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British Food Journal Volume 50 Issue 11 1948

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 November 1948



It may be remarked that the area immediately concerned is about 1,700 square miles, or somewhat greater than the area of the County of Kent. We say immediately concerned, as the Governments of St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and others submitted samples for examination, but these related to criminal investigations and call for no comment. In Trinidad itself what may be called the upper classes are of European origin—British, French, or Spanish. There is a high proportion of East Indians, i.e., from Asia, and the lower classes are of mixed negro origin. It is, perhaps, as well to remind readers of these facts. The records of criminal investigation undertaken by the Department at the request of the police authorities suggest by their number and nature that we are here concerned with people who in general are in a somewhat lower state of social culture than that which is found, for instance, in an English district. This would tend to react on the Health Administration generally by increasing the difficulties already existing that arise from a tropical climate and a sparse population very largely engaged in agricultural pursuits, or in industries closely allied thereto. The Port of Spain, the capital, contains perhaps a fifth of the total population and a higher proportion of persons of European origin than elsewhere. The Health Authorities of the city, however, still seem disinclined to avail themselves as fully as they might do of the resources of the Government Chemist's Department. Few samples appear to be sent for examination, though it hopefully stated that more samples of foods and drugs may be sent in when the new Food and Drugs Act replaces the existing one. The Medical Officer of the Port of Spain sends in water samples from the main sources of supply every week for chemical examination. The results of examination are satisfactory, but even in the British Isles water is not the chief form of sustenance, and the need for a due examination of foods and drugs—especially the last—is shown by the facts that while the number of food samples submitted for examination has decreased, the number found to be unsatisfactory has increased. As to drugs, it is sufficient to quote the words of the report, “No samples of drugs were submitted under the Ordinance, so that it is not possible to offer any opinion as to whether or not adulteration is practised of these important articles which are sold to the public. We believe this sin of omission to be one of long standing. The total number of samples and exhibits of all kinds was 4,950. Of these, 4,359 were official and 548 were unofficial, a decrease of 437 and 131 respectively. Out of this total 1,058 were samples of foods, or baking powder, vinegar, and so forth. The number found to be unsatisfactory was 131, or 12·4 per cent. This is a high percentage of failures. It is due almost entirely to cows' milk of poor quality. Three hundred and eighty‐five samples were examined, and 12·4, or 32·2 per cent. were reported against. Out of 163 samples of butter and cooking butter 2·5 per cent were deficient in fat. Having regard to the tenor of this report, the distinction here made between “butter” and “cooking butter” seems to be a rather unfortunate one. In the shops and kitchens of this country the distinction used to be accepted. But why a substance which is, by implication, inferior or unpalatable and unfit to be eaten with bread, might still be used in cooking, has never been clear to us. The unaccepted defence of a baker—convicted over here of putting bad eggs in his pastry—“The stink goes off in the baking,” comes to mind. The fat deficiency ranged from 6·10 to 3·63. Out of 128 coffee samples three were adulterated with burnt sugar. The general position with regard to food—especially in the case of milk—seems to be very unsatisfactory. The remarks of the Govern‐ment Chemist are unquestionably fully justified.


(1948), "British Food Journal Volume 50 Issue 11 1948", British Food Journal, Vol. 50 No. 11, pp. 111-120.




Copyright © 1948, MCB UP Limited

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