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

View report page

City of London 1922

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London, City of ]

This page requires JavaScript

Unusual publicity in the Press was given during the year to the numerous
outbreaks of illness attributed to food poisoning. In the City one case only was
reported and the following are the facts associated therewith:—
In September a City medical practitioner reported that he was attending a
family of three persons who presented symptoms of food poisoning. Enquiry was
instituted and the following information obtained:—
Mrs. L. purchased on Saturday, the 2nd September, from an offal shop in the
South-eastern area of London, 1 lb. of ox-cheek, a half cow's heel and 2 lbs. of skirt
beef. These were taken home and stewed the same evening (without addition of
pre-existing stock) in an enamel saucepan over a gas-stove for about two hours.
It was left in the saucepan after cooking, and on the following day was stewed for
a further three hours in the same saucepan. The mixture then, with boiled potatoes,
constituted the Sunday's dinner and was supplemented by stewed damsons and
blancmange, the latter being prepared from a proprietary blancmange powder.
The family consisted of husband, wife and daughter, and all partook of the
meal. Scraps of the stewed meat were also given to the dog. The portion of the
stewed meat which was not consumed on the day was made into a pie by Mrs. L.
and baked soon after the conclusion of the mid-day meal. The pie was stored in
a clean pantry and on the next day, Monday, it was warmed up and eaten by all
three members of the family, and also by a Miss H., a boarder. This meal was
supplemented by a baked rice pudding. The remaining portion of the pie was
eaten at night-time on the same day by Mr. L. for supper, scraps being given to the
No portion of the food eaten during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th was available for
The dish in which the pie was made was of china and nothing peculiar was noticed
by any of the persons consuming the pie. The house is a clean one and all
utensils appeared to be kept in a satisfactory condition.
Other foods consumed in the household between the 2nd and 5th September
are as under :—
2nd September Boiled cod for supper.
3rd „ Fresh fruit, apples, pears and plums.
4th „ Fried bacon and eggs.
5th „ Fried bacon and tomatoes.
Mrs. and Miss L. also partook of tea at the home of Mrs. L. Senior on the 4th,
where they consumed haddock, tomatoes and buns. The following is a table of
the articles consumed by the different persons concerned:—
Date. Food. Mr. L. Mrs. L. Miss L. Miss H.
September, 1922.
2nd Boiled cod (supper) X X X —
3rd Tea and bread and butter for breakfast X X X —
3rd Fresh fruit during day, stewed meat with
potatoes, damsons and blancmange
(dinner) X X X —
4th Fried bacon and eggs (breakfast) X X X —
4th Meat pie, potatoes, stewed damsons and
rice pudding (dinner) X X X X
4th Haddock, tomatoes and buns (tea) — X X —
5th Fried bacon and tomatoes (breakfast) X X X —
The food given to the dog was as under:—
September 3rd Morning Bread and milk.
Mid-day Spratt's dog biscuit.
Evening Scraps left from family's dinner.
September 4th Morning Bread and milk.
Mid-day Spratt's dog biscuit.
Evening Scraps from family's dinner.
It is interesting to note that Miss H., the boarder referred to above, who
although partaking of the mid-dav meal on the 4th September, suffered from no
illness of any description.
The dog suffered from distinct diarrhoea and general uneasiness on I uesday,
the 5th.

Diagnostics: Check ALTO | Check in player