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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being, in reality, more used as a Power Generating Station than a
"At that time removal by barge had been discontinued, but
the remarks relative to the Destructor still obtain. At the time of
writing barging has been renewed, but I venture to direct attention
to the enormous annual cost incurred by the Council in destroying
what in most cases is really a useful material. This has now been
remedied in the eggs and tinned meat products since these are
emptied and the contents of the tins sold for the extraction of fat."
In Tables XIII. and XIV. of Appendix will be found a list of
the samples taken in 1915, and the action taken; 1,198 samples
were taken, compared with 1,186 in 1914 and 1,193 in 1913. Of
these 7·4 per cent. were found adulterated, compared with 11·6
per cent. in the previous year and 14·7 per cent. in 1913.
It would be noted in the above paragraph that the adulteration
was considerably less than in the previous two years. The following
paragraph is taken from the Annual Report for 1914: —
"The most notable feature of the analysis of samples of this
and recent years is the number of adulterations of milk which show
the addition of small percentages of water, ranging from 1·5 to
4·0 per cent. This is due to the present standard which requires
3 per cent. of fat and 8·5 per cent. of non-fatty solids. Magistrates
and others are liable to forget that this so-called 'standard'
represents the lowest limit below which milk must not go. The
vast majority of natural milks show considerably higher figures,
and the result is that the samples are watered down so as to be as
near as possible this 'standard' and the small percentages show
that they occasionally overstep the mark."
I regret to say that there is no improvement in the adulterations
for small amounts. While a few magistrates take a serious
view of these and inflict substantial fines, the large majority of