killed." The reply of the farmer's wife was, '' No, I do not think I will have it. I would rather drink live microbes than swallow a cemetery." Do we know definitely that when milk contains dead microbes it is perfectly safe to drink?
From all I can see there is no justification at the present time for embarking on this scheme of pasteurization without a great deal more research. Your Lordships will know that in all these questions we are far behind other countries in research. Let us concentrate on cleaning up the herds, particularly the bulls—it should not be impossible in quite a reasonable time to do this—and also on some economic scheme by which we can convey from the cow to the consumer clean milk. There are many people who have had to do with children in large numbers. Thou-sands of children have passed through Dr. Barnado's Homes, for instance. 786 There is no question as far as Dr. Macdonald is concerned that he prefers raw milk to pasteurized milk for them. We know that of people who have tuberculosis, one in nine is supposed to get it from the cow. We have got to be very careful in this matter. I think I am right in saying that on research not more than £500,000 per annum is spent, whereas I understand between £400,000,000 and £500,000,000 is spent on hospitals, clinics and all the various organizations in the country that try to cure people of the illnesses from which they suffer. It is of course a very difficult thing. You may have milk pasteurized, you may have milk from a tested herd, you may have it put into a clean bottle, but when the bottle is taken in at the door and the milk is poured into a jug, unless the jug is sterilized or very carefully cleaned you get danger immediately and all the good work is completely neutralized.
I have always wondered whether milk is the real evil or whether it is only the primary culprit. We ought also to look to a great many other things. Such things as poverty, overcrowding, slums, bad housing, insanitary conditions generally are the culprits. I understand that in Japan no child is given milk after it is weaned, and yet we have this amazing record that in 1934 there were 131,000 deaths from tuberculosis compared with 30,000 here and 47,000 in Germany. Let us take the case of London. London still has non-pulmonary tuberculosis, although I understand go per cent, of the milk sold in London is pasteurized. How is that accounted for? Does it not make one wonder whether this tampering with milk is the right thing to do? So far as I am concerned, I would like to see it left severely alone and a very drastic policy laid down that dairy herds, and particularly the bulls, should be cleaned up.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I shall not attempt the task of controverting the case to which we have just listened with so much interest against the pasteurization of milk, partly because I am not competent to do it. I should like to say, however, that I have been associated since the beginning of the war, and in-deed for some years before the war, with the Government's research workers on this question and with the practical workers, and I have never found the 787 slightest doubt in their minds about the very great value of pasteurization or heat treatment. In that respect I should say their views corresponded closely with those of my noble friend Lord Horder. There is general agreement that in a modern war—and the war has already lasted long—a great advantage will arise to that side which has the better stamina and morale. My noble friend Lord Wool-ton has made a tremendous contribution to this aspect of our war effort and has earned the gratitude of his fellow country-men. Under the adverse circumstances of war he has actually improved the national health. As Cicero puts it, "In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men."In those circumstances, I should be the last person to say a word that would detract from this great achievement, the more so that my noble friend has applied the methods of the Medical Research Council that I ventured to bring before your Lord-ships in one of my earlier speeches on July 12, 1939.
If, while welcoming this new measure as a step in advance, I make a single comment on a single aspect of this single question of milk, I hope my noble friend will appreciate that I do so only in order to make a constructive suggestion. The point has been already touched on by my noble friend Lord Horder, but—after taking expert advice, I need not say—I want to develop it a little. The point arises on paragraph 26 of the White Paper. There it is laid down that the Minister of Food will be empowered by regulation to make it an offence to sell milk by retail in any area which he may schedule unless either "(i) it is heat treated as defined by Order"—I have no criticism there—or ''(ii) it is lawfully sold as T.T. milk"—I have no criticism there —or "(iii) it is accredited milk sold by a retailer," and so forth. Now that is the point. It is the accredited milk. According to my information, accredited milk does not deserve to be put in the same category as either heat-treated milk or tuberculin tested milk. Figures from different parts of the country are reported to me to show that from about six to seven per cent, of farms in this country are sending out milk containing tubercle bacilli, and that about 5.6 per cent, of samples of accredited milk are infected with tubercle bacilli.
