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legal obligations of assize as regards bread; and in the following reign the statute (51 Hen. III. Stat. 6) entitled “ the pillory and tumbrel " was framed for the express purpose of protecting the public from the dishonest dealings of bakers, Vintners, brewers, butchers and others. This statute is the first in which the adul~ teration of human food is specially noticed and prohibited; it seems to have been enforced with more or less rigour until the time of Anne, when it was repealed (1709). According to the Liber Albus it was strictly observed in the days of Edward I., for it states that: “ If any default shall be found in the bread of a baker in the city, the first time, let him be drawn upon a hurdle from the Guildhall to his own house through the great street where there be most people assembled, and through the great streets which are most dirty, with the faulty loaf hanging from his neck; if a second time he shall be found committing the same offence, let him be drawn from the Guildhall through the great street of Cheepe in the manner aforesaid to the pillory, and let him be put upon the pillory, and remain there at least one hour in the day; and the third time that such default shall be found, he shall be drawn, and the oven shall be pulled down, and the baker made to foreswear the trade in the city for ever.” The assize of 1634 provides that “if there be any manner of person or persons, which shall by any false wayes or meanes, sell any meale under the kinge’s subjects, either by mixing it deceitfully or sell any musty or corrupted meal, which may be to the hurte and infection of man’s body, or use any false weight, or any deceitful wayes or meanes, and so deceive the subject, for the first offence he shall be grievously punished, the second he shall loose his meale, for the third ofience he shall suffer the judgment of the pillory and the fourth time he shall foreswere the town wherein he dwelleth.” Vintners, spicers, grocers, butchers, regrators and others were subject to the like punishment for dishonesty in their commercial dealings—it being thought that the pillory, by appealing to the sense of shame, was far more deterrent of such crimes than fine or imprisonment. In the reign of Edward the Confessor a knavish brewer of the city of Chester was taken round the town in the cart in which the refuse of the privies had been collected. Ale-tasters had to look after the ale and test it by spilling some on to a wooden seat, sitting on the wet place in their leathern breeches, the stickiness of the “ residue obtained by evaporation ” affording the evidence of purity or otherwise. If sugar had been added the taster adhered to the bench; pure malt beer was not considered to yield an adhesive extract. In 15 53, the lord mayor of London ordered a jury of five or six vintners to rack and draw off the suspected wine of another vintner, and to ascertain what drugs or ingredients they found in the said wine or cask to sophisticate the same. At another time eight pipes of wine were ordered to be destroyed because, on racking off, bundles of weeds, pieces of sulphur match, and “ a kind of gravel mixture sticking to the casks ” had been found.

Similar records have come down from the continental European countries. In 1390 an Augsburg wine-seller was sentenced to be led out of the city with his hands bound and a rope round his neck; in 1400 two others were branded and otherwise severely punished; in 143 5 “ were the taverner Christian Corper and his wife put in a cask in which he sold false wine, and then exposed in the pillory. The punishment was adjudged because they had roasted pears and put them into new sour wine, in order to sweeten the wine. Some pears were hung round their necks like unto a Paternoster.” In Biebrich on the Rhine, in 1482, a wine-falsifier was condemned to drink six quarts of his own wine; from this he died. In Frankfurt, casks in which false wine had been found were placed with a red flag on the knacker’s cart, " the jailer marched before, the rabble after, and when they came to the river they broke the casks and tumbled the stufl into the stream.” In France successive ordormances from 1330 to 1672 forbade the mixing of two wines together under the penalty of a fine and the confiscation of the wine.

M adern British Legislation—In modern times the English parliament has dealt frequently with the subject of food adulteration. In 1725 it was provided that “ no dealer in tea or


