It is not long since, in Scotland at least, the greater part of the food eaten was simple and unsophisticated. Oatmeal porridge and milk, bread, a very few varieties of breadstuffs (such as oatcake and scones), fish, home‐killed meat, with rough dainties in the shape of black and white puddings, were the common food of most people. Thousands of forms in which food is presented to‐day, from homogenised milk to meat extract, did not exist. Along with a multitude of developments in the form in which food was presented to the public came a great number of manipulations. Some of these, like the cooling of milk after production, were laudable; some, like the freezing of meat for importation, were inevitable; and many others, such as preservation with chemicals, were of doubtful necessity, and in any case required careful watching. In the first half of the nineteenth century, and before it, adulterations of food were gross and dangerous. It is doubtful, however, whether the danger to health involved in specific infections of food was realised till much later. It is on the lines of minimising or preventing these two dangers that the administration has developed. One series of miscellaneous enactments deals with the prevention of infection or contamination, and another, the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, is concerned with “the nature, substance and quality” of articles of food and drink sold. Meat and milk, because of their nature and because of the inevitable risks involved in preparation and handling, are specially liable to infection and contamination. The uniform system and standard of meat inspection established in 1923 by the Public Health (Meat) Regulations (Scotland) have functioned well throughout the country. It was comparatively easy to secure the examination of every carcase, and to take all other necessary precautions, in the public slaughterhouses, but the five hundred private slaughterhouses throughout the country presented difficulties. The Regulations, however, by providing for the restriction of hours of slaughter, brought the majority of private slaughterhouses in populous places into line, and the remainder, principally in outlying districts, are visited by officers of the local authorities from time to time. Food inspectors are in constant attendance at the ports, and the import of certain classes of meat and fat is controlled by the Public Health (Oversea Meat) Regulations, 1925. In regard to milk, the Milk and Dairies (Scotland) Act, 1914, a consolidating statute which came into operation on 1st September, 1925, is the principal enactment. The Milk and Dairies (Amendment) Act, 1922, authorised the system of higher‐grade milk referred to below. In regard to other foods, the Public Health (Regulations as to Food) Act, 1907, authorises the framing of Regulations for preventing danger to public health from the importation, preparation, storage or distribution of articles of food or drink. The Unsound Food Regulations, 1925, provide for the inspection of all imported foods, and Section 43 of the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1897, authorises inspection of animals, alive or dead, and articles of food exposed for sale, and the condemnation of any of these if found unfit for the food of man.
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