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

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London County Council 1912

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.

The annual reports of medical officers of health supply information as to the number of premises inspected and the number of inspections as shown in the following table:—

Metropolitan borough.Premises used for the preparation and sale of food.(a)Number ofinspections.Metropolitan borough.Premises used for the preparation and sale of food. (a)Number of inspections.
City of London8831,598Kensington6811,229
Bermondsey9968,837 (b)Lewisham4957
Bethnal Green2241,083Paddington366
Chelsea6482St. Marylebone246617
Deptford116145St. Pancras617992
Hackney117111Stoke Newington28438
Hampstead4791,124Westminster, City of92
Total for 27 boroughs9,804

Inspection of food.
A very considerable amount of work is done throughout London in connection with the protection
of the food supply. As regards meat, the City of London Corporation, which has the control of the Central
Markets, has the greatest amount of responsibility; indeed, it is estimated that three-fourths of the
meat imported into the United Kingdom passes under the observation of the officers of the Corporation
either in the Central Meat Markets or in the City Cold Stores. For instance, during the year
1912, the total amount of meat imported into the United Kingdom was 667,492 tons, and of this
amount a very high proportion (430,283 tons) was received at the Central Markets alone, exclusive
of the Cold Stores. The markets also received 1,511 tons of fish. The total amount of meat destroyed
as diseased or unsound amounted to rather more than 1,114 tons, and of this 12.4 per cent, was tuberculous.
This is a much smaller percentage than in any year of the preceding five years. At or near
Billingsgate Market fish amounting to 223,926 tons was received and of this nearly 0.6 per cent. (1,336
tons) was condemned by the inspectors of the Fishmongers Company.
With regard to miscellaneous food the officers of the City Corporation found it necessary to
destroy 219 tons, out of the whole amount received at the wharves within the City boundary. Dr.
Collingridge in his report includes some notes on the large decrease in recent years in the number of
live animals imported for slaughter, and it is mentioned that for three months prior to the writing of
the report no animals had been slaughtered at Deptford, whereas" a few years ago the number of
animals killed in a day often exceeded 1,000 cattle and 2,000 sheep.
Reference is made to the improvement in the condition of Australian meat, which was found so
unsatisfactory in 1910 and 1911. A consignment of pigs' carcases from Shanghai was, however, subjected
to severe criticism during the year. All the carcases were stamped " Killed, Municipal Slaughterhouse
Shanghai, February, 1912," and bore evidence that some attempt at examination hud been made before
shipment. It was found necessary to condemn 9 per cent. of the consignment on account of tuberculosis
and a further 9 per cent. for hæmorrhagic adenitis. Certain suggestions for the carrying out
of a proper examination were made to the agent for the consignors which, if adopted, would admit of
the inspection of the carcases in England without "thawing out" which is prejudicial to the meat.
As an interesting experiment it is also recorded that post-mortem examinations are now being made of
emaciated fowls condemned at the City Markets. So far as the enquiry had proceeded at the time the
report was written it was found that among fowls of poor quality 50 per cent. were tuberculous and,
it is added, " in a degree which requires to be seen in order to realise its importance."
Concerning bovine tuberculosis some figures are given showing that of 1,890 cows slaughtered
498 or 26.3 per cent. were affected with tuberculosis; of 12,184 oxen, 527 or 4.3 per cent. were so affected.
The total number of oxen, bulls, cows, heifers, and calves slaughtered at Aldgate, was 26,998, of which
1,141 or 4.2 per cent. were tuberculous.
(а) Other than bakehouses, milkshops, slaughterhouses, and ice-cream premises. In some cases the figures
relate to restaurant-kitchens only.
(b) Including visits for the purpose of sampling under the Food and Drugs Act.