§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if consideration has been given to improving procedures for notifying local authorities of food hazards, with special reference to the capacity of local authorities to react quickly after notification of an emergency; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
The procedure for communicating food hazard warnings to local authorities is kept under review and we are satisfied that the arrangements for urgent notification by way of a telephone link system, followed by written amplification, is the most efficient at present available. The extent of local action is a matter for local authorities to decide on receipt by them of the telephoned notification. Full regard is had by the Department to the problems which may be faced by local authorities —especially if the notification is received just before a weekend or a holiday: but in practice we have little choice about timing once investigations have established that urgent action is necessary in the public interest.