Second Schedule. — (Minor and Conse Quential Amendments.)

Orders of the Day — FOOD AND DRUGS AMENDMENT BILL [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1954.

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Dr. Hill:

I beg to move, in page 31, line 34, at the end, to insert: Section 10 In subsection (1), for the words "An authorised officer of a local authority" there shall be substituted the words "An authorised officer of a council"; and in subsection (4), for the words "an officer of a local authority, the authority" there shall be substituted the words "an authorised officer of a council, the council. The purpose of this Amendment is to place the port health authority in the same position as a local authority in relation to applications which may be made to the justices for the destruction of unsound food. Hitherto, he has been omitted.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 31, leave out lines 44 to 46.—[Dr. Hill.]

Photo of Mr Robert Jenkins Mr Robert Jenkins , Camberwell Dulwich

I beg to move, in page 32, line 5, to leave out from the beginning, to the end of line 9, and to insert: For subsection (1) there shall be substituted the following subsection: "(1) No person shall sell, or offer or expose for sale, or have in his possession for the purpose of sale or of preparation for sale, for human consumption any part of, or product derived wholly or partly from, an animal which has been slaughtered in a knacker's yard or of which the carcase has been brought into a knacker's yard. The object of the Amendment is to make quite certain that the provisions of Section 19 of the principal Act are carried out in their entirety. There are three places where animals are slaughtered—the public abattoir, the licensed slaughterhouse and the knacker's yard. When local authorities examined the Bill they advised the Association of Municipal Corporations that it contained a loophole which should be stopped up. It is a very simple point, and I hope that the Minister will find himself able to accept it.

Section 19 of the 1938 Act provides that No person shall sell or offer or expose for sale, for human consumption any part of any animal which has been slaughtered in a knacker's yard. This provision clearly covers anything which may be described as part of an animal—for example, meat—but some doubt has arisen as to its application to products derived from animals. For example, experience has shown that the expression, any part of an animal is not an apt description of the oil derived from the rendering down of parts of animals which have been killed in a knacker's yard. Again, if the blood is drained off and processed, it is questionable whether this product is part of an animal. It would appear to be possible, therefore, without contravening the present law, to derive oil products from a diseased horse in a knacker's yard, for the purpose of frying oil.

The object of Section 19 of the principal Act was to secure that what comes out of a knacker's yard is not used for, or in connection with, food for human beings. What I have described is clearly an anomaly, which was overlooked, and the purpose of the Amendment is to secure that the prohibition which already applies to the meat of animals slaughtered in a knacker's yard shall also apply to anything which may be produced by processing any part of such animals.

Dr. Hill:

My hon. Friend obviously makes a good point in extending this prohibition to these products, and I would advise the Committee to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 32, line 11, leave out "Subsection (6)," and insert "The section."—[Dr. Hill.]

Dr. Hill:

I beg to move, in page 32, line 34, after "(2)," to insert:

  1. (a) in paragraph (a), for the word "shall" there shall be substituted the words "may, and shall if so required by the Minister of Food"; and
  2. (b),
This Amendment is small, but important. At present local authorities are required to make byelaws even if the establishment concerned is a public slaughterhouse owned and run by the local authority; and so we are introducing an elasticity which enables the local authority not to make such byelaws where the only place to which they can be applicable is a slaughterhouse in which only its own servants are employed.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Leslie Thomas Mr Leslie Thomas , Canterbury

I beg to move, in page 32, line 37, at the end, to insert: Section 63 The words "belonging to the Port of London Authority or the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board and" shall be omitted. The purpose of this Amendment is to eliminate the dual jurisdiction which now exists over slaughterhouses and knackers' yards owned by port authorities by extending the exemption which is given by Section 63 of the 1938 Act to all ports and all harbour authorities. Part V of the 1938 Act deals with markets, slaughterhouses and cold-air stores, and it provides that they shall be used for such purposes only under licence from the local authority.

It further provides that local authorities can make byelaws as to their condition and about the maintenance of records, and so on. During the Committee stage of that Measure the Port of London Authority and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board established a case for exemption from that part of the Measure, and it is Section 63 which gives them the exemption. The basis of their case was this duality of control. They have to get authority and approval from the Minister of Agriculture under the Diseases of Animals Acts, those that obtained at the time and the subsequent one of 1950. It is the purpose of this Amendment that the exemption contained in Section 63 of the 1938 Act shail extend to all ports. Thus, we shall end the duality that exists at the moment.