788 It is true, of course, as has been mentioned, that accredited herds are inspected—I think it is about four times a year. But the claim, according to my information, is that by veterinary inspection alone it is impossible to detect the early stages of udder tuberculosis, just as it is impossible by clinical inspection alone to detect the early stages of pulmonary tuberculosis in human beings. I am assured that bacteriological examination of the milk is required to detect the early stages of udder tuberculosis, in much the same way as radio-logical examination is required to detect the early stages of pulmonary tuberculosis. If this is correct, the term "accredited" is a misnomer, and gives the public a false sense of confidence. I submit that to complete the noble Lord's scheme this gap must be closed. My suggestion is that if tubercle bacilli are found in accredited milk, then the medical officer of health should be em-powered to see that the milk is temporarily diverted to a plant for heat treatment until such time as the diseased cow can be eliminated from the herd—at any rate, that this course should be adopted in relation to accredited milk in scheduled areas. I gather from paragraphs 31 and 32 of the White Paper that the producer-retailer will not suffer financially by having his milk submitted to heat treatment. I would also point out that children are susceptible to tuberculosis, and it would be unwise to allow raw milk, even from single accredited herds, to be supplied to them. I am well aware of the number of parties interested, and of the number of Government Departments interested, in this controversial question. I am fully aware, also, of the herculean task that my noble friend has had to undertake in getting agreement on this White Paper, which I believe has taken some time. But I do ask him to consider most carefully the simple suggestion I have made, and to carry his great work further by its adoption.
§ LORD GLENTANAR
My Lords, at this late hour I would not try to detain your Lordships for too long, but there are certain aspects of this most interesting and long-sought-for White Paper which I would crave your Lordships' indulgence to bring to your notice. I would very humbly suggest to your Lordships that it would be a pity if the debate in your Lordships' House were to become too 789 much a debate on the relative merits and dangers of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, because in devoting too much attention to this subject, which has been so long argued and supported by authorities on both sides, we may get stuck with regard to the more important long-term policy to which I hope the great majority of your Lordships would subscribe—the policy which has for its object the production of clean milk in this country. Most of us will agree, I think, that dealing with unclean milk, in any way, can never be a satisfactory alternative to the production of clean milk. Starting with that assumption, I would like to make a few observations upon the White Paper and upon the measures suggested for improving the quality of the nation's milk supply.
In the third paragraph of the preamble this is said:The basis of a sound milk policy, whether from the point of view of the economics of production or the quality of the product, is a well-bred, healthy, dairy herd.Later on, paragraph 5, the last of the preamble, states:A long-term programme for a general grading up of the national dairy herd with a view to increasing milk yields and improving the stamina of the animals will itself result in an improvement in the quality of the milk produced since the type of animal which is most susceptible to disease will be gradually eliminated.Now I am sorry to say that in this paragraph I find what appears to me to be a very large number of contradictory terms. Those who for many years have had to do with milk production and pedigree herds are being increasingly convinced, I believe, that the increasing of milk yields, by producing selected animals specialized for the job of giving milk, and feeding those animals in a special way to make them produce still more milk, is one which is very seriously undermining the health of our daily herds to-day. Therefore, it is questionable whether, beyond, at any rate, a certain optimum line, it is possible to increase milk yields without destroying the stamina rather than improving the stamina of our cows.
If I may be allowed to refer to a personal experience extending over twenty years, for the first ten years I had the best-bred milk animals I could find, and housed them in the best way that I could, 790 fed them in what I was then told was the best way possible—I do not believe it now —and had them looked after by the most expert people. During those ten years, I always had a certain proportion of animals which reacted to the tuberculin test—a rather unpleasant proportion, though not nearly so large as in some other cases of which I knew. After ten years had elapsed, I felt that something was wrong, and I began pressing the animals less, giving them less protein to eat. The number of reactors immediately fell, and when, going further, I substituted animals of a less highly-specialized type, I succeeded in eliminating the reactors completely.
A Departmental Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, in 1925, said in their Report:It is believed that during the greater part of the lactation period a heavy milking cow suffers a net loss of certain mineral elements from her body, and that on account of this loss she is liable to get into a state of malnutrition, and that as a result of malnurition her health, breeding capacity and milk-yield in subsequent lactations, are affected.We have to face what I fear is a very dreadful fact. The average productive life of a dairy cow in these islands is no greater than three lactations. I quote from the Loveday Report of 1938. The Committee on Cattle Diseases of the Economic Advisory Council in 1934 said that the milking life of a dairy cow is only half that which might be expected under ideal conditions. I feel that that is an indication that we arc going to get into trouble if we pursue a policy of regarding the cow as a machine which can be speeded up just as the aeroplane engine can be speeded up with a supercharger.
I pass from that to a later paragraph in the White Paper, paragraph 12:The Attested Herds Scheme has been for the past ten years a feature of Government policy. A valuable reservoir of tubercle-free cattle has been provided by the very consider-able number of herds within the scheme.We have in England, Wales and Scotland, certain oases, if I may so describe them, of healthy cows, certain concentrations of attested herds. I am sorry that the Government's proposals do not at least adumbrate the possibility of a long-term policy to deal more radically with this cleaning-up of our dairy cattle. This job has been done in other countries. In the United States of America, where the prob- 791 lem was tackled more than twenty-five years ago, in 1901 the incidence of tuberculosis was considered to be as high as 22 per cent. Last December the United States celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of their co-operative bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme. This scheme was started in 1917, when the country was in the midst of war. The Americans set themselves the task of reducing the incidence of tuberculosis to the low figure of 0.5 per cent. It took them 23 years to do it, and it was done only by adopting a policy of eradication. Although I quite realize that it would not be possible to start during the war a wholesale scheme of eradication by the slaughter of animals definitely proved to be unhealthy, owing to the very adverse effect which it would have on the production of milk, could not we start it in some counties, in some herds, in some areas, where, owing to the large proportion of healthy cattle, the loss of animals would be relatively small? I wonder whether the Government would consider looking a little further ahead, and at least outlining some policy of eradication by slaughter to take place when and how it can be introduced.
