Very much more might be done to improve the quality of our food supplies by the great organisations that exist for the avowed object of furthering the interests of traders in foodstuffs. It is no exaggeration to say that these organisations claim, and rightly claim, to speak in the aggregate on behalf of great commercial interests involving the means of livelihood of thousands of people and the most profitable disposal of millions of money. The information that they possess as to certain trade methods and requirements is necessarily unique. Apart from the commercial knowledge they possess, these organisations have funds at their command which enable them to obtain the best professional opinions on any subjects connected with the trades they represent. Their members are frequently to be found occupying positions of responsibility as the elected representatives of their fellow‐citizens on municipal councils and other public bodies, where the administration of the Food Laws and prosecutions under the Food and Drugs Acts are often under discussion. Such organisations, then, are in a position to afford an unlimited amount of valuable help by assisting to put down fraud in connection with our food supply. The dosing of foods with harmful drugs is, of course, only a part of a very much larger subject. It is, however, typical. Assuming the danger to public health that arises from the treatment of foods with harmful preservatives, the continued use of such substances cannot but be in the long run as harmful to the best interests of the traders as it is actually dangerous to public health. The trade organisations to which reference has been made might very well extend their sphere of usefulness by making it their business to seriously consider this and similar questions in the interests of public health, as well as in their own best interests. It is surely not open to doubt that a great organisation, numbering hundreds, and perhaps thousands of members, has such a membership because individual traders find it to their interest, as do people in all walks of life, to act more or less in common for the general advantage ; and, further, that it would not be to the benefit of individual members that their connection with the organisation should terminate owing to their own wrong‐doing. The executives of such trade organisations hold a sufficiently strong position to enable them to bring strong pressure to bear on those who are acting in a way that is contrary to the interests of the public generally, and of honest traders in particular, by adulterating or misbranding the food products that they gain their living by selling. It should also be plain that such trade organisations could go a long way towards solving many of the very vexed questions that arise whenever food standards and limits, for example, form the subject of discussion. These problems are not easy to deal with. The difficulties in connection with them are many and great; but such problems, however difficult of solution, are still not insoluble, and an important step towards their solution would be taken if co‐operation between those who are acting in the interests of hygienic science and those who are acting in the interests of trade could be brought about. If this could be accomplished the unedifying spectacle of alleged trade interests and the demands of public health being brought, as is so often the case, into sharp conflict, would be less frequent, and there can be no doubt that general benefit would result.
MCB UP Ltd
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