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Milk Pasteurisation

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is taking any steps to advertise the pasteurisation of milk?


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food, in view of the increase in the death rate in London of 67 per cent., alleged to be due to non-pulmonary tuberculosis in 1941, as compared to 1938, whether he will refuse to make pasteurisation compulsory in London, as this death rate is higher than the average rate in the country, where the proportion of raw milk drunk is higher?

My hon. Friend's Question appears to rest on the assumption that non-pulmonary tuberculosis is due wholly or mainly to tuberculous infection of the bovine type and that its incidence is therefore an index of the amount of bovine infection. There is no evidence for this assumption. It was estimated before the war that only 30 per cent. of the cases of non-pulmonary tuberculosis at all ages were due to bovine infection, and it is to be expected that since the outbreak of war the incidence of non-pulmonary tuberculosis should have increased more in towns where the risks of human infection are greater, and are accentuated by war conditions, than in the country. The statements referred to by my hon. Friend do not bear directly on the question of pasteurisation.

If in London, where 90 per cent. of the people are using pasteurised milk, far more than in the rest of the country, tuberculosis has increased far more rapidly, does it not show that pasteurisation is not only useless, but does damage?

My hon. Friend will recognise that the relevant figures are the figures of bovine tuberculosis.

As so much dried milk is being used, will the Parliamentary Secretary consider the advisability of seeing that no coupons are surrendered?