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

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Acton 1925

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Acton]

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Stalls.—The requirements of this part of the Regulations are
designed to ensure that meat is exposed for sale from stalls under
satisfactory conditions.
There was only one stall in the district, and that has now
been removed, but the fact that this stall existed caused more
discussion and unpleasantness than the remaining regulations,
because a distinction is made between stalls and shops.
Shops, Stores, Etc.—Part V of the Regulations deals with the
cleanliness of meat in shops. The regulations contain provisions
for the protection of meat against contamination by dirt, flies, etc.
Section 20, Sub-section 5(a) is the particular sub-section around
which discussion has been raised and feelings aroused.
The subsection reads as follows:—
The occupier of any such room (in which any meat is sold or
exposed for sale) shall take such steps as may be reasonably necessary
to guard against the contamination of the meat therein by flies
and shall cause the meat to be so placed as to prevent mud, filth,
or other contaminating substance being splashed or blown thereon."
The Health Committee met the butchers on several occasions
and invited suggestions from them, so that some uniformity of
action might be taken. The Committee and the butchers were
agreed that there were some practices which do not lend themselves
to control, and in regard to which, improvement could only be
effected by the force of an educated public opinion An instance
of this is the common practice of handling meat before purchase.
The butchers are the greatest sufferers in this respect, and they
asked the Council to issue notices against this practice, and the
notices were exhibited in all the shops.
An improvement has already been noticed, and this practice,
it is hoped, will fall entirely into disuse.
No agreement, though, was reached as to the means which
should be adopted to prevent contamination by flies and the
splashing of mud. The subsection is vague, and so, and it
would be unreasonable to insist upon some detail of construction
which would be applicable to every district.

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