asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that persons suffering loss and damage through illness traceable to infected milk unfit for human consumption have a right of action against vendors of such milk; and whether, as the financial circumstances of poorer citizens prevent their taking such action, the local authorities in such cases make ex gratia payments?
I am aware that in certain circumstances there may be such a right of action as is referred to in the first part of the Question; I am not aware that local authorities make such payments as are referred to in the second part of the Question.
It is not quite as simple as that. In the absence of negligence by the vendor there is not a right of action in every case. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Square v. Model Farm Dairies (Bournemouth) Ltd., which he will find in 55 "Times" Law Report, page 384.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that, unless he presses for an amendment of the national milk scheme, which comes into operation in September, and arranges for the purification of all milk, the Government will be morally responsible for the dissemination of tuberculosis?
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the rise of dangerous milk for human consumption supplied to Newcastle-on-Tyne citizens as undesignated milk for the years 1939, 1940 and 1941, shown from 758, 738 and 571 samples, respectively, with unsatisfactory percentages of 24.6, 30.4 and 38.7 and that daily bacterio-logical examinations would reveal some 75 per cent. of such milk unsatisfactory; and whether it is intended to use such data as the above in the campaign for the better health of the nation?
I am aware of figures for 1939 and 1940, but I cannot trace the receipt of figures for 1941. I understand that these figures show the proportion of milk found unsatisfactory according to the cleanliness tests prescribed for designated milks. Such results serve to emphasise the need for the measures included in the recent White Paper on Milk Policy, and I trust that these, in conjunction with the work of local authorities, will contribute to improving the position.