Some people assert that the tendency of modern Governments is to be too grandmotherly. They urge that people must not depend on the Government preventing them from coming to harm, and that they should be self‐reliant. This is very true, but nowadays one individual cannot be a specialist in everything. The ordinary person has to take a great many things on trust. For instance, a passenger by train is not able to inspect the engine and look at all the wheels, examine the whole length of railway, and in other ways assure himself that he and his are fairly safe from the results of the carelessness of others. On the contrary, he has to trust to the “powers that be” that they have adjusted the laws concerning responsibility in case of accident to any train that, on the average, the proper amount of care has been exercised. It is the same with weights and measures; a purchaser cannot always carry about with him a pair of scales and a set of weights to ensure his not being cheated; he has to trust to the Government and its inspector. And the Food and Drugs Acts constitute an attempt to protect people who are not in a position to protect themselves from being cheated. It has been suggested that the same principle should be extended to ensuring the proper cooking of food. The digestibility of most foods depends very largely upon the cooking, and yet how many of those who keep restaurants or roadside inns are really capable of cooking food properly? A busy man at the lunch hour and a cyclist at an inn are usually in a hurry. They have to eat the food supplied or go for some hours without any, and there ought to be some means invented to ensure the food being fit to eat. There would, of course, have to be some legal definition of “well‐done” or “under‐done” meat, and what a cup of “fresh” tea ought to be. The exact hardness of potatoes allowable by law would give rise to appeal cases, and some glaring case of an egg boiled too hard might send a landlord to prison for a month. Boarding‐houses might even be brought within the administrations of the Proper Cooking of Food Acts.
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