The estimated population of the City of Madras at the present time is about one million. This fact alone, considered in relation to public health, speaks for itself. The Public Analyst for the city, who has drawn up this report, acts under the Madras Prevention of Adulteration Act, 1918. The Act, therefore, has been operative for about thirty years. Two graphs are given in the report. One of these shows the number of samples of foods submitted by, it may be supposed, officials corresponding to our food inspectors, each year from 1931 to 1948. The other shows the percentage of samples returned as adulterated for the years 1931 to 1948. From the first graph it appears that the number of samples submitted was about 750 in 1931. In 1948 the number rose to 4,035. From 1931 to 1946 the rise on the whole was steady. From 1946 it was rapid2,000 in 1946. The curve which expresses the percentage of samples returned as adulterated seems to bear little relation to the first curve. It is most irregular. During the first three or four years the rate of adulteration kept pace with the number of samples collected for analysis. We may suppose that milk is as necessary a constituent of food in Madras as it is elsewhere. Out of the 4,035 samples of food analysed in 1948, 2,054 were milk samples. Out of these 915 were cows milk. The rest consisted of buffalos milk or a mixture of cow and buffalo milk, and a number were unspecified. Added water, in nearly every case, was the offence. This ranged from 2 per cent to 81 per cent. Nearly half the cows milk was reported against half the buffalos milk and about 45 per cent of the mixed milk. If these figures be a measure of the efficiency of the Act of 1918 so far as it relates to the purity of the milk supply the statute would seem to be almost a dead letter. Admittedly many circumstances, especially at the present time, are responsible for the nature and extent of food adulteration in any given district, and these would lead to the unsatisfactory nature of the results just referred to. However, it is suggested that a powerful contributory cause is the inadequacy of the average fine that is inflicted for the offence of food adulteration. In 1944 this was Rs. 59. In 1948 it was Rs. 43, a drop of nearly 25 per cent. Let the punishment fit the crime. The collection and analysis of samples is plainly in the nature of futility unless it be followed by correspondingly vigorous action on the part of the courts against proved offenders. The report remarks Unless a more serious view of offences under the Food Adulteration Act is taken and the maximum penalties provided under the Act are imposed the good effect of increased sampling will be annulled, and much progress cannot be made of effectively suppressing the evil practice of adulteration in the city. Other samples of foods were analysed and details of the results are given in the report. These show in many cases deliberate, heavy and unscrupulous adulteration which is, unfortunately, but too evident in the milk supply of the city.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 1950
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