HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc385-6W
Mr. John Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is aware of the continuing concern in the dental profession about the possible harmful effects on children's teeth of welfare orange juice; and what action he proposes to take.

Sir K. Joseph

The replacement of welfare orange juice as a source of supplementary vitamin C has been under consideration in my Department for some time, particularly since the report from the Chief Medical Officer's expert committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, which emphasised the dental hazards involved in the misuse of undiluted fruit syrups. Since the necessary vitiman C can now be made available in convenient forms which do not carry the same risks, I have decided to place no further contracts for welfare orange juice, and it will cease to be available in clinics by the end of 1971.

The same risk does not arise with the normal consumption of whole fruits, diluted fruit juices and the many varieties of non-concentrated juices on sale to the public.

Cod liver oil, which is also supplied under the welfare foods service and which contains vitamins A and D, is unpalatable to some children and for that reason is unpopular with their mothers. As far as young children are concerned, therefore, I am proposing to replace welfare orange juice and cod liver oil with a new preparation containing vitamins A, D and C to be administered in the form of drops. I also propose to arrange for expectant and nursing mothers, who are currently entitled to vitamin A and D tablets as well as welfare orange juice, to be provided with vitamins A, D and C in single tablet form.

I hope to make the necessary order in respect of the children's vitamin preparation early in the New Year.

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