It is the Government's intention—and that intention has been supported by several speeches in your Lordships' House —that their policy should be to encourage the production of clean milk, and producers of clean milk arc to be given an advantage. Without going into figures, I hope that this advantage will afford a sufficient inducement, and that it will apply fairly to the producer-retailer as well as to producers and retailers separately. Not only have the advantages to the consumer had to be considered, but no doubt the great question of the difficulties of the distributor has had to bulk largely in the mind of the Government in coming to decisions on their policy. There are some ways of keeping milk clean between the place of production and the place of consumption which have not been suggested. I would refer to the use of refrigerated transport vehicles. In peace-time we could all buy ice cream from little vehicles labelled "Stop Me and Buy One," and similar vehicles on a larger scale could, I suggest, deal adequately with the transport of milk from the country to the city.
Again, if we agree that as a temporary measure, and as a temporary measure 792 only, it is necessary to sterilize milk in some way to avoid the danger to the child and to the adolescent, are there not other and less injurious ways in which the milk might be treated? I would refer to the use of the ultra-violet sterilizer, which I understand, although in its experimental stage as regards milk, has been used successfully in practice in sterilizing very large quantities of water at a very rapid pace. I imagine your Lord-ships will be of opinion that sterilization of milk by such a method would have very much less injurious effects upon both the chemical and the physical constituents of the liquid. Perhaps we might hear from the noble Lord who will speak on behalf of the Government or the noble Lord, Lord Horder, who has given us such an interesting speech to-day, whether such a method could be further experimented with.
I note that Scotland has had a pat on the back in regard to the cleanliness of its milk. Many of us must feel that those who have given that praise to Scottish producers take a rather rosy view. It is quite true that it is not satisfactory at present; whether or not improvement can be effected by leaving the method of inspection and so forth in the hands of local authorities is a matter which some of us perhaps doubt a little. We are inspected in milk production by not less than five different kinds of inspectors at present; whether that is going to be a practical method or not in the long run is a matter which may have to be reconsidered. When we come to the end of the White Paper we read that all possible steps will be taken to improve the quality of milk as it leaves the farm, and if that intention is carried out by His Majesty's Government in the measures which they bring in, and if we can feel assured that the long-term policy will not be endangered, either by the method or the extent of the temporary makeshifts which are introduced, we shall feel that a very great step has been taken, not only from the point of view of the consumer but from the point of view of sociological improvement generally.
§ THE EARL OF IVEAGH
My Lords, unfortunately the hour is late, and one is tempted to take up the points made by several speakers. I would, however, like to say that I have tried to produce the cleanest and best milk for over twenty-five years, and have been the Chairman 793 of the T.T. Milk Producers' Association. We have had to change our name several times. We were always aiming at the same object, but this milk has had its name changed several times. The Government have now, as far as I can see, grasped the nettle, and I would like to thank the Minister for what he is doing. If we look at the history of this movement, it began by asking how we could get clean milk at all, leaving out microbes of every sort. Then we began to try and clear the herds of tuberculosis. The test is always being changed. At the moment I think it is most satisfactory; that is to say, we do not have to throw out the same number of animals from our herds. Apparently we used to have animals attacked by other diseases than those which attack human beings. Now the cows are more often allowed to stay in our herds, and I think other improvements have taken place. There is no doubt that one's herd is more healthy from that form of testing.
Besides that more progress was made, but when we had produced the milk we were up against the question, who is going to buy it? After spending a great deal of time and money in trying to advertise small quantities of milk, and succeeding in getting a proportion of the population of certain limited areas to be willing to take it, there seemed to be a limit to the demand for this high-class milk. If the Government are going to take the responsibility of selling it "Thank you" is all I can say, because it seems to me that that removes the limiting factor. The farmer has a certain amount of pride in his work and does not like to see his best milk—as I know is done with some of mine—pushed into a vat with all the dirty milk of others, after which it is cleaned again by some process which I do not think can improve the milk and is probably pasteurized— quite rightly—after that. But that does not improve it.