manufacturer or dyer thereof, or pretending so to he, shall counterfeit or adulterate tea, or cause or procure the same to be counterfeited or adulterated, or shall alter, fabricate or manufacture tea with terra-japonica, or with any drug or drugs whatsoever; nor shall mix or cause or procure to be mixed with tea any leaves other than the leaves of tea or other ingredients whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting and losing the tea so counterfeited, adulterated, altered, fabricated, manufactured or mixed, and any other thing or things whatsoever added thereto, or mixed or used therewith, and also the sum of £100.” Six years afterwards, in 1730—1731, a further act was passed prescribing a penalty for “ sophisticating ” tea; it recites that several ill-disposed persons do frequently dye, fabricate or manufacture very great quantities of sloe leaves, liquorice leaves, and the leaves of tea that have been before used, or the leaves of other trees, shrubs or plants in imitation of tea, and do likewise mix, colour, stain and dye such leaves and likewise tea with terra-japonica, sugar, molasses, clay, logwood, and with other ingredients, and do sell and vend the same as true and real tea, to the prejudice of the health of his majesty's subjects, the diminution of the revenue and to the ruin of the fair trader. This act provides that for every pound of adulterated tea found in possession of any person, a sum of £10 shall be forfeited. It was followed by one passed in 1 766—1767, which increased the penalty to imprisonment for not less than six nor more than twelve months. As regards cofiee, an act of 1718 recited that “ divers evil-disposed persons have at the time or soon after the roasting of coffee made use of water, grease, butter or such-like materials, whereby the same is rendered unwholesome and greatly increased in weight,” and a penalty of £20 is enacted. In 1803 an act refers to the addition of burnt, scorched or roasted peas, beans or other grains or vegetable substances prepared in imitation of coffee or cocoa, to cofiee or cocoa, and fixes the penalty for the oflence at £100, but subsequently permission was given to coffee or cocoa dealers also to deal in scorched or roasted corn, peas, beans or parsnips whole and not ground, crushed or powdered, under certain excise restrictions. An act passed in 1816 relating to beer and porter provides that no brewer of or dealer in or retailer of beer “ shall receive or have in his possession, or make or mix with any worts or beer, any liquor, extract or other preparation for the purpose of darkening the colour of worts or beer, other than brown malt, ground or unground, or shall have in his possession or use, or mix with any worts or beer any molasses, honey, liquorice, vitriol, quassia, coculus-indiae, grains of paradise, guinea-pepper or opium, or any extracts of these, or any articles or preparation whatsoever for or as a substitute for malt or hops.” Any person contravening was liable to a penalty of £200, and any druggist selling to any brewer or retail dealer any colouring or malt substitute was to be fined £500. It was only in 1847 that brewers were allowed to make for their own use, from sugar, a liquor for darkening the colour of worts or beer and to use it in brewing.

All the laws hitherto referred to were mainly passed in the interest of the inland revenue, and their execution was left entirely in the hands of the revenue officers. It was but natural that they should look primarily after the dutiable articles and not after those that brought no revenue to the state. About the middle of the 19th century many articles, however, paid import duty; butter, for instance, paid 55. per hundredweight; cheese from rs. 6d. to 25. 6d.; vflour or meal of all kinds, 4§d.; ginger, 105.; isinglass, 55.; and so on. Sensational and doubtless largely exaggerated statements were from time to time published concerning the food supply of the nation. F. C. Accum (1769-1838) by his Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poison: (1820), and particularly an anonymous writer of a book entitled Deadly Adulteralion and Slow Poisoning unmasked, or Disease and Death in the P0! and the Battle, in which the bloodemPoisoning and life-destroying adulterations of wines, spirits, beer, bread, flour, tea, sugar, spices, cheesemongery, Pastry, confectionery, medicines, fire. 6%., are laid open to the public (1830), roused the public attention. In 1850 a physician, Dr. Arthu! H. Hassall, had the happy idea of looking at ground coflee through the microscope. Eminent chemists had previously found great difficulty in establishing any satisfactory chemical distinction between coffee, chicory and other adulterants of cofiee; the microscope immediately showed the structural difierence of the particles, however small. The results of Hassall’s examinations were embodied in a paper which was read before the Botanical Society of London and was reported in The Times, 1850. A paper on the microscopic examination of sugar, showing the presence in that article of innumerable living mites, followed and attracted much attention. Hassall was in consequence commissioned by Thomas Wakley (1795—1862), the owner of the Lancet, to extend his examination to other articles of food, and for a period of nearly four years reports of the Lancet Analytical Sanitary Commission were regularly published, the names and addresses of hundreds of manufacturers and tradesmen selling adulterated articles being fearlessly given. The responsibility incurred was immense, but the assertions of the journal were so well founded upon fact that they were universally accepted as accurately representing the appalling state of the food supply. As instances may be cited, that of thirty-four samples of coffee only three were pure, chicory being present in thirty-one, roasted corn in twelve, beans and potatofiour each in one; of thirty-four samples of chicory, fourteen were adulterated with corn, beans or acorns; of forty-nine samples of bread, every one contained alum; of fifty-six samples of cocoa, only eight were pure; of twenty-six milks, fourteen were adulterated; of twenty-eight cayenne peppers, only four were genuine, thirteen containing red-lead and one vermilion; of upwards of one hundred samples of coloured sugar-confectionery, fifty-nine contained chromate of lead, eleven gamboge, twelve red-lead, six vermilion, nine arsenite of copper and four white-lead.

