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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magistrates seem to inflict their fines in proportion to the smallness
of the adulterations, the result is that it pays very well to water
the milk down to the "standard" and risk overstepping of the
mark. It is a curious thing, that if a man waters his beer or whisky
by small amounts below the standard laid down by the Inland
Revenue, a very large and substantial fine is immediately inflicted,
the result being that the offence is not repeated. A few really
substantial fines would very soon put a stop to all these adulterations.
Sixteen per cent. is the amount of water allowed in butter,
and it is astonishing how closely manufacturers keep to this amount,
but occasionally they also overstep the mark, but even this small
percentage beyond the legal limit is very beneficial to the trader
if undetected, since he can make a very large profit out of 1 per cent.
In Table Q will be seen the percentages of milk fat in the various
samples of milk for ten years.
In Table R the work of the Food Inspectors is fully set forth.