— With reference to the comments on the Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Bill in your issue of May 26, it is regretted that both the Government and the public (the latter because the press tactfully do so) completely ignore the views of the people who have had most to do with milk production and distribution, namely, sanitary inspectors.
In the period 1926-1939, vast improvements were made solely through the efforts of public health officials, and in spite of many difficulties, not the least being a law which compelled a local authority to register premises as a dairy even though those premises were not suitable.
During the war experienced labour has been removed from the farms, and the Ministry of Food have taken over distribution, so that now we have innumerable complaints of poor quality milk, which is not the fault of the local authorities in general.
For ninny years ttie Sanitary Inspectors' Association have agreed that some local authorities could not carry out milk supervision to its full extent, and at their annual conferences have pleaded for: (a) Drastic revision of the law; (b) Financial assistance to some local authorities to enable them to engage additional staff; (c) Bacteriological standard for raw milk; (d) Frequent and systematic veterinary inspection of cattle.
Such pleas have been ignored by successive Governments. But now the Minister of Agriculture decides to take over the functions of local autholities and proceeds to demand:
(a) Drastic revision of the law, making his decisions arbitrary: (b) The training and employment of an army of inspectors, under the veterinarians.
This army of inspectors will take over the duties in respect of milk at present efficiently performed by many hundreds of sanitary inspectors, and at a greater cost to the taxpayer. Instead of the veterinary profession concentrating on the eradication of disease in cattle, their time will be mainly taken up with administratve duties. At the annual conference of the Sanitary Inspectors' Association in 1943, it was revealed that when the Ministry of Agriculture took over the veterinary service of the West Riding County Council, the number of herd inspections dropped considerably.
Finally, this is another case of rushing important legislation through Parliament whilst our minds are elsewhere. and of hoodwinking the public into believing they have demanded these changes. GEORGE H. WILKINSON, M.S.I.A..