In consequence of the Lancet’s disclosures a parliamentary committee was appointed in 18 5 5, the labours of which resulted in 1860 in the Adulteration ofFood and Drink Act, the first act that dealt generally with the adulteration of food. The first section of this enacted “ that every person who shall sell any article of food or drink with which, to the knowledge of such person, any ingredient or material injurious to the health of persons eating or drinking such article has been mixed, and every person who shall sell as pure or unadulterated any article of food or drink which is adulterated and not pure, shall for every such offence, on summary conviction, pay a penalty not exceeding £5 with costs.” In the case of a second offence the name, place of abode and offence might be published in the newspapers at the ofi'ender’s expense. As the act, however, left it optional to the district authorities to appoint analysts or not, and did not provide for the appointment of any officer upon whom should rest the duty of obtaining samples or of prosecuting oflenders, it virtually remained a dead letter till mm 1872, when the Adulteration of Food and Drugs Act

came into force, prescribing a penalty not exceeding {50 for the sale of injurious food and, for a second offence, imprisonment for six months with hard labour. Inspectors were empowered to make purchases of samples to be submitted for analysis, but appointment of analysts was- still left optional. The definition of an adulterated article given in that act was essentially that still accepted at the present time, namely, “ any article of food or drink or any drug mixed with any other sub— stances, with intent fraudulently to increase its weight or bulk, without declaration of such admixture to any purchaser thereof before delivering the same.” The adoption of the act was sporadic, and, outside London and a few large towns, the number of proceedings against offenders remained exceedingly small. Nevertheless complaints soon arose that it inflicted considerable injury and imposed heavy and undeserved penalties upon some respectable tradesmen, mainly owing to the “ want of a clear understanding of what does and does not constitute adultera~ tion,” and in some cases to conflicting decisions and the inexperience of analysts.

Again a parliamentary committee was appointed which took a mass of evidence, the outcome of its inquiries being the Sale

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of Food and Drugs Act 1875, which is in force at the present day, subject to amendments and additions made at '8”: later dates. This act avoided the term “adulteration”

altogether and endeavoured to give a clearer description of punishable offences:—

Section 6. “ No person shall sell to the purchaser any article of food or any drug which is not of the nature, substance and quality of the article demanded by the purchaser under a penalty not exceeding £20; provided that an offence shall not be deemed to be committed under this section in the following cases: (1) where any matter or ingredient not injurious to health has been added to the food or drug because the same is required for the production or preparation thereof as an article of commerce, in a state fit for carriage or consumption, and not fraudulently to increase the bulk, weight or measure of the food or drug, or conceal the inferior quality thereof; (2) where the food or drug is a proprietary medicine, or is the subject of a patent in force and is supplied in the state required by the specification of the patent; (3) where the food or drug is compounded as in the act mentioned; (4) where the food or drug is unavoidably mixed with some extraneous matter in the process of collection or preparation.”

Section 8. “ No person shall be guilty of any such offence as aforesaid in respect to the sale of an article of food or a drug mixed with any matter or ingredient not injurious to health, and not intended fraudulently to increase its bulk, weight or measure, or conceal its inferior quality, if at the time of delivering such article or drug he shall supply to the person receiving the same a notice, by a label distinctly and legibly written or printed on or with the article or drug, to the effect that the same is mixed.”

The act made the appointment of analysts compulsory upon the city of London, the vestries, county quarter sessions and town councils or boroughs having a separate police establishment. For the protection of the vendor, samples that had been purchased by the inspectors for analysis were to be offered to be divided into three parts, one to be submitted to the analyst, the second to be given to the vendor to be dealt with by him as he might deem fit, and the third to be retained by the inspettor, and, at the discretion of the magistrate hearing any summons, to be submitted, in case of dispute, to the commissioners of inland‘ revenue for analysis by the chemical laboratory at Somerset House. The public analyst had to give a certificate, couched in a prescribed form, to the person submitting any sample for analysis, which certificate was to be taken as evidence of the facts therein stated, in order to render the proceedings as inexpensive as practicable. If the defendant in any prosecution could prove to the satisfaction of the court that he had purchased the article under a warranty of genuineness, and that he sold it in the same state as when he purchased it, he was to be discharged from the prosecution, but no provision was made that in that event the giver of the warranty should be proceeded against.

