The Ministry of Health have issued a Circular No. 2198, November 25th, 1940 reminding local authorities of the measures which can usually be taken to protect the public against the spread of the diseases commonly conveyed by food, i.e., diseases of the enteric group typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, dysentery, food poisoning and intestinal parasitism. The Circular continues One of the commonest causes of the spread of the enteric diseases is the contamination of food, including milk, by the hands of persons excreting the causal organisms of the disease, whether they are actually suffering from the disease, or are chronic carriers of the infection, or are persons temporarily excreting the causal organisms without themselves being ill. The Milk and Dairies Order, 1926, confers on medical officers of health in Articles 18 and 19 powers relating to infected milk supplies and to persons having access to the milk, milk vessels, etc., at registered premises whose employment may be likely to lead to the spread of infectious disease. It also requires generally under Article 15 that every person engaged in the milking of cows or the distribution or measuring of milk or otherwise having access to the milk or to the churns or other milk receptacles shall keep his clothing and person in a cleanly condition. Article 23 of the Order requires that in connection with the milking of cows the hands of the milker shall be thoroughly washed and dried before milking, and throughout the milking be kept free from contamination. With respect to food and drink in general, provision is made in Part III of the First Schedule to the Public Health Infectious Diseases Regulations, 1927, whereby on a report by the medical officer of health, the local authority can 1 in any case of enteric fever or dysentery occurring in the district by notice in writing require, in addition to other precautions, that the person specified in the notice shall discontinue any occupation connected with the preparation or handling of food or drink for human consumption and 2 require the medical examination by the medical officer of health or a medical officer acting on his behalf of a person suspected by the medical officer of health to be a carrier of enteric fever or dysentery infection who is employed in any trade or business connected with the preparation or handling of food or drink for human consumption, and can suspend such person from his employment for a specified period if as a result of the examination or from bacteriological or protozoological examination of material obtained at any such examination, of material obtained at any such examination, the medical officer of health is of opinion that the person is such a carrier. Apart, however, from conditions which can be dealt with by the temporary discontinuance of work by persons actually suffering from the disease or found to be carriers of it, experience shows that outbreaks of disease of the enteric group and of food poisoning are not uncommonly caused, or their range extended, by the handling of food by persons who have not previously been suspected to be suffering from or carrying disease, and the Minister is advised that a substantial number of consequential cases could be avoided if all persons engaged in the preparation or handling of food intended for sale were habitually to take the elementary precautions required by law. The relevant statutory provisions as regards food other than milk are those contained in Section 13 1 of the Food and Drugs Act, 1938, which read as follows
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1941
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