HC Deb 25 November 1959 vol 614 cc47-8W
Mr. D. Marshall

asked the Minister of Health how the present. consumption of welfare foods, including cod liver oil and orange juice, for the south-west area of England and the principal towns therein compares with that of the immediate post-war period; and what steps he proposes to take in the near future to arrest the recent decline in such consumption by more effective publicity methods and a better system of distribution.

Miss Pitt

The following table shows the quantities of welfare foods distributed in the south-west since 1955, which is the earliest year for which comparable figures are available.

Year Orange Juice (bottles) Cod Liver Oil (bottles) Vitamin A and D Tablets (packets)
(in thousands)
Counties of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset
1955 776 149 50
1956 809 135 57
1957 928 120 55
1958 591 (a) 80 (b) 54
1959(Jan.-June) 295 (a) 39 (b) 28
County Boroughs of Plymouth and Exeter
1955 228 37 15
1956 252 34 15
1957 261 31 15
1958 159 (a) 21 (b) 15
1959 (Jan.-June) 84 (a) 10 (b) 8

(a) From 1st November, 1957, entitlement to orange juice was withdrawn from children over two years of age, except for tokens already issued.

(b) In July, 1957, the Report of the Advisory Committee on Welfare Foods was published recommending that infants taking dried milk should receive drop doses instead of teaspoonfuls of cod liver oil.

The trends are broadly in line with those for England and Wales as a whole, which show that consumption of vitamin tablets has remained fairly steady, and that there has been an upward trend in the uptake of orange juice in relation to those entitled to the benefit, but a fall in that of cod liver oil, due in part to the smaller dose recommended for some infants and in part to the increased use of other sources of vitamin D. I am satisfied that publicity and distribution arrangements are generally adequate, and am not aware of any special difficulties in the south-west area.