In October, 1902, the Secretary of the Mineral Water Bottle Exchange and Trade Protection Society addressed a letter to the Clerk of the London County Council stating that aerated and mineral waters are, in many instances, manufactured under insanitary conditions, and suggesting that the Council should take action in the matter. The Public Health Committee of the Council thereupon directed that a number of premises where aerated waters are manufactured should be inspected, and, in February, 1903, Dr. Shirley Murphy, the Medical Officer to the Council, presented a report drawn up by Dr. Hamer, the Assistant Medical Officer, by whom the inspections ordered were carried out. Dr. Hamer came to the conclusion that it was most desirable in the interests of the consumer that the manufacture of aerated waters in London should be regulated and controlled. The quantity of aerated water sold in London is very large, and Dr. Hamer's inspection of numerous premises showed that there are many possible sources of dangerous contamination of the water used during the process of the manufacture. We are in a position to state that Dr. Hamer was thoroughly justified in drawing the conclusions which appear in his report. The enormous growth in popularity during recent years of aerated and mineral waters, while unquestionably fraught with a most important influence for good, has brought a number of firms into existence who manufacture more or less inferior and, in some instances, positively injurious and dangerous waters, and who place their products on the market at “cutting” prices, with the result that the honest and careful manufacturer on the one hand, and the public on the other, are made to suffer. Unfair “competition” of the kind referred to exists, of course, in every trade, and only by the authoritative approval of the good and, by implication, the authoritative condemnation of the bad, can such “competition” be effectively checked. But where the health of the consumer is directly threatened or affected, as it particularly is by the supply of inferior or actually injurious aerated waters, the necessity for adequate regulation and control is immediately obvious. The matter cannot be dealt with under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts. It is not one involving analysis only but, so far as analysis is concerned, the provisions of the Acts make it impossible to carry out the analytical investigations that would be required. In addition to the official registration of all manufacturers of mineral and aerated waters, a combination of inspection and analysis by an authoritative bedy of some kind, or by a recognised individual authority, is necessary to supply a sufficient guarantee to the public and efficient protection to the manufacturer and vendor of pure and high‐class waters.
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