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

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St Mary (Battersea) 1890

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Battersea]

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The sample with at least 23 per cent. of the original fat
abstracted was part of some Milk supplied to a large public
establishment. The case would appear to afford another example
of the manner in which contracts for the supply of certain foods
to such establishments are carried out when, as is generally the
case, no real check is kept upon the contractor, by systematic
analysis. In some institutions it is the custom to " test " Milk
by means of the so.called " Creamometers " or by the " Lactometer."
It ought to be more generally known that these instruments
give very illusory results, that their use does not
constitute Analysis, and that they cannot, therefore, be relied
upon in any way.
11. The sample containing at least 12 per cent. of water was
taken from a can delivered at Clapham Junction Station.
No information was received as to any proceedings in
these cases.
12. " Private" Samples.—The Sale of Food and Drugs Act,
1875, enables any private purchaser in a district to submit a
sample for analysis to the Public Analyst for that district, if
the purchaser has conformed with the 12th and 14th Sections of
the Act, and has prepaid a nominal sum, viz., 10s. 6d., for such
analysis. It is well known that the intention of the Act is
thereby to place the services of a Public Analyst—appointed by
the Local Authority and receiving a salary from them—within
the reach of any " private purchaser," and thus to encourage
the public to assist the authority in checking adulteration. The
public, however, have availed themselves but little of these
privileges. It has always been found that a much larger
proportion of the private than of the official samples were
adulterated, one of the main reasons for this being that unless a
private purchaser has strong grounds to suspect a vendor, he
will not take the trouble to obtain an analysis.
Under the Act the result of analysis of "private" samples,
obtained as above, are to be included in the quarterly reports of
Public Analysts.
13. Standards of Quality.—The composition of milk varies
widely ; and in the absence of any legal limits below which


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