I think that this White Paper is a step, and a great step, in the right direction. It will ensure that there will be some central authority to see that the milk effort is not altogether wasted. I know that we we cannot expect reform to be carried through at once, but hitherto there was nobody to try to improve the methods of transport. The noble Lord who spoke last asked us to do what the Americans have done. Well, 794 I understand the Americans were a very rich country once upon a time, and they were willing to pay an adequate price for all the animals slaughtered. That was very nice for the American farmer. But I am not sure how far it was necessary. I believe at that time there were too many cows, and too much milk was produced. Perhaps that was why the Americans cleaned up their herds and, I have no doubt, slaughtered a great many animals that it was not necessary to slaughter, be-cause they were not a danger to human life, but on the other hand they may not have improved the health of the cow community.
As regards the point raised by my noble friend Lord Teviot, that adequate experiment has not been carried out on pasteurization, I can assure him, as Chairman of the National Institute for Research in Dairying, that we took a great number of years before we satisfied our-selves that pasteurization really did not make any great difference to the quality of the milk. We have fed calves; it was on calves that the experiment was made. There have also been experiments to a considerable extent on school children, with the same admirable negative result. It is very difficult to prove a negative, but on the whole there is no doubt that raw milk from the ordinary farm ought to be pasteurized. It will be important to see whether you cannot eliminate the worst farms—farms that have no water so that it is impossible for them to get clean milk. Let us be thankful for what we have got at the moment. When I say thankful, I do not mean that I shall not have considerable correspondence, as Chairman of the Tuberculin-Tested Milk Producers' Association, with the various Departments which are going to administer the scheme, because there are certain people who think they will get rather less money for their milk. Are you, after the war, going to deprive people who used to buy milk that had been bottled at a particular dairy and from a particular cow under tuberculin-tested conditions? Might they not pay more, because it takes more time and more effort to have an individual trade of that sort?
But these are small details at the moment. Also I do not know whether some of us have read the White Paper aright, but it seems as if the veterinary surgeons who, as Lord Horder has already pointed out, are overworked at present, 795 will be overwhelmed for some years to come. It almost looks in the White Paper as if they are to be responsible for a number of inspections for which I do not think they are particularly well qualified—the inspection of the farm and that part of the process by which reasonably clean milk can be produced, the inspection of farm buildings, utensils, milking machines, and so on. I have no doubt that is a small matter, and that the people now engaged in the work—and doing it very well according to their numbers— will still go on doing that most essential supervision. In conclusion, after working at this for twenty-five years, I should like again to say "Thank you," because one begins to see another step by which all the milk of the country will ultimately be of the highest standard that is possible, under scientific conditions and control, to put before the public. I hope that day will not be as far off as some noble Lords think, though I, too, have my doubts.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
My Lords, I have been listening with great attention to the speech of my noble friend Lord Iveagh. It was a most interesting speech, partly because it came from a man of vast experience, but it was the case of the T.T. producer. It is the equivalent in the cow of what comes from the horse's mouth. I am perfectly certain that Lord Glentanar has also a T.T. herd. I was particularly interested in Lord Iveagh's suggestion that all milk should be pasteurized. My noble friend Lord Horder in his magnificent speech made a very fine case for pasteurization—a case that moved me very much —but I can assure Lord Teviot that he need not be greatly concerned about this scheme, for this is indeed a very small measure of pasteurization, very small in-deed. It is a scheme so limited in scope that it docs not involve any very great advance in pasteurization. For my part I welcome the scheme. I may say to Lord Horder that I feel the producer-retailer is being fairly considered in the scheme as at present laid down; I think so. The plan is, in fact, the pasteurization of milk below the accredited level and below the accredited level only. There-fore those of us who speak for the producer-retailer, for the little man, raise no objection.
§ THE MINISTER OF FOOD (LORD WOOLTON)
Below the accredited level from one herd. I think that is important.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
That is important. Milk that is below the accredited level should be treated by any method which is likely to increase its safety, and the opinion of Lord Horder and others must be taken into account. There is a further limitation of the scheme in that it applies only to scheduled areas. These scheduled areas are the great centres of population, so it will not apply at all in the country districts. The Government are giving a bonus of 4d. a gallon to the tuberculin-tested milk producers—that is the association headed by Lord Iveagh— and that is a very good thing too. It is a proper method and the right method, it seems to me, of providing milk to the community—milk that is safe to the community as far as professional opinion considers milk of that type should be supplied. But care must be taken to see that the T.T. milk is not corrupted as in the past by mixing it with other types of milk. The danger of T.T. milk being a method of getting benefit for the producer wants to be guarded against. We do not want it as a benefit for the T.T. producers; they do very well. We want it to be an advantage to the consumer so that the consumer may be induced to buy and use T.T. milk. It would be improper to pay too heavy a premium to the T.T. producer, and there is that danger. A heavy premium on T.T. milk means you will not confer any benefit on the public at all; you will merely give a bonus to the producers. It will be the duty of the Government to try and create a demand for T.T. milk if it is desirable. It will be the duty of the Government to endeavour to create a demand so that the consumer really desires a supply of T.T. milk.
