HC Deb 13 December 1990 vol 182 cc469-70W
Mr. Wallace

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made on the health implications of the consumption of non-pasteurised milk; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what information he has regarding incidents of illness or disease in England and Wales in the last 10 years which can be attributed to the consumption of non-pasteurised milk.

Mr. Dorrell

The Department keeps under continual review the health implications arising from the consump-tion of untreated milk in the light of the incidence of human illness associated with it. Since 1985, the retail outlets through which untreated milk can be sold in England and Wales have been severely restricted. There was a public consultation in 1989 on whether a total ban on the sale of untreated milk should be introduced. In view of the strong response from consumers who wished to continue to drink untreated milk, the Government decided not to proceed with the ban but to introduce new testing and labelling requirements to ensure that risks to health are minimised and to enable consumers to make an informed choice on whether to drink this product. New test requirements on microbiological examination were introduced on 1 April 1990 and from 1 September 1990 all such milk has been required to carry a clear warning This milk has not been heat-treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health".

This enables consumers to make an informed decision on whether to use the product.

In the period 1980 to 1989, there were 112 confirmed outbreaks, accounting for 2,776 cases, of food-borne diseases associated with raw cows' milk reported to the public health laboratory service's communicable disease surveillance centre.

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