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Number of samples of drugs,
of good quality,
not conforming to the statutes, Percentage of adulteration,
A further summary is also presented, for the purpose of comparison with the work of previous years :
Number of samples of food examined, .
found to be pure,
forming to the statutes,
of good quality,
adulterated, as defined by the statutes,
of good quality,
not conforming to the statutes,
Expense of collection, examination and prosecution,
$2,931 56 $5,529 60 $8,557 43 $8,025 34 $8,803 62 $8,915 41 $10,356 28 $10,013 04 $10,019 41 2 26 2 09 1 79
1 85 1 62
1 54 1 89 1 67
An increase of the appropriation for this department of the work of the Board, from $10,000 to $11,500, has enabled the Board to enlarge its operations, so that the entire time of three inspectors has been occupied during the latter part of the year in the work of collecting samples, entering complaints in court, conducting prosecutions against offenders, and such other duties as were assigned to them.
The whole number of samples collected during the year has not been so great as that of 1890, a greater portion than usual of the time of the inspectors having been devoted to the investigation of special cases of food adulteration.
As in former years, the collection and analysis of samples of milk and milk-products occupied a large share of the time both of inspectors and of analysts, as required by the statutes. The justice of this provision of the law is proven by the extreme importance of these articles in the food economy of the population as well as their liability to fraud.
A considerable part of the work of analysis in the earlier years of work has been devoted to the subject of the normal quality of milk as produced by the cow, and a pamphlet published by the Board in 1885, but now out of print, gave the quality of milk as produced by about six hundred cows in the State. The averages of all these showed that the standard adopted by the statute was a little below the general average of animals throughout the State, this general average for total solids being found to be between 13.2 and 13.3 per cent.
A recent published statement of the quality of milk of English dairies very closely confirms the same standard, being slightly lower. Prof. P. Vieth of the British Society of Public Analysts having examined 120,540 samples of dairy milk in the eleven years, 1881-91, found that the average of the whole gave the following result:
Total solids, .
Solids not fat, As a general rule, the figures presented by Professor Vieth show that the milk of the first half of the year was slightly below, and that of the last half slightly above, the yearly average. In commenting upon the effect of seasons upon milk, the same writer says:
A bad season for hay-making is, in my experience, almost invariably followed by a particularly low depression in the quality of milk toward the end of winter. Should the winter be of unusual severity and length, the depression will be still more marked. Long spells of cold and wet, as well as of heat and drought, during the time when cows are kept on pasture, also unfavorably influence the quality, and, I may add, the quantity, of milk.
The foregoing remarks have reference only to milk as regarded from the stand-point of chemical analysis. To a certain extent this view of the subject has a bearing upon the public health, since the addition of water to milk, or the abstraction of cream, impairs its quality as nutriment in proportion to the extent of the adulteration. Strangely enough, the pretence is often urged by milk producers that milk containing 11 or 12 per cent. of total solids is quite as wholesome or nutritious as that which contains 13 or 14 per cent. of solids. The absurdity of this argument is plain enough, since, if it were true, it might reasonably be asserted that milk having 7 or 8 per cent. of solids is as wholesome as that which has 11 per cent., and so on ad infinitesimum.
But, while the statutes take cognizance of this view of the subject, and provide an adequate penalty for the protection of the consumer from this departure from the standard, there are other considerations which are almost wholly neglected by the statutes, and these relate to the conditions which can only be determined by the careful processes of bacteriological analysis, and by a knowledge of the conditions under which milk is produced, prepared for market, stored and transmitted from the producer to the consumer. A thorough discussion of this question has been published by Prof. W. T. Sedgwick, in an address before the Society of Arts, in December, 1891,* entitled, “ Milk Supply and Public Health.”
In this paper he showed, after several trials, that milk could be drawn from a healthy cow's udder which would be absolutely sterile, that is to say, free from all bacteria. In passing to the consideration of milk as consumed by different classes of people, he goes on to say, with reference to the milk of the country family, at the dairy of production, “pure” milk may possibly be defined as milk which has
Technology Quarterly, December, 1891, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 365.
not been watered or adulterated. It is sometimes so defined. But normal milk cannot be defined in this way. Milk drawn from a clean, well-kept Holstein cow, in a good stable, was received into sterilized bottles, and yielded an average of 530 bacteria per cubic centimeter. When an ordinary flaring milk-pail was used, and little care was taken to exclude dust from the stable or from the cow, an average of 30,500 per cubic centimeter was found. Still later, when served upon the table, the same milk was found to contain over 69,000 per cubic centimeter. The stables and the milkmen in these cases were unusually clean.
"There are, therefore, two principal sources of contamination in ordinary milk at the dairy of production; namely, contamination during the act of milking, and the natural multiplication of the bacteria thus introduced during the interval between milking and the consumption of the milk. The result of these investigations was to show that even under the most favorable conditions cow's milk as ordinarily drawn becomes almost necessarily infested with hosts of putrefactive bacteria at the very outset. Under worse conditions, with unclean stables and dirty milkmen, to say nothing of halfcleaned pails and cans, it is easy to understand why milk swarms with bacteria ; and, if we allow time also, the wonder is not that it contains so many germs, but rather that it is still potable at all. ... This rich animal fluid, sterile at the start, but drawn by unclean hands into half-cleaned pails, and meantime sprinkled above by the dust of the stable, by hairs, dandruff, dirt and particles of excrement from the skin and udder of the cow, vigorously shaken by the milker or brushed by his hat, becomes infested with organisms. That these multiply swiftly and enormously in the warm, rich fluid, well aerated by the act of milking, is a natural consequence of favorable conditions.
In city milk Professor Sedgwick found an average of 2,355,500 bacteria per cubic centimeter in fifty-seven samples examined in the spring of 1890. The average number of bacteria in sixteen samples collected from groceries was 4,577,000 per cubic centimeter. The milk of groceries is usually older than that which is obtained from wagons. Forty-four samples taken on arrival of milk-cans at railway stations showed an average of over 500,000 per cubic centimeter, the extremes being 5,664,000 and 2,200. These observations were repeated in 1891 with similar results.
With special care milk can be and is regularly delivered in some instances in the city with much greater freshness and purity than the foregoing figures indicate. The two principal conditions which Professor Sedgwick believes, from these investigations, to contribute to the abundance of bacteria in milk delivered for sale in the city are