Section 6, quoted above, gave rise to an immense amount of litigation, and already in 1879 it was found necessary to pass an amending act, making it clear that if a purchase ,871 was effected by an inspector with the intent to get the purchased article analysed, he was as much “prejudiced ” if obtaining a sophisticated article as a private purchaser who purchased for his own use and consumption. The amending act also dealt in some small measure with a difficulty which immediately after passing the act was found to arise in ascertaining whether any article was “of the nature, substance and quality demanded by the purchaser ” — “ in determining whether an offence has been committed under section 6 by selling spirits not adulterated otherwise than by the admixture of water, it shall be a good defence to prove that such admixture has not reduced the spirit more than twenty-five degrees under proof for brandy, whisky or rum, or thirty-five under proof for gin.” Almost insuperable difficulties as to the meaning of “ nature, substance and quality ” subsequently arose as regards every conceivable food material. As it was obviously impossible for parliament to define every article, to lay down limits of composition within which it might vary, to specify the substances or ingredients that might enter into it, to limit the proportions of the unavoidable impurities that might be contained in it, the duty to do all this was left to the individual analysts. An enormous number of substances had to be analysed until sufficient evidence had been accumulated for the giving of correct opinions or certificates. Endless disputes unavoidably arose, friction with manufacturers and traders, unfortunately also with the referees at the inland revenue, who for many years were altogether out of touch with the analysts. Conflicting decisions come to by various benches of magistrates upon similar cases, allowing of the legal sale of an article in one district which in another had been declared illegal, rendered the position of merchants often unsatisfactory. It was not recognized by parliament until almost a quarter of a century had elapsed that it was not enough to compel local authorities to get samples analysed, but that it was also the duty of parliament to lay down specific and clear instructions that might enable the officers to do their work. This has only been very partially done even at the present time.

A curious condition of things arose out of the definition of “ food ” given in the act of 1875: “ The term food shall include

mm]. every article used for food or drink by man, other than ties of drugs or water." It had been the practice of bakers $7121" to add alum to the flour from which bread was

manufactured, in order to whiten the bread, and to permit the use of damaged and discoloured flour. This practice had been strongly condemned by chemists and physicians, because it rendered the bread indigestible and injurious to health. Shortly after the passing of the Food Act this objectionable practice was stamped out by numerous prosecutions, and alumed bread now no longer occurs. A large trade, however, continued to be carried on in baking powders consisting of alum and sodium bicarbonate. It was naturally thought that, as baking powder is sold with the obvious intention that it may enter into food, the vendors could also be proceeded against. The high court, however, held that, baking powder in itself not being an article of food, its sale could not be an offence under the Food Act. This anomaly was removed by a later act.

Under section 6 of the act of 1875 a defendant could be convicted, even if he had no guilty knowledge of the fact that the article he had sold was adulterated. In the repealed Adulteration Act of 1872 the words “ to the knowledge of ” were inserted, and they were found fatal to obtaining convictions. The general rule of the law is that the master is not criminally responsible for the acts of his servants if they are done without his knowledge or authority, but under the Food Act it was held (Brown v. Foot, 1892, 66 L.T. 649) that a master was liable for the watering of milk by one of his servants, although he had published a warning to them that they would be dismissed if found doing so. Milk might be adulterated during transit on the railway without the knowledge of the owner or receiver, and yet the vendor was liable to conviction.

When it is brought to the knowledge of a purchaser that the article sold to him is not of the nature, substance or quality he demanded, the sale is not to the prejudice of the purchaser. The notice may be given verbally or by a label supplied with the article. A common law notice may also be given. In Sandy: v. Small, 1878, 3 Q.B.D. 449, a publican had displayed a placard within the inn to the effect that the spirits sold in his establishment were watered. This was held, as it were, to contract him out of the Food Act. Similarly, in the case of butters that had been adulterated with milk, the vendors, by giving a general notice in the shop, evaded punishment under the act. A notice, is, however, of no avail if given under section 8 of the act, if the admixture has been made for fraudulent purposes. In Liddiarl v. Reece, 44 ].P. 233,, 1880, an inspector asked for coffee and received a packet with a label describing it as a mixture of coffee and chicory. It was sold at the price of coffee. It turned out to be a mixture containing 40% of chicory. The high court held that this was an excessive quan


