The annual report of the Food Investigation Board which has just been issued contains much information relating to the cold storage of meat which is of interest. The Engineering Committee has offered some valuable suggestions on the means of improving refrigerating plant. Particular attention has been given to the condition known as “Black Spot,” which is caused by a fungus and develops in cold stores. This hardy fungus will grow at 5 deg. Cent. below freezing point. It is possible that even this temperature may not represent the lowest at which growth can take place. Spores—or seeds—of this fungus retain their vitality for six months under cold storage conditions, after which they are still able to develop normally at ordinary temperature. There was much “Black Spot” on meat coming from the Southern hemisphere during 1918–1919. It has been ascertained that this was due to the prolonged cold storage necessitated in 1917–1918 by the war. As conditions become more normal the duration of storage will be so short as to prevent the development of the pest. On the other hand, it is known now that fluctuations of temperature are dangerous, because the fungus flourishes best at 0deg. Cent., and also because fluctuations alter the humidity of the cold store and cause snow to fall. The flakes of the snow carry the fungus into the meat. The fungus is thought to come from the stock yards and slaughter‐houses. It is not, however, so far as is known, poisonous to human beings and produces no poison in the meat. Meat so affected need not, it is thought, be condemned as unfit for food unless putrefaction is also present. The fruit and vegetable committee is now investigating the storage of English apples. This is a complicated problem involving questions of humidity, temperature, time, soil, and packing. The results obtained so far suggest that a temperature of 1 deg. Cent., is better than higher temperatures. With a humidity of 85 per cent. saturation at 1 deg. Cent. or 3 deg. Cent. no shrinkage of the apples has been observed. Marked shrinkage occurred with a humidity of 60 per cent. saturation at 5 deg. Cent.
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