Referring to the attempts of various local authorities to obtain the services of Public Analysts for inadequate rates of payment, The Lancet, in 1912, pointed out that the remuneration of the public analyst has seldom been upon a scale consistent with the training, skill, and experience which are required of him, but in as much as the practice of adulteration has become such a refinement, requiring a very elaborate series of operations for its detection, the remuneration is wholly inadequate. We agree with the Lancet's statement that modern methods of adulteration are often the product of a subtle scientific mind which discreditably turns its attention to the possibilities of eluding the control provided by the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts over the purity and quality of food, drugs and drink. No analyst nowadays, if he is an honest man, dare certify that a sample of any kind is genuine without making a number of often complicated investigations. The average payment for analysis is certainly a most unfair remuneration for the high qualifications now required for the post. We also fully agree with the Lancet's statements that the public analyst's work now is of the highest scientific order it must be done by a competent and conscientious man, otherwise the administration of the food laws must soon fall into disrepute. Slovenly practice must be impossible if discredit of the public analytical service is to be prevented. And there should be no temptation in the shape of totally inadequate pay to shirk the carrying out of a duty in a thorough and effective manner. The machinery which guards the purity and quality of our foodsupply must be efficient, and it is impossible to purchase efficiency at rates which are so low as to give no recompense for training, skill and responsibility. The analyst is often required to provide and maintain a laboratory himself, together with such apparatus, chemicals, and assistance as are necessary to enable him adequately and completely to execute the duties of the office. At the present time the payments made in a great many instances cannot possibly meet the expenses of the apparatus, chemicals and assistance required. The living wage is left entirely out of the proposition, and such a policy must sooner or later bring discredit upon a very important department of the public service.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1919