HC Deb 29 May 1963 vol 678 cc127-8W
50. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will public the results of the investigation into the presence of penicillin and other antibiotics in milk; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Soames

The report by the Milk and Milk Products Technical Advisory Committee on antibiotics in milk in Great Britain is published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office.

Antibiotics, which provide the most effective treatment for mastitis in dairy cows, are normally passed into the milk for a period after treatment. The sale of such milk for human consumption is considered by medical experts to be undesirable because of the possibility that it could have ill-effects on the health of a few people who may be, or may become, particularly sensitive to antibiotics.

The Milk Marketing Board fox England and Wales in its contract with producers already requires them to withhold from sale milk from cows recently treated with antibiotics, and the three Scottish Boards also require or advise producers to do this. But my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Health and I are concerned about the proportion of milk samples taken at the dairies which have been found to contain traces of antibiotics, and at my request dairies in England and Wales have already begun to carry out and will be extending tests on incoming milk for antibiotics. Producers whose milk is found to contain antibiotics will be reported to the Milk Marketing Board and will be liable to disciplinary action. The Scottish Milk Marketing Board also has a testing scheme in operation, and my right hon. Friend is asking the other two Milk Marketing Boards in Scotland to make similar arrangements.

The British Veterinary Association and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry have been asked to co-operate with the Government in implementing those recommendations which affect them.