Care must be given in pasteurization plants too. Some of us are very suspicious of the pasteurization plants now in operation. My noble friend Lord Teviot said to-day that 90 per cent, of the milk in London is pasteurized, yet tuberculosis is rampant in London. I suggest that may be due to defects in the pasteurization system, so perhaps considerable care should be given to looking after pasteurization. This is certain, that pasteurization is no menace to the good small man—no menace at all. But care must be taken if you extend the system of pasteurization that you do not prejudice the small man to the benefit of the combines now or in the future. The 797 system of pasteurization, if extended, is a real danger in that respect. It has been suggested that the National Farmers' Union looks after the small man, but it does nothing of the sort. It is a body entirely concerned with the big farmers and it does nothing to look after the small man's interest. It is run for the benefit of the big farmers.
The whole distribution system of pasteurized and accredited milk requires study by the retailers, and very close study. I share with others the very high opinion that has been expressed here to-day of the Minister of Food. If I may say so, I think his administration has been a pattern of good work. All the same the distribution system, what is called rationalization, practised during the winter of 1942 and 1943 has brought us no benefits at all. During that winter the price of distribution per gallon rose higher in the industry than ever before. It reached the very highest pitch. That was due to the Ministry's system of making what is called functional payments. As a result of these functional payments what the noble Lord saved on the swings he lost on the roundabouts. The Ministry of Food cannot show a penny of saving as the result of rationalization. The price of the pint of milk has not been reduced. There has been no economy whatsoever. There certainly have been big savings somewhere as the result of rationalization. There has been big money in it and for my part I should like to know who has got the money.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
Then of course we shall have some account of the money that the Treasury has got. I should like to know to what extent the Treasury has benefited.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
I should like to get an account of the benefit that has been conferred on the Treasury. So far as we can see, the system of rationalization has not resulted in any saving to the community. There has been no saving whatever so far as the community is concerned, and the system has meant no improvement in the service whatever; in fact the service is worse than it was before rationalization was launched. It has not 798 meant any real saving in man-power as far as we can see because the numbers that have been diverted elsewhere from the industry of distributing milk do not equal the numbers that have been taker into the Food Ministry in a similar period of time.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
I am only asking for information. If the noble Lord can give me the information I shall be glad, but if he cannot disclose it 1 will make no complaint if he does not give it. What I would like to know is what is the saving in man-power, and I would point out that whatever it is it has been offset by a very considerable absorption of manpower in the Food Ministry.
§ LORD WOOLTON
I should be very glad to give the noble Lord the figures, but I should want notice because I have not the figures in my head at the moment.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
I would certainly like to have the figures because I cannot see that rationalization has made any economy in the price of milk to the community or that it has brought any improvement in the service. On the contrary, it is worse. I cannot see the saving in man-power, but I can see that a great deal of money has been made. If it has gone to the Treasury we shall all rejoice for the relief to the Treasury. I should like to ask my noble friend another question if I may, while I am on the subject of the producer-retailer and of the hardships that he has to endure on account of the prices at which milk is sold to the United Dairies, to the Express Dairies and the Co-operative Societies—a price much lower than the figure at which the producer-retailer has been able to buy it. There has been a real advantage to the big combines. I would like to ask this question and I will not complain if I get no answer. What are the multiple shop allowances, the number of multiple shop allowances, which result in goods being sold to the big combines at cheaper 799 prices than to the retail dealers? Perhaps this is not the occasion on which to raise that question and perhaps my noble friend would prefer that I should raise it on another occasion. It is said that if a multiple shop has fifty branches there is a special price for that multiple shop.
§ LORD BEAVERBROOK
Thank you; not to-day, I understand. I am interested in this steady pressure that is going on which is resulting in damage and even destruction to many a small man. It is going on now not only in the milk industry but in shop keeping generally. The Ministry's policy, it seems to me, is directed to giving the big man an advantage over the little man whether it be in milk or in groceries. The Food Ministry has done well in distributing food that is in short supply, but it is the duty of noble Lords in this House, no matter how well the Ministry of Food is doing, none the less to see that the small man is studied on every occasion and in every circumstance. I should like to have an assurance that the small man will be given equal treatment with the big combines, certainly in relation to the sale and distribution of milk. The little man is not getting the same deal as that which goes to the big combines, to the United Dairies, the Express Dairies, and the Cooperative Societies.
