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A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons   By: (1769-1838)

Book cover

First Page:

A

TREATISE

ON

ADULTERATIONS OF FOOD,

AND CULINARY POISONS .

EXHIBITING

The Fraudulent Sophistications of

BREAD, BEER, WINE, SPIRITOUS LIQUORS, TEA, COFFEE, CREAM, CONFECTIONERY, VINEGAR, MUSTARD, PEPPER, CHEESE, OLIVE OIL, PICKLES,

AND OTHER ARTICLES EMPLOYED IN DOMESTIC ECONOMY.

AND

METHODS OF DETECTING THEM.

By Fredrick Accum ,

OPERATIVE CHEMIST, AND MEMBER OF THE PRINCIPAL ACADEMIES AND SOCIETIES OF ARTS AND SCIENCES IN EUROPE.

Philadelphia: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY AB'M SMALL 1820.

PREFACE.

This Treatise, as its title expresses, is intended to exhibit easy methods of detecting the fraudulent adulterations of food, and of other articles, classed either among the necessaries or luxuries of the table; and to put the unwary on their guard against the use of such commodities as are contaminated with substances deleterious to health.

Every person is aware that bread, beer, wine, and other substances employed in domestic economy, are frequently met with in an adulterated state: and the late convictions of numerous individuals for counterfeiting and adulterating tea, coffee, bread, beer, pepper, and other articles of diet, are still fresh in the memory of the public.

To such perfection of ingenuity has the system of counterfeiting and adulterating various commodities of life arrived in this country, that spurious articles are every where to be found in the market, made up so skilfully, as to elude the discrimination of the most experienced judges.

But of all possible nefarious traffic and deception, practised by mercenary dealers, that of adulterating the articles intended for human food with ingredients deleterious to health, is the most criminal, and, in the mind of every honest man, must excite feelings of regret and disgust. Numerous facts are on record, of human food, contaminated with poisonous ingredients, having been vended to the public; and the annals of medicine record tragical events ensuing from the use of such food.

The eager and insatiable thirst for gain, is proof against prohibitions and penalties; and the possible sacrifice of a fellow creature's life, is a secondary consideration among unprincipled dealers.

However invidious the office may appear, and however painful the duty may be, of exposing the names of individuals, who have been convicted of adulterating food; yet it was necessary, for the verification of my statement, that cases should be adduced in their support; and I have carefully avoided citing any, except those which are authenticated in Parliamentary documents and other public records.

To render this Treatise still more useful, I have also animadverted on certain material errors, sometimes unconsciously committed through accident or ignorance, in private families, during the preparation of various articles of food, and of delicacies for the table.

In stating the experimental proceedings necessary for the detection of the frauds which it has been my object to expose, I have confined myself to the task of pointing out such operations only as may be performed by persons unacquainted with chemical science; and it has been my purpose to express all necessary rules and instructions in the plainest language, divested of those recondite terms of science, which would be out of place in a work intended for general perusal.

The design of the Treatise will be fully answered, if the views here given should induce a single reader to pursue the object for which it is published; or if it should tend to impress on the mind of the Public the magnitude of an evil, which, in many cases, prevails to an extent so alarming, that we may exclaim with the sons of the Prophet,

" THERE IS DEATH IN THE POT. "

For the abolition of such nefarious practices, it is the interest of all classes of the community to co operate.

FREDRICK ACCUM.

LONDON. 1820.

CONTENTS.

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