London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Bermondsey 1915

Report on the sanitary condition of the Borough of Bermondsey for the year 1915

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Army Work (Food).
In continuance of the supervision of military contracts for
food carried out in this Borough, and mentioned in last year's
Annual Report, the two food inspectors were employed throughout
the year systematically inspecting food turned out by all the leading
food manufacturers in the Borough. This has been of inestimable
advantage to our soldiers, for the standards of purity were fully
laid down by the War Office, and any deviation from them is followed
by confiscation of the articles in question and the prompt removal
of the firm from the contract list. If the civil population were
as well protected there would be less outcry about adulteration and
inferior qualities of food. The number of contracts supervised
in 1915, at the request of the Local Government Board on behalf
of the War Office, was 46.
We received no special request from the Admiralty to supervise
similar naval contracts, but there were a great many undertaken in
this Borough by the same firms which were fulfilling military contracts.
In this case, also, practically all food stuffs manufactured
here intended for the navy were supervised by us. Outside these
contracts for the manufacture of food several firms in the Borough
packed enormous quantities of dried fruits, etc., for the forces, and
supervision was indirectly exercised over this packing by the
whole of the three food inspectors. This will give some idea of the
necessity and the value of having so many special food inspectors.
As a matter of fact we could do with a wharves inspector to assist
Mr. Ashdown, but I am afraid that in the present crisis it would be
impossible to get such an inspector even should the Council decide
upon increasing the staff.