food adulteration

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food adulteration,

act of intentionally debasing the quality of food offered for sale either by the admixture or substitution of inferior substances or by the removal of some valuable ingredient. The Greek and Roman classics contain allusions to wine makers and dealers who colored and flavored their wine. In England as early as the 13th cent., bakers cheapened their wares or scanted the weight, and lawmakers for the first time made an effort to prevent fraudulent dealings on the part of butchers and brewers. In Great Britain in the 18th and early 19th cent., coffee, tea, and cocoa were placed under protection laws by Parliament, passed not so much in the interest of the consumer as to keep up internal revenues.

About the middle of the 19th cent. chemical and microscopal knowledge had reached the stage that food substances could be analyzed, and the subject of food adulteration began to be studied from the standpoint of the rights and welfare of the consumer. In 1860 the first food law framed in the interest of the purchaser was passed. That law, lacking sufficient means of enforcement, remained largely ineffective until 1872, when administrative officials were appointed and penalties for violation provided. In the United States the federal Food and Drug Act of 1906 was the result of a long and stormy campaign led by Dr. Harvey Washington WileyWiley, Harvey Washington,
1844–1930, American chemist, b. Kent, Ind., grad. Hanover College (B.A., 1867), M.D. Indiana Medical College, 1871. After serving (1874–83) as state chemist of Indiana, he was chief chemist of the U.S. Dept.
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. This law defined food adulteration and the misbranding of products; it provided regulations covering the interstate movement of food and penalties for violations.

The 1906 act was superseded in 1938 by the more rigorous Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act administered since 1940 by the Food and Drug Administration (now within the Dept. of Health and Human Services). The FDA is charged with enforcing truthful and informative labeling of essential commodities, maintaining staff laboratories, and formulating definitions and standards promoting fair dealing in the interests of the consumer. The 1938 act broadened the definitions of adulteration, misbranding, and lack of informative labeling; it provided for factory inspections; and it increased the penalties for violations. It was amended in 1958 and 1962 to define and regulate food additives and food coloring.

The federal law controls traffic from one state to another and is supplemented by local regulations that require food handlers to be licensed, thereby discouraging the spread of disease; it provides for the inspection by health officers of meat and other foods, of restaurants, and of dairies and cold storage methods. Imported goods that violate the provisions of the act may be denied admittance to the United States and if not removed within a given time may be destroyed.

Food may be poisonous for reasons other than deliberate adulteration; see botulismbotulism
, acute poisoning resulting from ingestion of food containing toxins produced by the bacillus Clostridium botulinum. The bacterium can grow only in an anaerobic atmosphere, such as that found in canned foods.
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, food poisoningfood poisoning,
acute illness following the eating of foods contaminated by bacteria, bacterial toxins, natural poisons, or harmful chemical substances. It was once customary to classify all such illnesses as "ptomaine poisoning," but it was later discovered that ptomaines, the
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See J. C. Ayres et al., ed., Chemical and Biological Hazards in Food (1962, repr. 1969); B. T. Hunter, Consumer Beware (1971).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Various factors may be related to the high incidence of food adulteration detected in the municipalities studied in this research, including an aggravating factor of illegal slaughters.
Shortages, increasing prices and large consumer demands lead to food adulteration.
Punishments for food adulteration, in fact, are very rare in our country.
Should we not tackle the question of food adulteration? Food adulteration happens in a variety of ways.
(6.) IJSIT Review article on Food adulteration Volume1, issue2, November- December 2012.
Mousdis, "Food adulteration analysis without laboratory prepared or determined reference food adulterant values," Food Chemistry, vol.
It concluded that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) needs "clear powers and responsibilities" to allow it to respond more effectively to any future food adulteration issues.
This collection of twenty-four articles on advanced food science examines issues of food adulteration and regional authentication in foods and wines from around the world.
Sankaranarayanan, earlier called for strict vigilance by organisations like the Food and Drugs Administration and BIS in detecting food adulteration and in observing standardised norms across India where suppliers were resorting to shortcuts and adulteration in food products due to the growing demand.
Microbial analysis, food adulteration test were done for food samples.
He said food items having the highest percentage of adulteration include milk products (93 percent), condiments (86 percent), food snacks (47 percent), oil made food products and prickles (46 percent) and assorted food items including sweetmeat have been found around 34 percent food adulteration.