My Lords, I wish to ask my noble friend two questions, put very briefly. First of all I would like to say how warmly I support the Motion raised by my noble friend Lord Addison, and in particular the very pertinacious remarks made by my noble friend Lord Horder. I take it, however, that the aim which the noble Lord who is to reply for His Majesty's Government has in view is merely a temporary measure, that pasteurization and other safeguards will be introduced only until such time as he is able to eradicate tuberculosis from the herds. I take it that the complete eradication of tuberculosis from cattle in Great Britain is his aim. If that is so, I wonder if he can give us some information as to how long he estimates this interim period will take. Then, too, perhaps, the noble Lord is aware of certain suggestions of a 800 regulation that was in force when the American Forces came over here in regard to the consumption of British milk. I believe it would be right to say that they were either advised or ordered not to consume milk because of its dangers and that milk in some form, dehydrated or otherwise, was brought over here for their consumption because of this danger. That being so, that very much points the moral to the better arrangements that have been put into effect in the United States of America that were referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Addison. Perhaps when my noble friend comes to reply he will give some information on those two matters.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, I did not intend to intervene in this debate. There is only one point I would like to put to the noble Lord, a point that was impressed on me very strongly only this morning. It was, I think, mentioned in this debate by another speaker. One of the main limitations in improving the milk supply of this country at present is the need for an adequate water supply on the farms. At the moment there is a very excellent Government scheme for giving farmers and landowners a 50 per cent. grant for the installation of a water supply. I know that literally hundreds of schemes are held up in the offices of the war agricultural committees, fully approved of by those committees and by the Ministry of Agriculture, because nothing can be done owing to there not being a sufficient supply of pipes. If, therefore, the noble Lord could get into contact with his colleague the Minister of Supply, so as to ensure a more adequate supply of water pipes, I think a very big practical advance could be made at once. That is all I have to say. I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but having done so, I would like to add a word to say that, in company with other noble Lords, I welcome this White Paper most deeply, because I think it is a most satisfactory solution, as far as it goes, to a very difficult problem. I congratulate the noble Lord on the way in which he has handled the subject.
§ LORD GEDDES
My Lords, I do not want to make a speech, but I just want to ask one question. Will the noble Lord in replying give, if he can, some indication of the proportion of the milk that he expects within the next twelve months to 801 have pasteurized or sterilized, or at all events heat treated? It is not at all clear from the White Paper.
§ LORD WOOLTON
My Lords, I confess that I have prepared, as is my duty in courtesy to you, a very careful speech in reply to the debate that has taken place to-day, but the hour is very late and I do not think I will deliver it. I am going to try just to answer some of the questions that have been asked without attempting to make any sort of speech. The noble Lord, Lord Geddes, very rightly, if I may go into the vernacular, asked me if I would get down to brass ticks and tell him exactly what is going to happen. I shall be very glad to do so. Let me give the background. In some centres very little remains to be done. In London 96 per cent. of the milk is already pasteurized, in Manchester 85 per cent. and in Glasgow 70 per cent. In the areas of over ten thousand population—and those are the areas, as the noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, indicated, with which we are dealing—65 per cent. of the milk is already in pasteurized form. Our estimate is that within the course of the next few months we shall be able to increase the amount of pasteurized milk from 65 per cent. by another 15 per cent., and that in the course of a year from that time— eighteen months from now—we shall be able to cover the whole of the country in which we have introduced rationalization schemes. The problem before His Majesty's Government is to get a sufficiency of new plant to deal with this increased quantity of milk. As a result of the introduction of rationalization we have taken away from the private citizen the freedom of choice of retailer. As the noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, said, we have considerably reduced the amount of service which we are giving to the milk consumer.
§ LORD GEDDES
May I interrupt the noble Lord? Does that mean that in twelve months all the mixed milk will be heat treated?
§ LORD WOOLTON
Yes, in a period of eighteen months all the bulked milk that is not accredited from a single herd I hope will be heat treated.
All those centres in which we have introduced rationalization schemes—that is, in centres with a population of over ten thousand.
§ LORD GEDDES
The point I was trying to make is this. Is the bulked milk, which as we know in certain cases has been proved very dangerous, confined to the areas in which the noble Lord's Ministry has introduced rationalization schemes? Is there other bulked milk which will not be treated?
§ LORD WOOLTON
No. As a broad statement the rationalization schemes will deal with all the places where we have what we call bulked milk. I am not trying, as I hope the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, knows, to evade the question he has asked me. I hope I am giving a very precise answer. We shall, I hope, have covered the whole of that milk within a period of eighteen months at the most. If I may I will again refer to the question which the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, raised—I thought with so much Tightness —a short time ago in your Lordships' House, when he asked me what we were going to do about T.T. milk. The question has been raised again in this debate by the noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook. The mixing of T.T. milk with bulked milk is not a factor that has arisen out of the war, or even out of the maladministration of the Ministry of Food. It was a common practice before the war. I believe only 25 per cent. of the T.T. milk found its way as such to consumers. I have taken the responsibility for seeing that that milk shall be marketed.
