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British Food Journal Volume 50 Issue 6 1948

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 June 1948



Adulteration is the wilful addition to an article of any substance or substances the presence of which is not acknowledged in the description under which the article is sold, or the abstraction from an article of an essential constituent without disclosing that it is impoverished. Some common synonyms are: corruption, defilement, debasement, vitiation and sophistication, all of which indicate the sinister nature of the act. Articles are adulterated to increase their weight or bulk, and to improve or change their appearance or flavour in imitation of an article of higher grade or different kind. In the limiting case it can be regarded as covering the complete substitution of one article for another. Wilful addition implies addition which could have been avoided and hence covers contamination brought about by lack of care. The term is used mainly in connexion with foods and drugs, but in practice extends to almost all manufactured products and is an almost inseparable accompaniment of trade competition. It will be observed that there are two requirements for adulteration, viz. an action and an intention. The mere act of mixing one thing with another does not, in itself, warrant the term adulteration. It must be coupled with an intention to deceive by passing off the mixed article as if it were unmixed. The intention is usually not apparent until some circumstance warrants the inference, such as the sale or exposure for sale of the article. The inclusion of such concepts as wilfulness and intention, which are much more difficult to prove than facts, introduces difficulties and prevents in practice the employment of a simple definition without provisions being made to protect the honest man from injustice. Accidental contamination or impurities unavoidably present, if not due to neglect or lack of reasonable care, are not normally regarded as adulteration unless the impurity is dangerous to health. In this country the only law which deals directly with adulteration is the Food and Drugs Act. The present Act, that of 1938, prohibits :—


(1948), "British Food Journal Volume 50 Issue 6 1948", British Food Journal, Vol. 50 No. 6, pp. 61-70.




Copyright © 1948, MCB UP Limited

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