Dr. Hill:

As all these harbour slaughterhouses will be under the scrutiny of the Minister of Agriculture there is a good case for removing this difference between one port and another, and I advise the Committee to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Hugh Linstead Sir Hugh Linstead , Wandsworth Putney

I beg to move, in page 33, line 17, to leave out from "words," to the end of line 18, and to insert: the sample shall be submitted to the public analyst for some other area, or if for any reason the public analyst is unable to perform an effective analysis he shall submit it to the public analyst for some other area. This Amendment seems to be one only of form, but it is an Amendment to which the Society of Public Analysts attaches considerable importance. It deals with two separate eventualities. One is what happens to a sample submitted to analysis when the office of the public analyst in the area is vacant. In those circumstances, the sample has to be submitted to the public analyst for another area, to be submitted by whoever happens to have the sample in his possession.

The second part of the Amendment provides for the circumstance when the public analyst for an area is not in a position to test the sample because, it may be, he does not possess certain expensive apparatus necessary for the work. As the Bill stands, anyone can decide, on behalf of the public analyst, to send the sample elsewhere.

The purpose of the Amendment is not to leave it to a decision of the sampling officer or of a clerk in the department to take that rather important professional position, but to leave it to the public analyst for the area himself to decide that he is not in a position to undertake the analysis himself and that he should send the sample to another public analyst. It is a question of the professional status of the public analysts, to which they attach considerable importance. I think there is merit in it, and I hope it will commend itself to my hon. Friend.

Dr. Hill:

I agree with my hon. Friend that the case he has put would appear to have some merit in it, and I will undertake that the point will be considered if he will withdraw his Amendment.

Photo of Sir Hugh Linstead Sir Hugh Linstead , Wandsworth Putney

In these circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Dr. Hill:

I beg to move, in page 33, line 26, at the beginning, to insert: Throughout subsection (2), wherever the words "food or drug" occur there shall be added after those words the words "or substance. This is a tidying up Amendment to bring in the word "substance."

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Hugh Linstead Sir Hugh Linstead , Wandsworth Putney

I beg to move, in page 34, line 4, at the end, to insert: In subsection (2) in paragraph (a) for the words "within seven days of the service of the summons," there shall be substituted the words "not later than three clear days before the date of the hearing. These words relate to Section 84 of the 1938 Act and deal with the defence of a warranty. When the retailer has a sample taken from him he may pass the responsibility back to the manufacturer for any impurities in that sample. At present, he must give notice within seven day of the service of the summons that he proposes to rely on that warranty defence. In other words, once seven days have passed after the serving of the summons he has no opportunity of throwing back the responsibility to where it properly belongs.

It may be thought that analysis is necessary before he is in a position to determine whether or not he should accept the responsibility, and it seems unfortunate that time should run against the retailer in that way, and the purpose of the Amendment is to substitute for the time of seven days after service of the summons a period of not later than three clear days before the date of the hearing.

7.45 p.m.

If the retailer has a longer time to decide whether or not to accept responsibility or to pass it back, it may be said that the time of not later than three clear days before the date of the hearing will not give the manufacturer sufficient time to prepare his defence. That may be true in some cases, but it would in those cases be open to the manufacturer to apply for an adjournment of the court, and I have no doubt that in those circumstances an adjournment would be granted. I hope that these words will commend themselves to my hon. Friend.

Dr. Hill:

There is a difficulty, particularly when a branch manager has to consult his head office in the matter of warranty, and as the local authorities, who are intimately concerned, raise no objection, I would advise the Committee to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr John Higgs Mr John Higgs , Bromsgrove

I beg to move, in page 34. line 4, at the end, to insert: In subsection (2), the following paragraph shall be substituted for paragraph (c):— "(c) in the case of a prosecution in respect of a sample of milk procured from him, the defendant either—

  1. (i) has within sixty hours after the sample was procured served such a notice as is mentioned in paragraph (2) of the Third Schedule to this Act, or
  2. (ii) not having served such a notice, proves that he had reasonable cause to believe that such a notice would have been of no effect by reason of the fact that the milk in question was a mixture of milk produced on more than one dairy farm."
This Amendment is in connection with the Amendment made to the principal Act in line 25 of page 35 of the Bill, which will remove from the dairyman who sells milk that has come from a number of different dairies or farms the defence that he has done nothing to the milk and that all he has done is to sell the milk precisely as he received it. If he is to have that defence he must be able to raise the defence even if the milk came to him from a number of different farms originally and he cannot specify which one it was.

