During the year 5,399 samples were taken under the Food and Drugs Act. Of these, 398 (7·4 per cent.) were against, as adulterated, below standard, or incorrectly labelled. The remainder, 1,173 samples, included water, 602, pasteurized milk 400—eight of these indicated a slight, technical error in preparation, and three “gross error.” Soot gauges 24. The total number of milk samples examined during the year was 2,844—excluding those just mentioned. Of these, 9·9 per cent. were found to be adulterated. This percentage of adulteration or for non‐compliance with the legal limit of 8·5 per cent. non‐fatty solids and 3 per cent. is the highest for six years. It is remarked that the freezing point test shows that the milks were naturally low in solids not fat. This would seem to be due to the cumulative effect during the last few years of feeding‐stuffs shortage, though the average annual composition of samples taken has varied but little during the war years and compares favourably with pre‐war milks. The Public Analyst points out that 9·9 per cent. does not mean that 9·9 per cent. of the Birmingham milk is adulterated, as more than one sample was taken from vendors whose milk was under suspicion. Tables given show that the average composition for all milks and farmers' milk were identical. The prosecutions call for no very extended comment. The milk cooler—that great source of surprises—was in each case found to be in working order. The cows were in “good heart.” In one case the cowman was fined £3 for adding water. The farmer, for not exercising due diligence under Section 83 of the Food and Drugs Act, was fined £20 on each of six summonses issued against him, £120 in all, with £1 costs. The farmer seems to have been, and probably still is, a hopeless case. He had been fined £30 and costs in 1940, and £580 with £46 costs in 1942. About £750 in all! We suppose he still carries on, but what about the consumers! Baking powder and self‐raising flour were reported against for carbon dioxide deficiency. This was apparently due to the use of old stock. The vendors were cautioned. Old stock—at least we suppose age to be the explanation—is also distinguished in other ways: cheese, infested with mites, unfit for consumption; cocoa, mouldy, and paper wrapper contained book lice; coffee, contained a mass of cobwebs; lentils, grubs and mite eggs; and so on. The immediate origin of another dealer's wrapping paper would seem to have been the coal scuttle since paper, lard and butter were speckled with coal particles. The Veterinary Inspector was requested to visit all the places of sale which would seem to be half‐way houses to the hospital for the consumer. An interesting point is raised in the matter of a sample labelled “lemon flavour.” This delicacy consisted of a 6 per cent. solution of citric acid, containing in suspension a small amount of starchy matter to make it look like lemon juice. It was flavoured with oil of lemon and contained 118 parts per million of sulphur dioxide. As the Preservatives Regulations forbid the introduction of sulphur dioxide into an article of this kind the firm was written, and replied that they considered the article to be “an unsweetened cordial, and that therefore sulphur dioxide was allowed up to 600 parts per million” (italics ours). The relevant Section referred to states: “Non‐alcoholic wines, cordials and fruit juices, sweetened and unsweetened, 350 (not 600) parts per million sulphur dioxide or 600 parts per million benzoic acid.” The Public Analyst points out that in the final report of the Departmental Committee on the use of preservatives in foods (1924) a comma appears after the word cordials in the above (italics ours) “making it clear that the words sweetened or unsweetened refer only to fruit juices, and that no such article as an unsweetened cordial is recognised. Such a description is a contradiction in terms, for the essential ingredient of a non‐alcoholic cordial is sugar.” The Ministry of Food was written and their attention called to the apparent omission of the comma in the published text of the Preservatives Regulations, and drawing attention to the fact that whether the omission were unintentional or deliberate the result was to permit the use of preservative in an instance where the committee of experts appointed do not choose to make such a recommendation. The Ministry in their reply did not reply to this question, but said the firm had no licence to manufacture the flavouring but asked for particulars of sale. The soot gauges show on the whole a steady decline in atmospheric smoke pollution. The average amount of insoluble matter expressed in tons per square mile per month. The Central Station figures are 13·5 in 1945. It was 37·6 in 1936. The West Heath Station 4·9 in 1945. It was 10·9 in 1938. Satisfactory as far as the reduction in atmospheric pollution goes. May it continue.
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