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OF the various branches cognate to chemical research which excite public attention, that of food adulteration doubtless possesses the greatest interest. To the dealer in alimentary substances, the significance of their sophistication is frequently merely one of profit or loss, and even this comparatively unimportant consideration does not always attach. But to the general community, the subject appeals to interests more vital than a desire to avoid pecuniary damage, and involving, as it necessarily does, the question of health, it has engendered a feeling of uneasiness, accompanied by an earnest desire for trustworthy information and data. The most usual excuses advanced by dishonest traders, when a case of adulteration has been successfully brought home to them-guilty knowledge being also established-are, that they are compelled to resort to the misdeed by the public demand for cheap commodities, that the addition is harmless, or actually constitutes an improvement, as is asserted to be the case when chicory is added to coffee, or that it serves as a preservative, as was formerly alleged to be the fact when vinegar was fortified with sulphuric acid. Pretexts of this sort are almost invariably fallacious. The claim that manufacturers are often forced into adulteration by the necessities of unfair trade competition possesses more weight-an honest dealer cannot as a rule successfully compete with a dishonest one-and has undoubtedly influenced many of the better class to
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
MRS. CHESTER N. GREENOUGH
[Copyright, 1887. By JESSE P. BATTERSHALL.]
To embody in a condensed form some salient features of the present status of Food Adulteration in the United States is the object of this volume. The importance of the subject, and the apparent need of a book of moderate dimensions relating thereto, must suffice as its raison d'être. The standard works have been freely consulted, and valuable data have been obtained from the recent reports of our State and Civic Boards of Health. The system of nomenclature accepted by the American. Chemical Society has been generally adopted. It was, however, deemed advisable to retain such names as glycerine, sodium bicarbonate, etc., in place of the more modern but less well-known terms, glycerol and sodium hydrogen carbonate, even at a slight sacrifice of uniformity.
The photogravure plates, most of which represent the results of recent microscopical investigation, are considered an important feature of the book. And it is believed that the bibliographical appendix, and the collation of American Legislation on Adulteration, will supply a want for ready reference often experienced.
U. S. LABORATORY,
July 1st, 1887.