HC Deb 20 October 1942 vol 383 cc1855-6W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will consider the desirability of setting in motion the formation of a nutrition council, consisting of clinicians, laboratory workers and medical officers of health, as urged from many authoritative quarters?

Mr. E. Brown

I have been asked to reply. I have read with interest the recent expressions of opinion about possible developments in the realm of nutrition, and have had an opportunity of discussing them with my colleagues. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving me this opportunity of making clear the position of His Majesty's Government in this matter. Though the advocates of the establishment of a nutrition council appear to differ somewhat among themselves in regard both to methods and to objects, I am in a position to say that the main purposes which they appear to have in view are already secured by existing arrangements. Technical investigation and research are adequately provided for through the Medical Research Council, the Agricultural Research Council and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. A great volume of work is continuously in progress under the auspices of these bodies, and I may remind my hon. Friend that the first-named comprises amongst its members and officers a number of scientists outside the medical profession, and that from the outset much valuable research on nutritional problems has been conducted on its behalf.

The application to current problems of the results of scientific investigation is primarily the responsibility of the Health Departments, to whom the Ministry of Food and the Agricultural Departments look for guidance in nutritional matters when framing their programmes of production, import and distribution of foodstuffs. Coordination of the policies of the various Ministries concerned is fully provided for by appropriate inter-departmental machinery. As regards the international aspects of the subject, my hon. Friend will recollect that the Allied Governments last year appointed an Inter-Allied Committee to prepare estimates of post-war relief requirements, and I understand that this Committee has already arranged for a Sub-Committee of Allied nutrition experts to examine the estimates from the nutritional standpoint.