If this Amendment is not made the Bill will take from the dairymen a defence they have at present.

Dr. Hill:

My hon. Friend has made a good point. I advise the Committee to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Mr Henry Strauss Mr Henry Strauss , Norwich South

I beg to move, in page 35, line 10, after "Health," to insert: or, as the case may be, the Board of Trade. This Amendment is consequential upon the Amendment by which the Board of Trade were given powers to make regulations on the labelling of food.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Sir Hugh Linstead Sir Hugh Linstead , Wandsworth Putney

I beg to move, in page 35, line 12, at the end, to insert: Section 94 At end, insert the following new subsection: "(4) For the purpose of this section a public analyst shall be deemed to be an officer whether or not he is a full-time officer. Section 94 of the 1938 Act provides a certain protection for officers of local authorities or county councils. Section 94 says that An officer of a local authority shall not be personally liable in respect of any act done by him in the execution or purported execution of this Act … if he did that act in the honest belief that his duty … required … him to do it;". There are two types of public analyst—the full-time public analyst, who is an officer of a local authority and therefore enjoys the protection of Section 94 of the 1938 Act, and the part-time public analyst, who is paid not by salary but by fees. Technically, the latter is not an officer of a local authority, but there seems to be every reason why, in respect of the duties which he performs as a public analyst, he should enjoy the same protection as is afforded to a full-time public analyst.

Dr. Hill:

I understand the point, but there is some doubt about the words, and perhaps my hon. Friend will accept my assurance that, if he withdraws the Amendment, I will put something on the Notice Paper for the Report stage.

Photo of Sir Hugh Linstead Sir Hugh Linstead , Wandsworth Putney

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Robert Crouch Mr Robert Crouch , North Dorset

I beg to move, in page 35, line 18, after "fish," to insert "but does include poultry."

The object of the Amendment is to provide the Minister with adequate powers to deal with the control of poultry in slaughterhouses. Under the 1938 Act, it is laid down that the word "animal" does not include "bird." As we all know, poultry are birds. We want to give the Minister all the necessary power to inspect poultry as well as other food—that is, food available for human consumption—in slaughterhouses.

It is appropriate to take this step, bearing in mind the high percentage of tuberculosis among poultry. It is not infrequent that when there is an outbreak of disease on a farm, which may be due to something of that sort, the birds are put into a market or are killed. The Amendment would make it quite certain that before they were offered to the public the birds were inspected. These powers might often enable a bird infected with fowl pest to be seen before the outbreak became serious.

Dr. Hill:

We want to do what my hon. Friend has in mind. By implication, however, the Amendment raises a number of other changes. If my hon. Friend will accept an assurance that we will find the appropriate form of words and will withdraw his Amendment, I will gladly give that assurance.

Photo of Mr Robert Crouch Mr Robert Crouch , North Dorset

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: In page 35, line 24, at end, insert: In the said subsection, after the definition of "authorised officer," there shall be inserted the following definition: "catering premises" has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (7A) of section fourteen of this Act.'

In page 37, leave out lines 2 and 3, and insert: The section shall cease to have effect.

In page 37, line 9, leave out "subparagraph (a) of paragraph 1," and insert: paragraph 1 for the words 'they shall serve on him a notice' there shall be substituted the words 'they may serve on him a notice' and."—[Dr. Hill.]

In page 37, line 10, leave out "fourteen," and insert "twenty-one."— [Captain Duncan.]

Dr. Hill:

I beg to move, in page 37, line 10, at the end, to add:

THE SLAUGHTERHOUSES ACT, 1954

(2 & 3 Eliz. 2. c. 42)

Section 3

In subsection (3), for the words from "section thirteen of the said Act" to "preparation and distribution of food)" there shall be substituted the words "any regulations in force under section six of the Food and Drugs Amendment Act, 1954, relating to the construction, lay-out, equipment, cleanliness, ventilation, lighting or use of slaughterhouses or of any byelaws made by the authority and in force under section fifty-eight of the Food and Drugs Act, l938."

The Amendment is consequential on the passage of the Slaughterhouses Act, 1954.

Amendment agreed to.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.