asked the Minister of Food if he will now make a statement on the policy of the Government on the results of the issue of White Paper, Cmd. 6454, for improvement in the quality of the nation's milk supply; in how many areas has Defence Regulation 55G been operative; and if active measures are being introduced to prevent the sale of milk which may cause death or disease.
Progress towards the enforcement of the White Paper standards of milk at time of sale to the consumer has been disappointing, and no areas have yet been specified under Regulation 55G. The difficulties in the way of providing necessary additional plant and equipment, and in many cases buildings, have been greater than was thought when the White Paper was issued, and until this deficiency can be made good the imposition of heat treatment of milk upon all dairymen will not be practicable. Considerable progress, however, has been made in this direction, the introduction of a special heat treatment allowance as a supplement to the ordinary retail margin provided in consumer prices, being, no doubt, a contributory factor. The output of new plant is now improving, and I hope that it will soon be possible greatly to accelerate the arrangements for the full implementation of the White Paper policy for heat treatment. Certain changes of procedure may be necessary, but on that subject I cannot say more at present than that it is receiving my right hon. Friend's active consideration in consultation with the Departments concerned.