Food and its adulterations; comprising the reports of the analytical sanitary commission of "The Lancet" for the years 1851 to 1854 inclusive
by Hassall, Arthur Hill
London: Longman [etc.], 1855. Hassall, Arthur Hill (1817-94). Food and its adulterations; comprising the reports of the analytical sanitary commission of "The Lancet" for the years 1851 to 1854 inclusive. . . . 8vo.  xlviii, 659 pp., publishers' adverts. 159 text wood-engravings. London: Longman [etc.], 1855. 222 x 142 mm. (partially unopened). Original cloth, somewhat shaken, worn & spotted. Light browning & foxing, but very good. First Edition. The first half of the nineteenth century saw flagrant and widespread food adulteration practiced by British merchants, who routinely used such substances as alum, potato flour, chicory and even poisonous mineral salts to extend, bleach and color their products. Public concern had been aroused in 1820 with the publication of Accum's Treatise on the Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons, but this had little lasting effect, and food merchants continued to adulterate their products until another public scare in 1848 prompted the editor of the Lancet to appoint an Analytical and Sanitary Commission, consisting of Hassall and Dr. W. Letheby, to investigate and report on the quality of foods consumed by all classes of the British public. Hassall performed chemical analyses of suspect foodstuffs, using methods superior to any previously employed, and was the first to demonstrate the value of the microscope in detecting adulterants. His revelations, first published in a series of articles in the Lancet from 1851-1855, inspired the appointment of a select Parliamentary Commission on food adulteration and led to the passage of the first Food and Drug Act in 1860. An advertisement for Dr. Hassall's testing laboratory is on the rear pastedown. Drummond & Wilbraham, pp. 341-347. Norman 1019.
(Inventory #: 44563)
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