I do not know whether I can succeed in securing that none of it is bulked, because in some cases the amount that is produced is very small, it is in remote places, and it may not be easy to get it to some of the large centres. But I can make quite a clear statement of my intentions in the matter. My intentions are to try to direct that milk to these centres so that children shall have it, to try to direct it to consumers so far as transport facilities will allow so that they may pur- 803 chase it as T.T. milk, and so to direct it that it shall be sold at a price which will make it possible for people to be able to afford to buy it. I was greatly interested, if the noble Lord, Lord Geddes, will allow me to say so, by the question he asked in your Lordships' House a few months ago. I have given a great deal of attention to it since then. I am grateful to him for asking it and I hope the conclusion I have arrived at will meet with his approval.
I can only say in reply to the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, that I will consult with the Minister of Production and see what we can do about increasing the possibility of getting more pipes on to the farm. The noble Lord, Lord Sempill, asked me how long it would take to get rid of tuberculosis from cattle. As was proper, I consulted with the noble Duke who represents the Minister of Agriculture and he was not for making any bold estimate on the subject. The powers of the Minister of Food, as your Lordships will remember, have been circumscribed by Parliament for the period of the war. I am afraid it will take a great deal longer than I shall last. It is true the United States Army has made certain arrangements regarding milk. I am glad to say they are to a large extent bringing their own milk with them. We are very greatly indebted to the United States of America for the very large quantities of milk that they send to this country. A great deal of the dried milk comes from them. Otherwise we should not be able to keep up our milk consumption in this country during the winter months. It is a matter of gratification to me that during the summer months also the American Forces should be drinking their own milk because it is obvious that we have not enough.
I cannot go into the arena and do battle with Lord Teviot—who I note has now left the House—concerning the scientific matters with which he dealt. I am bound to say, though, that I found his remarks depressing because I have so much confidence in my medical adviser, Lord Horder, who made what seemed to me a most excellent speech. I thought it must have carried conviction all the way. So far as I was concerned, it was very depressing to be told by Lord Teviot that Lord Horder was all wrong, and that if I had only taken adequate scientific advice I might have come to other conclusions. I have consulted Lord Horder, I have 804 consulted the Medical Research Council, I have consulted the British Medical Association, I have consulted the Royal College of Physicians and I have consulted the Royal College of Surgeons. I have had so many consultations and I have taken so much advice that it is amazing to me that we have produced a White Paper at all. But Lord Teviot did not tell me to whom I ought to have gone for advice.
I wish he were here now for I would like to make it clear to him that I never claimed that pasteurization gave immortality. It is quite true that even if you have drunk pasteurized milk for all the years that anyone can hope to drink it you will still die. But you will not die because of pasteurized milk. But even though Lord Teviot is not here I must call his attention to some statistics. He said that the death-rate was not going up among the young. It all depends on what you mean by the young. The truth is that there were 45 deaths a week from tuberculosis of young people of fifteen years and under in 1938 as compared with 56 now. I am just a little bit tired of hearing about Dr. Barnardo's Homes, and of what the view was of that most competent medical adviser to those homes, Dr. Macdonald. He, I understand, does not believe in pasteurization. Well, each man to his own opinion. But I have been told about him so often, and the question I have always wanted to ask is: Were the children in Dr. Barnardo's Homes subject to the advice in this matter of Dr. Macdonald or subject to the advice of the governors? In short, what sort of milk did the children have? That, I have not been told.
I found the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Glentanar, very helpful, especially when he said, "Do not let us have a debate about the scientists." But, of course, he was dealing primarily with an agricultural matter. I am sure that my colleague the Duke of Norfolk will have noted what he has said, and will convey his views to his Minister. There is but one point on which I felt I must cross swords with him even though the remark may have been inadvertent. He asked whether there were not electrical means for pasteurizing milk, for getting rid of the germs in milk, which would do less harm. But I do not admit that pasteurization does any harm to milk. This story about dead germs floating about in 805 the milk when it is being pasteurized, and this conception which I got from Lord Teviot of these germs rising to life again when they get into the human body, is just sheer scientific nonsense. The noble Lord, Lord Teviot, will, I hope, forgive me for a certain violence of language on the subject.
I can only thank the noble Earl, Lord Iveagh, for his remarks. I am quite sure that he will correspond with me again in the interests of that most admirable association which he has run for so long, and his correspondence will be welcome because always he has been most constructive and helpful in these matters.
§ LORD WOOLTON
I was grateful for the help of Lord Beaverbrook. I was not sure whether I was going to get it. I welcome it all the more on that account. May I assure the noble Lord that in this matter I will do nothing which will make it impossible for the small distributor to stay in existence? I know that the noble Lord and I have had a little difference on the subject of a comparatively minor matter of price. But let me say this: I have given the small distributor, for the first time in his life, something to sell. As the result of the rationalization scheme, whereby every small distributor in this country has got his appointed number of people, his recognized gallonage, he has a security which he has never had before. And these people who, in their periods of economic misfortunes in the past, have so often been seen wending their way to Carey Street are not going there any more. If they want to retire from the business—and they need not do so—they now have something which they never had before, something which they can sell to the large organizations, if they want to sell. If they want to stay in business, they are assured that as long as the powers of the Minister of Food last—and remember all these orders either of rationalization or of pasteurization that I make are purely war measures confined to that period in point of time—those small distributors are living in what I think is a proper and-certainly a protected state, and any quarrel they may have with me—and they have not raised this quarrel with any great emphasis—is a question of how much.
