This report is addressed to the Health Committee of the Corporation. It is many years since such a report was issued, and 1947 was the first complete year in which the Writer of the report was in charge of the Department for whose activity he speaks. A short account of the scope and duties of the Department is given. The writer is not only the Public Analyst for Liverpool City itself, but for seven boroughs besides. He is the Agricultural Analyst for five county boroughs. Work is carried out as requested by all the Liverpool Corporation Departments. This work includes, among others, those relating to Water, Health, Public Baths, and the Port Health Authority examinations for pathological purposes on behalf of hospitals and private practitioners. Toxicological examinations are also made for H.M. coroners. The department is also concerned with problems relating to atmospheric pollution in cooperation with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The City Analyst represents Liverpool on the Standing Conference that is concerned with these matters. It is not claimed that the duties of the City Analyst's Department differ in kind from those undertaken by other official analysts in the great industrial centres of the country, but the volume of the work is probably not exceeded anywhere else. Numerical details are not embodied in the report, but are relegated to five appendices. We note from Appendix No. 1 that the total number of examinations of all kinds that were undertaken during the time under review amounted to well over eleven thousand. As already remarked, it is years since such a report was issued. We are in complete agreement with the remark that a summary of the scope and conditions of the work of the City Analyst's Department may be helpful. It will be helpful inasmuch as itwith, we may add, other reports of a like naturewill enable the man in the street the better to appreciate the nature of the service that the health authorities, represented by official analysts throughout the country, render in their endeavour to ensure that air, water supply, food and other essentials are as they should be. We note that the Corporation Departments and Local Authorities were making a steadily increasing use of the laboratory facilities during the year. This entailed some reorganisation of the Departments so far as that is related to the examination of foods and drugs. It is hardly needful to point out that postwar regulations as to the correct labelling and advertising of foods and drugs, especially prepacked foods, demand more than analysis. A too excessive use of the commercial imagination in the past with regard to the nature, substance and quality of the stuff in, say, a package, has led to a considerable increase of laboratory staff to cope with the business, with a corresponding increase in the size of the laboratory. With regard to food and drug administration, it is pointed out that the figure given in the reports of the Public Analysts as to the number of unsatisfactory samples is misleading, the number being in all cases too high. Thus for Liverpool it is given as 55 per cent of the total number of foods and drugs examined. The sampling officers take samples representing types of foods that are most likely to be irregular. When an irregularity is found, repeated samples may be taken in an attempt to trace the trouble to its source. The result is that the number representing samples found to be unsatisfactory in the course of such an investigation would indicatewhen included in the general figures relating to all samples examineda higher proportion of unsatisfactory samples than is actually the case. Thus the percentage of unsatisfactory samples may be just as much a measure of the activity of the sampling officer as of the adulteration practised. Again, it is pointed out that many of the irregularities disclosed in the examination of foods are not, from the commonsense point of view, matters for which legal action is desirable. Accident or ignorance of legal regulations may be the cause of irregularities. It is generally sufficient to draw attention to what is wrong and it is immediately put right.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 1949
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