The pattern of prosecutions forfood offences has changed very little in the past decade. Compositional offences have rarely exceeded 5 per cent and, since the 1967 batch of regulations for meat products, are mostly in respect of deficient meat content. Food hygiene offences have also remained steady, with no improvement to show for all the effort to change the monotony of repulsive detail. The two major causes of all legal proceedings, constituting about 90 per cent of all cases—the presence of foreign matter and sale of mouldy food—continue unchanged; and at about the same levels, viz. an average of 55 per cent of the total for foreign matter and 35 per cent for mouldy food. What is highly significant about this changed concept of food and drugs administration is that almost all prosecutions now arise from consumer complaint. The number for adulteration as revealed by official sampling and analysis and from direct inspectorial action is small in relation to the whole. A few mouldy food offences are included in prosecutions for infringements of the food hygiene regulations, but for most of the years for which statistics have been gathered by the BFJ and published annually, all prosecutions for the presence of foreign matter have come from consumer complaint. The extent to which food law administration is dependent upon this source is shown by the fact that 97 per cent of all prosecutions in 1971 for foreign bodies and mouldy food—579 and 340 respectively—resulted from complaints; and in 1972, 98 per cent of prosecutions resulted from the same source in respect of 597 for foreign matter and 341 for mouldy food. Dirty milk bottle cases in both years all arose from consumer complaint; 41 and 37 respectively.
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