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OF PURE FOODS AND
PROF. M. E. JAFFA, DIRECTOR.
FOOD AND DRUG INSPECTION.
It has previously been stated that the State Board of Health would adopt, as far as possible, an educational policy in connection with the enforcement of the pure food and drug laws. In this connection, therefore, it is thought advisable to issue what might be termed warnings from time to time, as occasion and circumstances warrant. The need of such a warning has been emphasized during the past month in reference to the collection of samples of macaroni, etc., for analysis at the State Laboratory. It would appear, from correspondence received at the Laboratory, that certain manufacturers are acting in ignorance of the necessity of properly labeling their products. This is particularly true in regard to weights. All manufacturers should bear in mind that this point is specifically covered by Subdivision 3, Section 6, of the Pure Food Act, which reads:
Food and liquor shall be deemed mislabeled or misbranded within the meaning of this act in any of the following cases :
Third. If in packạge form, and the contents are stated in terms of weight or measure, they are not plainly and correctly stated on the outside of the package.
In this connection, Regulation 28, Statement of Weights or Measures, may also be quoted:
A statement of the weight or measure of the food contained in a package is not required. If any such statement is printed, it shall be a plain and correct statement of the average net weight or volume, either on or immediately above or below the principal label, and of the size of letters specified in Regulation 17.
A reasonable variation from the stated weight for individual packages is permissible, provided this variation is as often above as below the weight or volume stated. This variation shall be determined from the changes in the humidity of the atmosphere, from the exposure of the package to evaporation or to absorption of water, and the reasonable variations which attend the filling and weighing or measuring of a package.
In order that the term “package” as used in these acts shall not be misunderstood, it might not be out of place here to quote Section 7:
"The term 'package'as used in this act shall be construed to include any phial, bottle, jar, demijohn, carton, bag, case, can, box, or barrel, or any receptacle, vessel or container of whatsoever material or nature which may be used by a manufacturer, producer, jobber, packer, or dealer, for inclosing any article of food."
Another note of warning is necessary in regard to the labeling of food materials colored with the permitted coal-tar dyes. All such goods should be labeled “artificially colored.” At the same time it
must be remembered that in the use of these artificial coloring matters, Regulation 11, quoted below, must be strictly observed.
Regulation 11. Coloring, Powdering, Coating, and Staining.
The reduction of a substance to a powder to conceal inferiority in character is prohibited.
The term “powdered” means the application of any powdered substance to the exterior portions of articles of food, or the reduction of a substance to a powder.
The term “coated” means the application of any substance to the exterior portions of a food product:
The term "stain” includes any change produced by the addition of any substance to the exterior portion of foods which in any way alters their natural tint.
In the use of these artificial coloring materials the following excerpts from the Pure Food Act must also be conformed to:
Section 6. Food and liquor shall be deemed mislabeled or misbranded within the meaning of this act in any of the following cases :
Second. If it be labeled or branded or colored so as to deceive or mislead, or tend to deceive or mislead, the purchaser, or if it be falsely labeled in any respect, or if it purport to be a foreign product when not so, or if the contents of the package as originally put up shall have been removed in whole or in part and other contents shall have been placed in such package.
Section 4. Food shall be deemed adulterated within the meaning of this act, in any of the following cases :
Fourth. If it be mixed, colored, powdered, coated or stained in any manner whereby damage or inferiority is concealed.
It might be well again to emphasize to all concerned that none but the permitted colors as declared in Food Inspection Decision No. 76 will be allowed in food products.
Another warning seems to be called for in reference to the labeling of butter. There are some creameries in this State which are making butter from cream gathered at different points in their locality, and labeling that butter as having been made at other and distinct creameries. This practice is in direct violation of Subdivision Fifth, Section 6 of the Pure Food Act, which reads as follows:
Section 6. Food and liquor shall be deemed mislabeled or misbranded within the meaning of this act in any of the following cases :
Fifth. When any package bears the name of the manufacturers, jobbers or sellers, or the grade or class of the product, it must bear the name of the real manufacturers, jobbers or sellers and the true grade or class of the product, the same to be expressed in clear and distinct English words in legible type, provided, that an article of food shall not be deemed misbranded, if it be a well-known food product of a nature, quality and appearance, and so exposed to public inspection as not to deceive or mislead or tend to deceive or mislead a purchaser, and not misbranded and not of the character included within the deti. nitions 1 to 4 of this section.
Regulation 16 is also violated in this connection, the paragraph in question reading: Descriptive matter upon the label shall be free from any statement, design, or device regarding the article or the ingredients or substances contained therein, or quality thereof, or place of origin, which is false or misleading in any particular.
The law is further violated in respect to Regulation 17, Name and Address of Manufacturer, which reads:
The name of the manufacturer or producer, or the place where manufactured, except in the case of mixtures and compounds having a distinctive name, need not be given upon the label; but if given, must be the true name and the true place. The words “packed for“distributed by
or some equivalent phrase, shall be added to the label in case the name which appears upon the label is not that of the actual manufacturer or producer, or the name of the place not the actual place of manufacture or production.
When a person, firm or corporation actually manufactures or produces an article of food or drug in two or more places, the actual place of manufacture or production of each particular package need not be stated on the label, except when, in the opinion of the Secretary of the State Board of Health, the mention of any such place, to the exclusion of the others, misleads the public.
During the past month two hundred eighty-seven samples of miscellaneous foods and food products have been received at the Laboratory for examination and analysis, making a total of six hundred thirty-eight.