tity, and was added for the purpose of fraudulently increasing the bulk or weight. In another case, however (Otter v. Edgley, 1893, 57 ].P. 457), where an inspector had asked for French coffee and had been supplied with a mixture containing 60% of chicory, the article being labelled as a mixture, the high court held that there was no evidence of fraud, and, in the case of cocoa, a mixture containing as little as 30% of cocoa and 70% of starch and sugar, the label stating it to be a mixture, was held to have been legally sold (Jones v. Jones, 1894, 58 ].P. 653). In this Case the label notifying the admixture was hidden by a sheet of opaque white paper, nor had the purchaser’s attention been called to it, but the price of the article was much lower than that of pure cocoa.

It is seen from these few instances, taken at random out of scores, that this clause of the act was far from clear and was very variously interpreted at the courts. The warranty clause (clause 25) also gave rise to an. immense amount of litigation. In the earlier high court decisions a very narrow interpretation was given to the term “ written warranty,” but in later years a wider view prevailed. A general contract to supply a pure article is not a sufficient warranty unless with every delivery there is something to identify the delivery as part of the contract. An invoice containing merely a description of an article as “lard ” or “ pepper ” is not a warranty; but if there be added the words “ guaranteed pure ” it is a sufficient warranty. A label upon an article is not in itself a warranty, but a label bearing the words “pure” or “unadulterated,” coupled with an invoice which could be identified with the label, together were held to form an effective warranty.

As many thousands of samples were annually submitted by inspectors under the act to the analysts who had been appointed in 237 boroughs and districts, a very large number of cases led to disputes of law or fact, about seventy high court cases being decided within eighteen years of the passing of the act. While these cases related to a variety of different articles and conditions, dairy produce, namely milk and butter, led to the greatest amount of litigation. It may seem to be a simple matter to ascertain whether a. vendor of milk supplies his customer with milk of the “ nature, substance and quality demanded,” but milk is subject to great variations in composition owing to a large number of circumstances which will be considered below.

Not many years after the passing of the Food Act of 1875 the sale of butter substitutes assumed very large proportions, and so seriously prejudiced dairy-farmers that, as regards these, an act was passed which was not exactly an amendment of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, although it embodied a good many provisions of that act. It was called the Margarine Act 1887. It provided that every package of articles made in imitation of butter should be labelled “ margarine ” guru‘qu in letters 1} inches square. The vendor, however, was protected if he could show a warranty or invoice, whereas in the Sale of Food and Drugs Act he was not protected by invoice merely. Inspectors might take samples of “ any butter or substitute purporting to be butter” without going through the form of purchase. The maximum penalty was raised from {20 as provided by the Food Act, to £50 in the-case of a first and to £100 in the case of repeated conviction. The Margarine Act is the first statute that makes reference to and sanctions the use of preservatives, concerning which a good deal will have to be said farther on.

In the course of twenty years of administration of the Food Acts so many difliculties had arisen in reference to the various points referred to, that in 1894 a select committee was

. . . . . . 5 appointed to inquire into the working of the vanous 6:23,, acts and to report whether any, and if so what, amend- m, 1894.

