HC Deb 13 January 1989 vol 144 cc764-5W
Sir Richard Body

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what inquiries have been made to ensure that salmonella pollution has been eliminated in each country exporting food to the United Kingdom.

Mr. Freeman

Salmonella contamination is recognised as a world-wide problem and the EC Standing Veterinary Committee decided on 7 December 1988 to set up a working group to consider the problem with the European Community.

The Imported Food Regulations 1984 together with the Food Act 1984 give the responsible authorities adequate powers to prevent the importation of contaminated food into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ron Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his latest estimate of the level of salmonella infection in current British egg production.

Mr. Freeman

I refer the hon. Member to the replies by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Wardell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bromsgrove (Sir H Miller) on 20 December at columns246 and 247 respectively.

Mr. Fisher

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the number of(a) outbreaks of salmonella attributable to poultry meat and poultry meat products, (b) people affected in each such outbreak and (c) fatal cases in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Freeman

The numbers of outbreaks of salmonella associated with poultry meat and poultry meat products formally reported to the public health laboratory service in the years 1979–88 are as follows:

England and Wales
Year Number of outbreaks
1979 155
1980 119
1981 84
1982 49
1983 45
1984 36
1985 21
1986 229
Year Number of outbreaks
1987 241
1988 234
1 laboratory reports only.
2 provisional data.

Reports of Salmonella Bacteraemias (England and Wales)
Year Total Salmonella Bacteraemias (Excluding S Typhi/Paratyphi) S Enteritidis Bacteraemia
Deaths Phage Type 4 Deaths Other Deaths
1983 30 2 3
1984 33 3
1985 30 3 2
1986 21 4 1
1987 35 9 6
1988 48 23 3
(to week 43)

Early information is not readily available.

There is no direct evidence to link these deaths with the consumption of poultry, but salmonella enteritidis phage type 4 is associated almost exclusively with poultry and eggs and we must assume that some of the deaths shown in the phage type 4 column will have been associated with poultry.

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