HC Deb 21 March 1989 vol 149 cc582-3W
Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, pursuant to his answer 20 February,Official Report, column 528, he will provide reference to any information concerning listeria considered during his Department's expert group's appraisal.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

[holding answer 27 February 1989]: As I said in my answer of 20 February 1989 at column 529 the group considered a wide range of information on the scientific basis of the cook-chill system from a variety of sources. To identify any particular material considered by the group would tend to give that aspect of the group's work undue prominence and would not properly reflect the broad information base available to the members of the group.

Dr. David Clark

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a safe level of listeria monocytogenes in pre-cooked chilled food has been established.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

[holding answer 9 March 1989]: The 1988 World Health Organisation working group indicated that virtually nothing is known about the infectious dose of listeria monocythogenes, although it may be related to host susceptibility. This is why we have given advice to pregnant women and other vulnerable groups to avoid certain soft cheeses, and to reheat thoroughly cook-chilled meals and ready-to-eat poultry. We are also working with the food industry to consider optimal production methods which will reduce the levels of listeria in foods as far as is practicable.