§ Colonel DAY
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the recent outbreak of scarlet fever in Portsmouth which was traceable to ice cream made by one manufacturer in whose employ a boy assistant was found to be suffering from the disease; will he, in the interests of public health, make an Order that early notice of any illness of the principals or employés of an ice cream manufactory shall be made immediately to the local medical officer of health, and that such notice shall become obligatory; and will he consider the advisability of powers being vested in medical officers of health so as to allow the inspection of places where ice cream is made, and inspection of persons occupied with the manufacture or distribution of ice cream?
I have received a copy of the report of the medical officer of health on the outbreak referred to. Provision is already included in the Infectious Disease (Notification) Act and in Regulations made by my Department for the notification of all cases of any of the principal infectious diseases, and a special provision is included in a Portsmouth Local Act requiring manufacturers of and dealers in ice cream to give notice of the outbreak of any such disease amongst their employés. I doubt whether it would be practicable to enforce a regulation that all cases of illness, however slight, should be notified. With regard to the regulation of places where ice cream and other 1547W food is prepared, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which was given him on Tuesday last, and I may add that many local authorities in addition to the Town Council of Portsmouth have obtained special local Act powers as to ice cream.