In view of the fact that many inquiries have been received at the Laboratory in regard to the preservation of eggs, the following method, used with success by Dr. Shutt of the Ottawa Experimental Farm, is given :
Experiments in egg preservation were begun at the Experimental Farm, Ottawa, in 1898, and have been continued every season since that date. In the course of these experiments, trials have been made with more than twenty-five different fluids and preparations that have been proposed or sold as egg preservatives. The work of these seven years has shown conclusively the superiority of lime-water over all the preservatives which we have tested.
THE PREPARATION OF LIME-WATER.
The solubility of lime at ordinary temperature is 1 part in 700 parts of water. Such a solution would be termed saturated lime-water. Translated into pounds and gallons, this means 1 lb. of lime is sufficient to saturate 70 gallons of water. However, owing to impurities in commercial lime, it is well to use more than is called for in this statement. It may not, however, be necessary, if good, freshly burnt quicklime can be obtained, to employ as much as was first recommended, namely, 2 to 3 lbs. to 5 gallons of water. With such lime as is here referred to, one could rest assured that 1 lb. to 5 gallons (50 lbs.) would be ample, and that the resulting lime-water would be thoroughly saturated. The method of preparation is simply to slake the lime with a small quantity of water and then stir the milk of lime so formed into 5 gallons of
water. After this mixture has been well stirred for a few hours it is allowed to settle. The supernatant liquid, which is now “saturated” lime-water, is drawn off and poured over the eggs, previously placed in a crock or water-tight barrel.
As exposure to the air tends to precipitate the lime (as.carbonate), and thus to weaken the solution, the vessel containing the eggs should be kept covered. The air may be excluded by a covering of sweet oil, or by sacking upon which a paste of lime is spread. If after a time there is any noticeable precipitation of the lime, the lime-water should be drawn or siphoned off and replaced with a further quantity newly prepared.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO TAKE.
1.—That only perfectly fresh eggs be used. No eggs more than four days old should be used.
2.-—That the eggs throughout the whole period of preservation should be completely immersed.
Although not necessary to the preservation of the eggs in a sound condition, a temperature of 40° F. will no doubt materially assist towards retaining good flavor, or rather in arresting that “stale” flavor so often characteristic of packed eggs.
Respecting the addition of salt, it must be stated that our experiments—conducted now throughout five seasons—do not show any benefit to be derived therefrom ; indeed, salt frequently imparts a limy flavor to the eggs, probably by inducing an interchange of the fluids within and without the egg. Our advice is, do not add any salt to the limewater.
WATER-GLASS AS A PRESERVATIVE.
Water-glass (sodium silicate) has been extensively experimented with, using solutions varying from two to ten per cent. On the whole, solutions 2 to 5 per cent (two pounds to five pounds sodium silicate in ten gallons of water) have given better results than stronger solutions. Although in the main the results have been very fairly satisfactory, we are of the opinion that lime-water is superior as a preservative. Further, lime-water is cheaper and pleasanter to use than water-glass solution.
It may be of interest to those who are making up solutions for the preservation of eggs, to know that any solution containing a preservative the use of which is prohibited by the California Pure Food Act of March 11, 1907, will not be allowed.
TYPHOID FEVER AND DRINKING WATER. It is probably a safe estimate to say that if a thorough investigation were made into the source of water infection in communities in which typhoid fever is abnormally prevalent, two thirds of the cases would trace back to feces-polluted drinking water.
As regards the average run of private wells, it may with equal truth be said that the quality of these could hardly be worse. It is obviously out of the question to make frequent analyses of even a small proportion of such wells. No one who is compelled to slake his thirst from such a well can have any real assurance that he is not at the same time taking into his stomach the germ of typhoid fever. But the risk does not end here. People must use milk as well as water, and very frequently the unsuspecting use them in combination, as when the thrifty dairyman dilutes his too thick milk with a little well water. Even where the dairyman scorns such tricks, he probably uses well water to wash his cans and utensils, and in this manner he may unwittingly convey to his customers the disease-producing typhoid germ.
Even when the typhoid germ is absent, feces-polluted water is generally injurious to health. It may and does contain germs which in the human body can give origin to inflammation, catarrhs and dysenteries.
It is fortunate for the health of rural communities that the source of drinking water is most often a natural spring rather than a dug well. When situated above, one hundred yards from the house and barn, country springs are rarely or never polluted. On the other hand, it is almost invariably the case that the average farmyard well is polluted by fecal bacteria. The same condemnation must be visited upon town wells. The typical backyard well is a shallow pit, from fifteen to thirty feet deep. Usually there is no casing and the only protection from surface contamination is a more or less rickety platform, or, as is often the case, merely a square box or top.
In towns, while the wells may be of better construction, the chances are that the soil is more thoroughly permeated with filth. The privies are of necessity close to the wells, and the liability to pollution is proportionately great.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of the private ownership of public water supplies is that all but the well-to-do citizens consider themselves unable to afford the cost of the safe-guarded supply. Thus a town may have a very pure and excellent water supply, and yet the majority of the citizens will continue to drink from sewage-polluted wells.
So absolutely necessary is pure water, and an abundance of it, to the public health, that municipalities should see that citizens are supplied with pure water even before they are supplied with electric lights, macadamized streets, and similar modern conveniences.
Every town of one hundred or more families should secure a public water supply.
When a town has once installed a public water supply of good quality, and the water is offered to consumers at the lowest possible price, all private wells within the region traversed by the public water mains should be condemned and closed up as menaces to the public health. Iowa Health Bulletin.