HC Deb 16 February 1989 vol 147 cc359-60W
47. Dr. Moonie

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the current level of salmonella enteritidis in poultry flocks.

Mr. Ryder

Since salmonella enteritidis does not cause overt clinical disease in adult poultry it is not possible to give precise figures of the extent of the infection without extensive testing, which in the absence of a simple, rapid and sensitive test for salmonella enteritidis, is not possible. However, the Zoonoses Order 1975 requires isolations of salmonella to be reported. As indicated by my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson) in a written reply yesterday, provisional figures indicate that 370 isolations of salmonella enteritidis in 1988 were reported.

Mr. Home Robertson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what date he received the information on eggborne salmonellosis, contained in the joint report of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Department of Health and BEIC working group; and if he will list the actions he has taken since then to advise the public about any risks and to promote the reduction of salmonella contamination in laying flocks.

Mr. MacGregor

[holding answer 14 February 1989] :I received the report of the MAFF, Doll and BEIC working group on salmonella and eggs on 10 January this year. As I informed my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 6 February Official Report columns 570–72 I have placed a copy of that report in the Library of the House and I am distributing copies to members of the public who request it.

On 18 January I set out, in my reply to a question from the hon. Member for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord) Official Report columns 214–15, the range of measures we had already been taking and were proposing to take to tackle the salmonella problem at each point along the chain from poultry feedingstuffs, through the breeding flocks and hatcheries to the commercial egg producers.

I subsequently announced on 10 February, in a written answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) Official Report column 831 that we should shortly be taking powers to provide where necessary for the compulsory slaughter of laying flocks in which salmonella has been confirmed. This announcement was a logical follow-up to the one made by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary on 27 January, in a written answer to a question from my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Daventry Official Report columm 806 that notices are being issued under the Zoonoses Order 1975 to egg producers with flocks known to be or suspected of being infected with salmonella enteritidis or other similar types of salmonella, to prevent the producers concerned from selling eggs in a raw state for direct human consumption.

Other announcements were made by the Government before 10 January and further ones will be made as appropriate.

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