To read this content please select one of the options below:

British Food Journal Volume 17 Issue 8 1915

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 August 1915



According to a report issued by the Director of the Chemical Laboratory of the Department of Police in Berlin which has reached the Journal of the American Medical Association, some interesting exhibitions of German “culture” in the matter of food frauds have been afforded during the war. We do not know the origin or the justification (if any) of the ancient proverb that there is “honour among thieves.” Evidently, however, even this form of “honour,” if it exists, does not exist among the Huns, since the criminal in the German lines is hocussed by the huckster‐criminal in the German fake‐shop. One of the articles supplied to stimulate the Hun in the doing of those deeds of Hunnish valour peculiar to himself is known as “solid alcohol,” advertised as a substitute for familiar alcoholic beverages, and consisting of cubes of gelatin to which brandy and sugar are supposed to have been added before the mixture has solidified. The directions are to pour hot water on these cubes, whereupon one obtains a sweetish fluid, weak in alcohol, and possessing the objectionable flavour of glue. The longer the cubes are kept the greater is the tendency of the alcohol originally present to disappear by evaporation, so that the supposedly invigorating “solid brandy,” never at any time a representative product, becomes weaker and weaker in alcoholic strength. In some cases the cubes have been replaced by collapsible tubes of semi‐gelatinous mixtures containing some brandy and advertised for use in the same way with hot water. The price of two‐ounce tubes varies from 25 to 35 cents. The alcohol content has gradually been reduced by the manufacturers, and one firm went so far as to introduce brandy substitutes and substances of a “peppery” nature to simulate the “warmth” of a dose of brandy. Painful lesions about the mouth have been reported by Germans on the march who were unable to wash out the disgusting mixture that was sent to them by their friends. Other “substitutes” for alcoholic beverages were found to consist of cubes of sugar coloured with coal‐tar dyes mixed with tartaric acid. Grosslv adulterated coffee and cocoa have likewise been supplied in tablet form. One popular brand was sold at the rate of 12 marks per pound. Coffee has been often replaced by chicory mixed with sugar. 500,000 kilograms of cocoa husks found their way into the market in Hamburg alone. Tablets alleged to be made of dried milk, but being nothing of the kind, have been sent in enormous quantities.


(1915), "British Food Journal Volume 17 Issue 8 1915", British Food Journal, Vol. 17 No. 8, pp. 141-160.




Copyright © 1915, MCB UP Limited

Related articles