It is not often nowadays that food and drugs cases get headline news or present new and interesting features. They tend towards a monotonous routine, of which analysts and inspectors sometimes complain, and new case law seems to belong to the past, although Edwards v. Llaethdy Merion Ltd. and Southworth v. Whitewell Dairies Ltd., clarifying the law relating to “foreign bodies” in food and a few other cases have illuminated the food and drugs firmament in recent years. The recent “Mushroom Soup” case brought by the West Sussex County Council at Chichester, however, attracted a great deal of publicity and without presenting any new law, did in fact illustrate in an interesting manner certain well‐worn legal principles. In particular, it showed the tardiness of Courts to confer upon “general terms”—in the case in question, the general term “mushroom”—a narrower and more specific meaning that general usage allows. To construe general terms in a general sense is a principle as old as Equity itself and in ruling that Boletus edulis was properly described as mushroom, the Court merely followed the usage of people in the country areas where mushrooms grow of including in the term a number of edible varieties, with no clear definition other than that shall be edible. As well as the home‐grown varieties, in the rapidly growing foreign communities of our big seaports and cities, there are other edible varieties, unknown in this country.
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