Under the auspices of the “People's League of Health,” Professor F. E. Dixon, F.R.S., delivered an address before the Medical Society of London on March 25th. It was, he said, obvious that organic foodstuffs were liable to bacterial decomposition. Something must be done to prevent certain foodstuffs from putrefying. The methods were sterilisation, destroying the micro‐organisms by heat or by preventing their growth by chemical substances. None of the chemical substances prevented the growth of the micro‐organisms which caused food poisoning. Putrefaction, in a sense, was the safety‐valve which indicated the condition of the food, and if they used preservatives they allowed the malignant organisms to grow. In Great Britain they had a Committee which sat in 1901, but nothing was done until 1912, when the Ministry forbade the use of preservatives in milk. France, Germany, the United States, and Sweden had absolutely forbidden the use of boric acid except in certain cases, and all countries had forbidden sulphites in meat. These, if sprayed on meat, masked incipient putrefaction and brought back the bright red colour. The United States allowed the use of benzoic acid, under certain conditions which had to be reported.
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