Cases of food poisoning increased by 14 per cent in England and Wales up to the start of this month, according to the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) yesterday.
A memorandum submitted to the committee said research in South Wales had shown the higher risks posed to people eating out, prompting Peter Luff, the committee's Tory chairman, to ask whether that meant the rich were at greater risk than the poor.
There was no clear answer to that question, but Professor Tom Humphrey, head of the service's food research laboratory, said: "When you rely on somebody else to cook your food, you live in hope that they do it properly."
In evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture, the service called for a ban on the sale of unpasteurised milk, and a review of the regulations on the spreading of sewage sludge on farms.
The proposed ban on the sale of unpasteurised milk, or Green Top, was first submitted to ministers in October by the Government's Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Safety of Food. It was acting on advice from the PHLS said this week that its own report, condemning unpasteurised drinking milk, was not available to the public because it had been submitted to The Lancet.
Jeff Rooker, the food safety minister, is consulting interested parties on a Government proposal to ban the sale of Green Top in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - extending a ban introduced for Scotland in 1983.
The Advisory Committee said in evidence that there was also "growing concern about fruit, vegetables and salad crops which can be contaminated from animal or human sources and from irrigation water".Reuse content