The Society of the White Cross of Geneva appears to have been founded with the object of organising on an international basis the attempts that are being made at the present time in civilised countries to bring under control, and if possible to stamp out, certain abuses, frauds, and other injurious factors more or less existent in modern civilised life. Among the subjects to be dealt with are mentioned “les empoisonnements alimentaires,” and adulteration generally, and the principal part of the business of the International Congress which met at Geneva last year and whose second sitting has just ended in Paris, appears to have related to food questions. The objects aimed at by the society are, no doubt, excellent, but they are hardly likely to be attained if the procedure followed in certain respects at the Geneva and Paris Congresses is adopted in the future. Many of the questions brought before these Congresses were of a highly technical nature, and, for this reason, it was not only very desirable, but absolutely necessary that the matters under discussion should have been dealt with, so far as time allowed, by a thoroughly representative international body composed exclusively of scientific and legal experts of recognised position in their respective countries—that is to say, if the conclusions arrived at were to be taken as representing a serious expression of authoritative opinion. It does not appear that the conclusions and resolutions of these Congresses were arrived at by meetings constituted on these lines, and it is probably for this reason that very little, if any, impression has been produced by the gatherings referred to. The initial mistake appears to have been the admission of a number of people who were obviously only interested in the commercial aspects of the subjects dealt with, and who were sufficiently numerous and persistent to influence the meetings in directions favourable to what were declared to be the “requirements” of trade.
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