ments were desirable. During three sessions the com

mittee sat and took voluminous evidence. They reported that where the acts had been well administered they had been most beneficial in diminishing adulteration ofiences. Forms of adulteration which were common prior to the passing of the 1875 act, such as the introduction of alum into bread and the colouring of confectionery with poisonous material, had almost entirely disappeared. A close connexion had been shown to exist between the extent of adulteration and the number of articles submitted for analysis under the acts, the proportion of adulterated samples being found to diminish as the number of samples taken relatively to the population increased. Thus, in 1890, in Somersetshire one sample had been analysed for every 379 persons, the percentage of adulterated samples in those taken for analysis being as low as 3-6; in Gloucestershire one to 770 persons with 6-2 of adulteration; in Bedfordshire one to 821 with 7-1; in Derbyshire one to 3164 with 17-1 %, and in Oxford one sample to 14,963 inhabitants with no less than 41-7 % of adulterated samples. The number of samples of articles annually submitted to analysis, according to the returns obtained by the Local Government Board, steadily increased from the commencement onward. Whereas in 1877, 14,706 samples, and in 188 3, 19,648 samples were analysed, in 1904—1905 the number was no less than 84,678, or an average of one sample to 384 inhabitants for the whole country. In the five years 1877—1881 the proportion found adulterated was 16-2 %; in the following five years ending with 1886, the percentage was 13-9; in the five years ending 1891, the percentage was 11-7; and in the year 1904 the percentage was only 8- 5. The select committee found that wide local differences in the administration of the acts existed, and that in many parts of the country the local authorities had failed to exercise their powers. In one metropolitan district, eight members of the local authority had been convicted of offences under the acts, upon evidence obtained by their own inspector. The result was that the duties of the inspector of the acts were afterwards controlled by a committee of that local authority, who decided the cases in which prosecutions should be undertaken, and the administration of the acts was “little better than a farce." No power existed to compel local authorities to carry out the acts. The committee came to the conclusion that in many cases the responsibility for the adulteration of articles of food did not rest with the retailer but with the wholesale dealer or manufacturer; that the law punished petty offences and left great ones untouched; that it fined a small retailer and left the wholesale offender scot free. As regards warranty, they thought that the precedent created by the Margarine Act should be followed generally, and that invoices and equivalent documents should have the force of warranties. They found that a considerable proportion of the food imports were adulterated, out of 890 samples of butter taken by the customs in 1895 no less than 106 being impure, and they recommended that in addition to tea, which by section 30 of the act of 1875 was to be systematically analysed by the customs, prior to being passed for distribution, samples of all food imports should be taken and examined by the customs. The committee further found that the penalties imposed under the acts had for the most part been trifling and quite insufficient to serve as deterrents, the profits derived from the sale of adulterated articles being out of proportion great to the insignificant fines imposed, and they recommended that for the second ofi'ence the penalty of £ 5 should be the minimum one, and that in respect to third or subsequent offences imprisonment without the option of a fine might be inflicted. The important question of food standards was considered at great length. The absence of legal standards or definitions of articles of food had occasioned great difficulty in numerous cases, but as no authority was provided by the existing acts that might fix such standards, they recommended the formation of a scientific authority or court of reference composed of representatives of the laboratory of the Inland Revenue, of the Local Government Board, the Board of Agriculture, the General Medical Council, the Institute of Chemistry, the Pharmaceutical Society, of other scientific men and of the trading and manu~ facturing community, who should have the duty of fixing standards of quality and purity of food to be confirmed by a secretary of state.

The committee’s deliberations and recommendations resulted in the Sale of Food and Drugs Act 1899. This unfortunately was not a comprehensive act superseding the previous acts, but was an additional and amending one, so that at the present time


four food acts run parallel and are together in force, rendering the subject from a legal point of view one of extreme complexity. In this act the growing influence of the Board of Agriculture and the desire to assist farmers and dairymen more decisively than previously are clearly apparent. Section 1 empowers the customs to take samples of consignments of imported articles of food and enjoins them to communicate to the Board of Agriculture the names of the importers of adulterated goods, any article of food to be considered adulterated or impoverished if it has been mixed with any other substance (other than preservative or colouring matter, of such a nature and such a quantity as not to render the article injurious to health), or if any part of it has been abstracted to the detriment of the article. Margarine or cheese containing margarine has to be conspicuously marked as such; condensed, separated or skim milk has to be clearly labelled “ machine-skimmed milk ” or “ skimmed milk,” as the case may be. The next sections give to the Local Government Board and the Board of Agriculture a roving commission to see that the acts are properly enforced throughout the kingdom so as to apply the acts more equally throughout the country than heretofore, and in default of local authorities carrying out their duties empower the government departments mentioned to execute and enforce the’ acts at the ' expense of the local authorities. The importance of a regular and conscientious control of the public food supply by the local authorities was thus for the first time, after forty years of experimental legislation, fully acknowledged. In recognition of the great difficulties experienced for many years by analysts in their endeavour to fix minimum percentages for the fat and other milk constituents, and their inability to do so without statutory powers, the Board of Agriculture is authorized by section 4 to make regulations “ for determining what deficiency in any of the normal constituents of genuine milk, cream, butter or cheese, or what addition of extraneous matter or proportion of water ” in any of these materials shall raise a presumption, until the contrary is proved, that these articles are not genuine. In pursuance of these powers the Board of Agricul— ture did in 1901 issue their milk regulations, adopting officially the minima agreed upon by public analysts, and in 1902 the sale of butter regulations, which fixed 16 % as the maximum of water that might be contained in butter. It is important to note that the fact of a sample of milk falling short of the standard is not conclusive evidence of adulteration, but it justifies the institution of proceedings and casts the onus of proving that the sample is genuine upon the defendant. The Margarine Act of 1887 was extended to margarine cheese, the obligatory labelling of margarine packages was more precisely regulated, margarine manufacturers and dealers in that article were compelled to keep a register open to inspection by the Board of Agriculture, showing the quantity and designation of each consignment, and power was given to officers of the board to enter at all reasonable times manufactories of margarine and margarine cheese. The amount of butter-fat that might be present in margarine was limited to 10 %, while under the Margarine Act of 1887 an unlimited admixture might have been made, provided that the mixture, no matter how large the percentage of butter, was sold as margarine. As is further explained below, the difficulty of distinguishing without chemical aid between pure butter and margarine containing a considerable percentage of butter is very great, and fraudulent sales continued to be common after the passing of the Margarine Act. The labelling section of the Food Act 1875 (§ 8), which had been systematically circumvented, was modified, a label being no longer recognized as distinctly and leginy written or printed, unless it is so writteri or printed that the notice of mixture given by the label is not obscured by other matter on the label, though labels that had been continuously in use for at least seven years before the commencement of the act were not interfered with. In consequence of the admitted unfairness of asking for a portion of the contents of a properly labelled tin or package and then instituting proceedings because no declaration of admixture had been made, it was enacted that no person shall be required to sell any

