From a recently published letter addressed to a well‐known firm of whisky manufacturers by Mr. JOHN LETHIBY, Assistant Secretary to the Local Government Board, it is plain that the Board decline to entertain the suggestion that the Government should take steps to compel manufacturers of whisky to apply correct descriptions to their products. The adoption of this attitude by the Board might have been anticipated, but the grounds upon which the Board appear to have taken it up are not in reality such as will afford an adequate defence of their position, as the negative evidence given before the Select Committee on Food Products Adulteration and yielded by the reports of Public Analysts is beside the mark. The introduction of a governmental control of the nature suggested is not only undesirable but impracticable. It is undesirable because such a control must be compulsory and is bound to be unfair. It would be relegated to a Government Department, and of necessity, therefore, in the result it would be in the hands of an individual—the head of the Department—and subject entirely to the ideas and the unavoidable prejudices of one person. It is impracticable because no Government or Government Department could afford to take up a position involving the recommendation of particular products and the condemnation of others. No Government could take upon itself the onus of deciding questions of quality as distinguished from questions merely involving nature and substance. A system of control, in order to be effective and valuable alike to the public and the honest manufacturer, must be voluntary in its nature in so far as the manufacturer is concerned, and must be carried out by an independent and authoritative body entirely free from governmental trammels, and possessing full liberty to give or withhold its approbation or guarantee.
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