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Graphic answer to unsavoury Tynwald question

A Tynwald question about bacteria has resulted in one of the oddest pieces of information to emerge from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Onchan MHK Peter Karran asked DEFA Minister Phil Gawne how much bacteria could be found in a single gramme of human faeces.

Mr Gawne, in his answer, gave figures – but said the amounts can vary widely depending on the consistency of excrement.

He provided a classification system, complete with illustrations, for Mr Karran.

Mr Gawne says scientists came up with a standard system to classify the different types of faeces back in 1997.

The Bristol Stool Chart – or Meyer scale – outlines seven different types of possible bowel movements, and Mr Gawne’s written answer includes a handy recognition chart.

He says each type can contain different amounts of potentially harmful bacteria.

But he also says his department doesn’t collect measurements of those organisms in human faeces.

It's thought Mr Karran is investigating aspects of sewage pollution in Manx bathing waters but he has yet to confirm the motivation for his inquiry.

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