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REPORTS OF THE ANALYSTS.
DR. HARRINGTON'S REPORT UPON FOOD.
Boston, Oct. 1, 1891. Dr. S. W. ABBOTT, Secretary State Board of Health.
Dear Sir: – During the year ending Sept. 30, 1891, I have received and examined as analyst of foods 1,286 samples, including 247 which proved to be adulterated. Referring to the record books of the inspectors for the purpose of obtaining the brands of the adulterated samples for this report, I have been struck with the fact that most of the old familiar markings which have been published in previous reports have about disappeared from the market, for nearly all of the adulterated samples among the spices, condiments, cream of tartar, etc., have been sold either in bulk or in packages marked “ Select," “ Premium," “ Best,” etc., but without the name of the compounder.
The percentage of adulterated samples is low, and more than a fifth of these are articles the character of which was known at the time of the sale, but which have not before been extensively examined, - French canned vegetables greened by treatment with sulphate of copper.
Forty-six cans of pease and four of string-beans were found to contain copper, and one of pease and three of beans to be free from it. The amount of copper per can averages about two grains, reckoned as sulphate. The addition of this substance is clearly an adulteration, as the copper serves no useful purpose, and may produce harm.
Another undesirable addition to foods is salicylic acid, which is used as a preservative. This was detected in two samples of California apricot juice, in raspberry, lemon, vanilla and strawberry syrups put up by a Boston manufacturer, and in imported lager beer. Other adulterants detected were of the usual harmless varieties.
Following are the samples examined :
Butter. — Twenty-seven samples, with one exception genuine. Cheese. – Eleven samples, all genuine.
Lard. - Sixteen samples. Five of these were mixtures with stearine and cotton-seed oil, the remainder were genuine.
Molasses. — Ninety-one samples, of which but six were adulterated with glucose. No tin was detected.
Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar. — Thirty-nine samples. Eighteen were spurious.
Honey. — Twenty samples. One consisted largely of glucose syrup.
Sugar. – Nine samples, three of powdered, two of granulated and four of brown. All genuine.
Confectionery. — Of thirty-one samples examined only two could be said to contain any objectionable ingredient. These contained alcohol in the form of brandy or whisky in sufficient amount to affect the system, even when eaten in moderation.
Vinegar. — Sixteen samples, of which five contained less than the required amount of acidity.
Cider Vinegar. - Nineteen samples. Two were deficient acidity and two in cider-vinegar solids.
Cream of Tartar. — Two hundred and fourteen samples. Of the twenty-four samples which proved to be adulterated, only five were in marked packages. These were labelled as follows: Finest Quality for Family Use (two); Blanchard's Best; Challenge Mill XXX; XXX First Quality. The amount of foreign matter in the samples bearing the first, second and fourth of these markings was more than seventyfive per cent.
Baking Powders. - Fifteen samples. Five proved to be cream of tartar powders, one was chiefly coarse hominy, and nine contained alum as the acid salt. The following are the names of the ten which may be considered as adulterated, the first-mentioned being the one consisting of hominy, the others containing alum: Home Circle ; Cottage ; Red Star; Bon Bon; Grape Crystal ; Cottage ; Kitchen Queen; Household ; Crystal ; Western Pearl.
Saleratus. — Six samples, all genuine.
Canned Vegetables. — Fifty-four samples. Fifty contained copper.
Mustard. — Fifty-nine samples. Nineteen contained wheat flour or rice. Three of these were labelled, but not with the makers' names : No. 1474, Gilt Edge; No. 1724, Durham ; No. 8313, London.
Cayenne. - Thirty-nine samples. Three contained wheat flour; three were largely corn meal; one contained twenty per cent. of rice, wheat and other foreign matter, and one was a mixture of various substances with a very slight amount of cayenne.
One contained a fourth part of
Mace. — Eight samples. wheat.
White Pepper. — Thirty-four samples. Six unlabelled packages were adulterated with rice, corn or wheat.
Black Pepper. - One hundred and fifty-seven samples. Twenty contained ground cracker, two contained rice, four corn, four cracker and corn, one oat meal and buckwheat, and one was Malaguetta pepper. Only one of the thirty-two adulterated samples was labelled with the name of the manufacturers : No. 9101, D. E. Rounds & Co., Providence.
Cassia. — One hundred and three samples. Fourteen were adulterated. The following were among the latter: No. 1932, Union Spice Company ; No. 2826, Parsons' Premium, Albany ; No. 3862, W. H. Gilbert & Co. ; No. 9237, Select; No. 8831, Ar Showe & Co.; No. 1377, Globe.