British Food Journal Volume 4 Issue 12 1902
Article publication date: 1 December 1902
We publish elsewhere a report of the judgment delivered by Mr. LOVELAND‐LOVELAND, K.C., Chairman of the County of London Sessions, in the case of the Kensington Borough Council versus Bugg. The termination of this case has been called a “compromise” by some of the trade journals, and it is well to point out that it was nothing of the kind. When a conviction is confirmed in a higher court, and when proceedings are stayed upon an undertaking being given by the defendants that they will do what they were proceeded against for not doing, the description of such circumstances by the term “compromise” is ridiculous—particularly when a judgment is accompanied by remarks so decisive and uncompromising as those which were made by the learned Chairman in reference to this case. The suggestion that the case should bo brought to a conclusion in the manner indicated came from the Bench, who were evidently perfectly satisfied as to the meaning which attaches to the word “Cornflour,” and the course suggested was obviously intended merely to save the time of the Court; while the fact that the defendants submitted to the terms imposed without oven attempting to bring forward such evidence as they might have been able to get to support their position, is in itself amply sufficient to show that their advisers had appreciated the weakness of their case. There has been the usual outery in the trade journals about the sufferings of the innocent tradesman, and about “interference with the liberties of manufacturers.” In the whole history of the administration of the Food Acts in this country there are hardly any instances of prosecutions for the sale of an article under a name which is properly applicable to another, in which such outcries have not been raised. Such outcries may, however, be taken as blessings in disguise, since they mainly serve to emphasise the facts and to educate the public. The term “Cornflour” is well known to have originated from the expression “Indian Corn Flour,” and it unquestionably has a specific meaning which is not applicable to either of the two words of which the term is made up. Originally, perhaps, the term “Indian Corn Flour” may have meant the actual meal of Indian Corn or Maize, but, by the usage of more than forty years the term “ Cornflour” means the prepared starch of Maize. No doubt it has been honestly thought by some that in view of this fact any starch might bo described as “Cornflour,” but such a position is quite untenable There is no argument which can bo adduced in support of the contention that rice starch may bo described as Cornflour, which cannot also be brought forward in support of a statement that any starch whatever may be sold as Cornflour. The absurdity of this position is so obvious that it is needless to discuss it. The starches obtained from different sources are different in physical characters, in structure, and in other respects. For these reasons they are differently acted upon by the digestive juices. Moreover different starch preparations exhibit differences which are due to the presence of minute amounts of special flavouring substances derived from the raw material; and these differences it is most important to consider since they often give to an article certain characters which are required by the purchaser. A number of instances in point could be brought forward. It is no more permissible to substitute rice starch for maize starch than it is to substitute potato starch for arrowroot starch, and, for reasons which are perfectly well known and always acted upon in the medical profession, a medical man who orders a patient to be fed on a particular starch food, such as cornflour, would strongly and rightly object—particularly in certain cases —to the substitution of another starch preparation for that which he had ordered. The matter has been settled in such a way and with so strong an expression of opinion on the part of the tribunal which dealt with it, that we think it unnecessary to discuss it further.
(1902), "British Food Journal Volume 4 Issue 12 1902", British Food Journal, Vol. 4 No. 12, pp. 257-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb010894
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