Food Adulteration A Brief History. Abbas Lalljee www.abbaslalljee.co.uk. Aims. The meaning of ‘Food Adulteration’ How serious was it? Some examples of adulterated foods How food was adulterated An explanation of the legislation introduced . What is Adulteration?.
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Other chemists took up the challenge.
In the second half of the 19th century legislation in the UK established the statutory appointment of
The problem was that the adulteration could not be detected.
At that time, science was based in universities and had never been applied to the practical examination of food.
In 1955, the new Food and Drugs Act made it an offence to sell for human consumption any food to which substances had been added or abstracted or which had been processed so as to render it injurious to health. After this Act the number of reported incidents fell to 3184 involving 7907 people in 1964.
The legislation of the UK consists of Acts (the primary controls) and Regulations (the secondary controls). The main Act covering food is now the Food Safety Act 1990. This establishes the key offences that protect the public. These include requirements that food:
Should not be injurious to health
Should satisfy food safety requirements
Should be of the nature, substance and quality demanded by the purchaser
Should be labelled in a way that does not falsely describe the food or otherwise mislead.
The legislation makes these offences absolute i.e, there need be no intention to commit the offence. However, to counterbalance this the Food Safety Act also contains a defence of due diligence.
In the middle of the 19th century, food was not at all safe!
Food adulteration was practised
Living conditions were unhealthy.
Diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid fever, dysentery and cholera were spread by contaminated food, water and personal contact.
Significant Legislation in 1875
to protect the public
The Sale of Food and Drugs Act
Today we are a lot safer thanks to various pieces of legislation in place.
A lot more care is taken at various stages of the Food Chain to ensure standards of quality are maintained.
Various QA systems are in place such as HACCP’s, BRC Standard and ISO 9000.
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