Act of 1899.

article exposed for sale in an unopened tin or packet, except in the unopened tin or packet in which it is contained. This removed a grievance which had long been felt both by retailers and manufacturers, and is a provision of growing importance with the continually increasing sale of articles put up in factories. The warranty provisions, which, as before stated, had given rise to much litigation, were more clearly defined. A notice that a defendant would rely for his defence upon a warranty had to be given within seven days of the service of the summons or the defence would not be available, and the warrantor was empowered to appear at the hearing and to'give evidence so that no man’s name could, as sometimes previously happened, be dragged into a case without due notice to him. A warranty or invoice given by a person resident outside the United Kingdom was no longer recognized as a defence, unless the defendant could prove that he had taken reasonable steps to ascertain and did in fact believe in the accuracy of the statement contained in the warranty. This prevented collusion between a foreign shipper and an importer; and, lastly, the definition of “food ” was widened (in view of the baking-powder decision) so that the term food “ shall include every article used for food or drink by man, other than drugs or water, and any article which ordinarily enters into or is used in the composition or preparation of human food, and shall also include flavoring matters and condiments.” ~

The act of 1899 embodies, with one exception, the most important recommendations of the Food Products Committee, the exception being the omission of instituting a board of reference that might deal with difficulties as they arose, guide analysts and public authorities in fixing limits for articles other than milk and butter, and take up the important questions of preservatives and colouring matters and such like. An occurrence which almost immediately followed the passing of the act showed in the strongest manner the necessity of such guiding board-— namely, the outbreak of arsenical poisoning in the Midlands in the latter part of 1900.

In the month of June 1900 there occurred, mainly in the Midlands but also in other parts of England and Wales, an outbreak of an illness variously described as “alcoholism,”

23:2,; “ peripheral neuritis ” or “multiple neuritis.” This affected about 6000 persons and resulted in about 70 deaths. It was soon ascertained that the sufferers were all beer

drinkers, and several of them were employees of a local brewery, the majority of whom had sufi'ered ior some months past. Although suspicion fell early upon beer, some considerable time elapsed before Dr E. S. Reynolds of Manchester discovered arsenic in dangerous proportions in the beer. Steps were immediately taken by brewers and sanitary authorities to ensure that this arsenical beer was withdrawn from sale, and, as a result, the epidemic came speedily to an end. In all instances where this epidemic of sickness had been traced to particular breweries, the latter had been users of brewing sugars—glucose and invert sugar—supplied by a single firm. The quantity of arsenic detected in specimens of these brewing sugars was in some cases very large, amounting to upward of four grains per pound. The implicated brewing sugars were found to have become contaminated by arsenic in course of their manufacture through the use of sulphuric acid, some specimens of which contained as much as 2-6% of arsenic. The acid had been made from highly arsenical iron pyrites, and as the manufac~ turers of the glucose had not specifically contracted with the acid makers for pure acid, the latter, not knowing for what purpose the acid was to be used, had felt themselves justified in supplying impure acid. A royal commission was appointed in February 1901, with Lord Kelvin as chairman, to inquire into the matter, and an enormous amount of attention was naturally given to it by chemists and medical men. It was soon found that arsenic was very widely disseminated in two classes of food materials, namely, such as had been dried or roasted in gases resulting from the combustion of coal, and such as had been more or less chemically manufactured. All coal contains iron pyrites', and this mineral again is contaminated with arsenic.


