The “greening” of preserved vegetables by addition of sulphate of copper can only be regarded as an abominable form of adulteration, and it is passing strange that in this year of grace 1904 it should still be necessary to endeavour to impress the fact, not only upon the public generally, but upon the Government authorities and upon those who are concerned in the administration of the Food Acts and in adjudicating under their provisions. It ought surely not to be necessary to insist upon the tolerably obvious fact that the admixture of poisons with food is a most reprehensible and dangerous practice, and that the deliberate preparation and sale of food thus treated should be visited with condign punishment. The salts of copper are highly poisonous, and articles of food to which sulphate of copper has been added are not only thereby rendered injurious to health, but may be extremely dangerous when swallowed by persons who happen to be specially susceptible to the effects of this poison. After a lengthy investigation, the Departmental Committee appointed by the Local Government Board to report on the treatment of food with preservatives and colouring matters condemned the practice of adding salts of copper to food and recommended that the use of these poisons for such purposes should be absolutely prohibited. Without any such investigation as that which was conducted by the Departmental Committee—and a most thorough and painstaking investigation it was—it should have been sufficiently plain that to allow or to excuse the practice in question are proceedings utterly at variance with common sense.
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