« ForrigeFortsett »
Dirty or watered milk.
excess) or benzoic acid.
EXTENT OF ADULTERATION. It is clear that the great bulk of the staple articles of daily diet are of excellent quality, with the one exception of milk, and that is now in a fair way to be much improved. Examine any of the published lists of the state chemist. The names of staple foods other than milk are rarely found. For the tons of flour and sugar and vegetables and fruits used, the alarmist is able to make a collection of a few ounces of spices, catsups, and flavoring extracts, and to run up the numbers of these samples into hundreds. There is hardly a necessary article among them.
It is only a depraved taste which requires green candy, pink gelatin, and yellow icing.
SOPHISTICATION. The moral question is far more serious. It is degrading alike to producer and consumer to make and to buy things which are not what they claim to be. To trade upon the ignorance and superstition of the mass of the people is the lowest form of money greed. The quickest remedy for this is education, and the quickest means of educating the public is through the introduction of courses in domestic economy in the public schools. Once it was held to be necessary to read and write and cipher in order to be a valuable citizen of the state. To that we must now add a course in marketing in the broad sense, in spending wisely. The public must protect itself from its enemies from within as well as from without. To
realize how far-reaching this one element of sophistication has gone, it is only necessary to consider recognized conditions. The cost of living has risen some forty per cent within a few years. During that time the market has sold :
$.025 worth of grain at $.25
worth of starch at 20, as candy
worth of lemon oil at .25, for extract HOUSEWIFE'S DUTY. Look over your own household bills and see what part these things play in the year's expense, take to heart the counsel of your state authorities, and put your work where it will tell on the care of the perishable materials exposed for sale. Then see that there are cooking classes which teach these principles. The manufacturers and the writers in the newspapers and magazines have much to answer for, if the coal tar colors are harmful, for they have fostered pink teas and orange luncheons, which can be harmoniously arranged only through these dyes. The great American people have the remedy in their own hands. If they will buy intelligently, with the purpose of securing nutritious food and not decorative material, if they will keep to the staple articles and not be led by the will-o'-the-wisp of skillful advertising (we should be ashamed to be taken in by such bare-faced statements), they will save money and increase national prosperity by a higher degree of health, which will give more real enjoyment than is now momentarily obtained by the consumption of these highly rated, sophisticated goods.
THE ETHICAL SIDE. This would not have mattered so much if the taste of the wage-earner had not been brought to like these gaudy things, if he had not been made to believe that they were necessary to selfrespecting living. He naturally wishes to have all that any one has, and he is made to think that these are desirable things. The fact is that intelligent consumers do not suffer from these frauds, either in stomach or in pocket. The great remedy for the oppressive increase in the cost of living is to educate the mass of the people in actual economic values and to make the most stringent laws to protect them from unclean handling of food. The crusade for clean milk must be followed by as vigorous a struggle for protected window displays by ordering all food off the streets, and again by education as to the necessity for these regulations, for the greatest danger to health is found in these directions.
Professor Willard, summing up the question in the Bulletin of the Kansas State Board of Health for June, 1906, says:
“ There can be little doubt that in the case of most preservatives, if not all, their presence interferes with digestive processes.
Whether more so than results from the use of certain natural, almost unquestioned articles is debatable. If this be the case it would seem that the first and most strenuous efforts in food control should be directed toward securing correct branding. The label should show what preservatives, if any, are used and the quantities. An individual would then be free to use the article or not, just as he may partake of raw onions or leave them alone. With the conscious use of articles containing preservatives a fund of knowledge on the part of the public would be accumulated which would serve as
a basis for legislation based on general experience. This might result in the complete prohibition of certain preservatives, while others would be permitted under proper restrictions.
“In respect to adulterations the problem to the writer seems simpler. An adulteration has but one purpose — that is, of passing off an article of a quality inferior to that which the consumer supposes it to be. Such deception should be repressed without mercy. Akin to this, though not identical, is the sale of pure goods of inferior, representing them to be of first, quality. Against such frauds perhaps we will have to set the common sense and experience of buyers.”
It is not without interest to compare the results obtained in one of the earliest state surveys, by the author, at the request of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts in 1878–79.
These results were the foundation of the first edition of this book.
The author and her assistants personally visited the chief towns and purchased the samples, choosing those which seemed from local experience most likely to be below standard. It must be remembered
. It must be remembered that the number of brands was at that date very limited. There were only half a dozen manufacturers of spices, for instance, and only a few sugar refineries contributed to the grocers' list. Chemistry had not then been impressed into the service of the manufacturer to the extent that it is at present.
It was found that of 400 samples, purchased from 141 dealers in forty towns, 284, or 71 per cent, were good and 29 per cent adulterated (chiefly cream of tartar and baking powder). This was before the day of the coal tar coloring.
At a later date spices were examined, with the following showing: Twelve samples of cinnamon examined, all adulterated, only three containing any cinnamon at all. Cassia, powdered wood, and mahogany sawdust were found.
Of thirty-two mustards examined, twenty-seven were adulterated, two only slightly. Only five were good. Starch, Indian meal, turmeric, ground rape seed, and turnip seed were found.
Sixteen samples of pepper were examined. Thirteen were adulterated with ground rice, mustard husks, coarse pepper husks, and dirt.
Twenty-eight samples of ginger, on the other hand, showed twenty-one good and only seven adulterated with starch, turmeric, and mustard husks.
That laws do restrain manufacturers from adulterating their goods is proved by over twenty years of experience in Massachusetts. Laws were first passed in 1882. The State Board of Health's report in 1883 shows the situation before the effect of the new law had been felt. Then the percentage of milk adulteration was 83.9; in 1890 it was 42.6; and in 1900, 28.9.