When the coal is burned the fumes are arsenical and part of the arsenic condenses and deposits. Malt dried in English malt kilns was found to be almost invariably arsenical, and there cannot be a doubt that English beers had for many years past been thus contaminated. At the present time coal virtually free from arsenic is selected for malting, or Newlands’ process, consisting of the admixture with coal of lime which renders the arsenic non-volatile, is adopted, and malt free from all but the merest traces of arsenic is manufactured. Part of the arsenic remains in the coal-ashes and wherever these deposit arsenic can be traced. Sir Edward Frankland had, many years ‘ previously, detected arsenic in the London atmosphere. Chicory roasted with coal, steaks and chops grilled over an open fire, thus obtain a minute arsenical dosing. In sugar refineries carbonic acid gas is, at one stage of the process, passed through the liquor for the purpose of precipitating lime or strontia. When this carbonic acid is derived from coal the sugar often shows traces of arsenic. When arsenical malt or sugar infusion is fermented, as in brewing, the yeast precipitates upon itself a considerable proportion of the impurity, thus partly cleaning the beer, but all preparations made from yeast—yeast-extracts resemble to some extent meat extracts, with which they are sometimes fraudulently mixed—are thus exposed to arsenical contamination. On the continent of Europe malt is not dried in kilns with direct access of combustion gases but on floors heated from beneath, and continental beers therefore have not been found arsenical. The second class of causes of contamination consists of chemicals. The most important chemical product is sulphuric acid. This used to be made from brimstone or native volcanic sulphur, which is virtually free from arsenic. But since about 1860 sulphuric acid has been more largely made from iron or copper pyrites. Pyrites-acid is always arsenical, but can, by suitable treatment, be easily freed from that impurity. For many purposes acid that has not been purified is employed. In the Leblanc process of manufacture the first step is the conversion of salt into sodium sulphate by sulphuric acid. The hydrochloric acid which is formed carries with it most of the arsenic of the sulphuric acid. Wherever such hydrochloric acid is used it introduces arsenic; thus, in the separation of glycerin from soap lycs, the alkali of the latter is neutraliZed with hydrochloric acid and glycerin is in consequence frequently highly arsenical. So is the soda produced in the Leblanc process, and every one of the numerous soda salts made from soda is liable to receive its share. All acids liberated from their salts by sulphuric acid, such as phosphoric, tartaric, citric, boracic, may be, and sometimes are, thus contaminated. All superphosphates, made by the action of crude sulphuric acid upon bones or other phosphatic materials, and sulphate of ammonia, made from gas-liquor and acid, that is to say, two of the most important manurial materials, are arsenical, and the poison is thus spread far and wide over meadows and fields, and can be traced in the soil wherever artificial manures have been applied. The crops sometimes take up arsenic to a slight extent, but happily the plant is more selective than man, and no serious amount of poison absorption appears to be possible. The risk of contamination is, of course, much greater with substances which, like glucose, are not further purified by crystallization, but retain whatever impurity is introduced into them. Glucose is not only used in beer, in which by legal enactments it is permitted to be used, but is also substituted for sugar in a number of food products, and is liable to carry into them its contamination. Sugar confectionery, jams and marmalade, honey, and such like, are often admixed with glucose. It is difficult to say in the present state of the law whether such admixture amounts to adulteration. It was clearly made originally for fraudulent purposes, but usage and high court decisions have gradually given the practice an air of respectability. Vinegar of sorts is also made from a glucose liquor produced by the action of sulphuric acid upon maize or other starchy material, and is, in its turn, exposed to arsenic contamination. There is hardly a chemical substance which has directly or indirectly come into contact with sulphuric acid that is not at times arsenical. Thus, while artificial colours,

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