The earliest law of the adulteration of food imposed divisions among the local authorities of the day in functions and enforcements; most of the urban and rural sanitary authorities possessed no power under the law. Provisions dealing with unfit food — diseased, unsound, unwholesome or unfit for human food — were not in the first sale of food and drugs measure and there duties were wholly discharged by all local authorities. Rural sanitary authorities were excluded from food and drugs law and boroughs and urban authorities severly restricted. Enforcement in the rural areas was by the county council, although local officers were empowered to take samples of food and submit them for analysis to the public analyst. Power to appoint the public analyst for the area was the main criterion of a “food and drugs authority”. The Minister had power to direct an authority with a population of less than 40,000 but more than 20,000 to enforce the law of adulteration.
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