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

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City of London 1924

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Port of London]

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1924.Boric Acid, per cent.Tin. (grains per lb.)Crystallised Sulphate of Copper, (grains per lb.)
Oct. 10Tinned Peas1-93
„ 24Tinned Spinach3-95
,, 25Tinned PeasAbsent
27Tinned Spinach3.1
„ 27Stewed Kidneys0.66
Stewed Kidneys1.40
Stewed Kidnevs_0.77
„ 28Tinned Spinach3.48 & 3.86
Nov. 24HoneyGlucose, Salicylic Acid and Sulphites—absent. The sample contained 0-01 per cent, of suspended matter insoluble in water. This consisted chiefly of vegetable fibre mixed with a few pollen grains.
Boric Acid, per cent.Tin. (grains per lb.)Crystallised Sulphate of Copper, (grains per lb.)
Nov. 24Tinned Spinach2.40, 2.42,
2.32, 1.84,
2.02, 3.09
„ 27Tinned Spinach3.09 & 2.90
Dec. 12Tinned Spinach2.90 & 3.38
„ 19Tinned Spinach3.48, 2.41,
2.70, 3.38
„ 23Tinned Spinach3.67, 3.78,

During the year, applications were received from Importers to be allowed to
remove various foodstuffs from the district of the Port of London, without examination
by your officers, on the understanding that the goods would be examined
and dealt with under the supervision of the Medical Officer of Health of the district
to which the goods were removed.
The permission asked for was given in respect of the following foodstuffs :—
For removal to the City of London :—
13,686 bags of ox-tongues.
For removal to the Borough of Finsbury :—
31,032 bags and cases of ox-tongues.
For removal to the Borough of Southwark :—
2,651 cases of ox-tongues.
On Thursday, the 3rd April, your Medical Officer visited the ss. " Kent "
and saw the opening out of a hold containing meat which had been subjected to the
Linley process of formalin preservation. I understand that this experiment of
bringing over chilled meat under formalin was marred by a series of accidental
circumstances ; owing to delay in ports in New Zealand in hot weather it was found
necessary from the condition of the meat to freeze it down before leaving New Zealand.
The consignment thus consisted of formalined frozen meat instead of formalined
chilled meat.
Representatives of the Ministry of Health were present at the opening out of
the special hold used.
The condition of the meat was one of considerable superficial mould.
The meat was " brighter " in appearance, i.e., its natural colour better preserved,
than would have been possible with ordinary freezing. This is a usual
effect of formalin.
On analysis of samples of the meat by Mr. E. A. Pinchin, your Analytical
Chemist, it was found that the first 5 millimetre section from the surface of exposed
muscle, contained in three samples 7.7, 7.7 and 3.8 parts per million of formaldehyde
respectively ; the second 5 millimetre contained 2.7, 3.8 and 2.7 ; and the
third 5 millimetre section about 1.0 per million in each sample. In a 10 millimetre
section of fat no formalin could be detected.
The above determinations were made in lean meat on an uncut surface but
where the muscle was clearly exposed through its slight fascia.