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Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what investigations his Department is making into the recent large increase in cases of salmonella food poisoning.

My Department keeps a careful watch on the number of food poisoning cases reported. This number fluctuates from year to year and as many cases go unreported, too much significance should not be attached to variation in the figures. The increase over the last two years in reported cases of food poisoning, most of which arc due to salmonella infections, was probably mainly related to the long periods of warm weather which encouraged the growth of salmonella organisms in food.Sulphonamide drugs have been in use for many years, and I have no reason to believe that their use in cases of diarrhoea or vomiting significantly increases the number of human carriers of salmonellosis. Medical advice to me is that human carriers are not the major source of salmonella food poisoning.