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British Food Journal Volume 1 Issue 4 1899

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 April 1899



The Food and Drugs Bill introduced by the Government affords an excellent illustration of the fact that repressive legislative enactments in regard to adulteration must always be of such a nature that, while they give a certain degree and a certain kind of protection to the public, they can never be expected to supply a sufficiently real and effective insurance against adulteration and against the palming off of inferior goods, nor an adequate and satisfactory protection to the producer and vendor of superior articles. In this country, at any rate, legislation on the adulteration question has always been, and probably will always be of a somewhat weak and patchy character, with the defects inevitably resulting from more or less futile attempts to conciliate a variety of conflicting interests. The Bill as it stands, for instance, fails to deal in any way satisfactorily with the subject of preservatives, and, if passed in its present form, will give the force of law to the standards of Somerset House—standards which must of necessity be low and the general acceptance of which must tend to reduce the quality of foods and drugs to the same dead‐level of extreme inferiority. The ludicrous laissez faire report of the Beer Materials Committee—whose authors see no reason to interfere with the unrestricted sale of the products of the “ free mash tun,” or, more properly speaking, of the free adulteration tun—affords a further instance of what is to be expected at present and for many years to come as the result of governmental travail and official meditations. Public feeling is developing in reference to these matters. There is a growing demand for some system of effective insurance, official or non‐official, based on common‐sense and common honesty ; and it is on account of the plain necessity that the quibbles and futilities attaching to repressive legislation shall by some means be brushed aside that we have come to believe in the power and the value of the system of Control, and that we advocate its general acceptance. The attitude and the policy of the INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON ADULTERATION, of the BRITISH FOOD JOURNAL, and of the BRITISH ANALYTICAL CONTROL, are in all respects identical with regard to adulteration questions; and in answer to the observations and suggestions which have been put forward since the introduction of the Control System in England, it may be well once more to state that nothing will meet with the approbation or support of the Control which is not pure, genuine, and good in the strictest sense of these terms. Those applicants and critics whom it may concern may with advantage take notice of the fact that under no circumstances will approval be given to such articles as substitute beers, separated milks, coppered vegetables, dyed sugars, foods treated with chemical preservatives, or, in fact, to any food or drug which cannot be regarded as in every respect free from any adulterant, and free from any suspicion of sophistication or inferiority. The supply of such articles as those referred to, which is left more or less unfettered by the cumbrous machinery of the law, as well as the sale of those adulterated goods with which the law can more easily deal, can only be adequately held in check by the application of a strong system of Control to justify approbation, providing, as this does, the only effective form of insurance which up to the present has been devised.


(1899), "British Food Journal Volume 1 Issue 4 1899", British Food Journal, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 97-128.




Copyright © 1899, MCB UP Limited

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