§ LORD GLENTANAR
My Lords, I should like to say that what I intended to convey was that the system which I suggested would make less alteration to the chemical and physical constituents of the milk. I did not mean to use the expression "do harm." I do not think that I did; but if I did I am sorry.
§ LORD WOOLTON
My Lords, if I have misrepresented the noble Lord he will, I know, accept my apology. The noble Lord, Lord Beaverbrook, asked me to take care to see that the pasteurization plant was working properly. I am in entire agreement with him, and, so far as as it is possible for a Minister to take such responsibility, I will most certainly take it. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my personal indebtedness to the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, because it was when he was a member of His Majesty's Government and was Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee that he drew my attention to the need for action along the lines which we have laid down in this White Paper. I hope he does not think that we have been unduly long in following the advice which he gave. He made a constructive suggestion: he asked whether, in the event of our finding that milk coming from an accredited herd was infected, we would take the matter up and arrange that in future, in spite of the fact that the herd was accredited, the milk should be subjected to heat treatment. I am greatly obliged to him for that suggestion, and I will take it up. Whatever classifications we may make, we will always do our best to protect the health of the public rather than adhere rigidly to a classification.
The other general question was raised by my noble friend Lord Horder, with regard to the accredited herds. He asked whether it was not true that even within the limitations which we have made there would be a danger of tubercle. Certainly it is true. This is another example of the best being an enemy of the good. If we had waited until we had reached agreement on perfection before we brought in this White Paper, we should have had to wait still longer. My colleague Mr. Hudson and I took what we regarded as the common-sense and practical step. We took account of the fact that up to a point we had been able to get agreement. We have got a very large 807 measure of agreement; we have the agreement of the National Farmers' Union, who have been very doughty opponents in the past, we have the agreement of the Small Retailers' Sub-Committee of the National Farmers' Union, and we have all this medical and scientific opinion. It seemed to us that it was the wise and statesmanlike course to take this basis of agreement as far as we had got it and to proceed to act, knowing full well that the mechanical hindrances to getting any further amount of milk treated would be such that even if we had enlarged our boundaries we should not have been able to get any more milk treated during the course of the next eighteen months, because of the demands of the war for the machinery involved. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend Lord Horder will not think that we have been half-hearted about this. We have adopted a political compromise which takes us a long way further on the road, and at any rate gives us an opportunity of doing all that we can do with the material which is at our disposal.
I hope that the noble Lord who introduced this Motion will not think me discourteous in leaving any comments on his observations to the last. I am very grateful to him for the tolerant manner in which he has left this as a sort of standing Motion on the Paper, moving it forward constantly, sometimes at my request and once at his own, until such time as we were able to produce the Papers. The noble Lord speaks with great authority and long experience. He and I have a common interest in this effort to popularize milk among the community and to make it safe. I am very hopeful that the steps which we have laid down in this White Paper will do a great deal to benefit the health of the nation long after the war is over. We have lit a beacon light. It will take some time before all the things which we hope to do are accomplished, but at any rate we have done this, and we have done it during a period of war: we have made it quite clear that we believe in the value of milk as a food and that we are determined to give to invalids, to young children and to nursing mothers the benefit of this food. It is a food which we can produce in this country, which we can produce in even greater abundance than during the war. and which I think will be of permanent 808 benefit not only to the health of the country but to British agriculture. I hone that the noble Lord who has moved for Papers will feel that I have already provided the Papers for which he has moved.
§ LORD ADDISON
My Lords, we have had a thoroughly interesting debate, and a considerable number of quite practical constructive suggestions have been made, which I am glad to know that the noble Lord, the Minister of Food, is taking into account. I am very glad that in his concluding remarks he emphasized the fact that he and his colleague the Minister of Agriculture have not been prevented from making this move forward by the perpetual disputations which to my knowledge have gone on for a great many years upon matters which are relatively small compared with the whole subject. The amount of improvement which can be brought about, and which I believe will now be brought about, in the herds of this country, which are quite outside any questions relating to the amount of milk which is certified as T.T. or as coming from accredited herds, is very great. We have an opportunity open to us now to get down to business in an organized way for the first time, and I am certain that in a very few years the standard of the milking herds of this country will be. greatly improved as a result. I am glad that the noble Lord has anticipated my request and has supplied the Papers, and therefore I do not need to withdraw the Motion, which I take it is accepted.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.