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hard earnings of poverty : it is at the expense compounding, by the aid of worthless or poiof the health and life of the honest artisan they sonous drugs, the mixture to be vended on the are even now maintained.
norrow to his pallid and unsuspecting customers. Whoever betakes himself at the due season No doubt it is a serious matter to prefer to any of the crowded watering-places that stud charges so grave against a numerous class; the south-eastern coast will find himself not but our readers will consider our allegations infrequently jostled by men of coarse aspect, more than justified by a few of the facts we in bright garments of eccentric cut, and fanci- have it in our power to adduce. fally bedecked in all the mosaic panoply of Thirty-six samples of sugar were purchased chains, and studs, and rings-living expensive- at as many different shops in various parts of ly, talking jovially, and faring sumptuously. London : they were each carefully analyzed, Those men are the professional poisoners of with the following results : the nineteenth century.
Ist. Minute fragments of cane, frequently Should the wary eye of a detective select only discernible by the microscope, were disone of this class, and track him to his London covered in thirty-five of the specimens; each of home, he would there haply find him, in the which also swarmed with a peculiarly disstill watches of the night, busily engaged in gusting insect*, resembling, in some respects, a preparations for his nefarious trade. He would beetle in form, but, if possible, still more loaththere behold the apron-ed miscreant craftily some in appearance.
Acarus Sacchari-A Sugar Insect found in every description of brown sugar.-Magnified 200 diameters. We present our readers with a portrait of this 2d. In ten cases sporules and filaments of animal: should any doubt its fidelity, they have fungi were present. only to apply a microscope to a few grains of 3d. Grape sugar + and vegetable albumen any sample of sugar, and they will see the re- were detected in the whole thirty-six sugars. pulsive original.
often in considerable amount.
4th. Stony particles, grit, woody fibre, * This insect is the Acarus Sacchari, or sugar insect: it
starch, and flour, were found in a variety of inbelongs to the same genus with that troublesome animal
stances. de which infests the palms and bodies of the uncleanly. So far, indeed, the roguery of the grocer only I possesses great vitality, for it cannot be killed by very touches the pocket, without affecting the health Tarm water, in which it will bear immersion for many of the purchaser: and it is in his power, if he but without injury. Its body is of an egg-shape, is kartended with stiff bristles, has a powerful and com
please, to avoid altogether the foul mixtures plicated apparatus for seizing and devouring its food, we have been describing, by rejecting the use of Fight legs, each terminating at the extremity in a strong the brown sugars of commerce, all of which book. This creature, with its ova and young, abounds in may be said to be utterly unfit for human food. greater or less numbers in every variety of moist or brown Figar, as the “ Lancet" assures us, after an examination
100 parieties; but the Acarus is never found in † Grape Sugar, or glucose, is ordinarily an artificial amp-sugar, sugar-candy, or in those white and beautiful production, usually made from old rags, potato flour, or Last-Indian sugars manufactured by filtration.
starch, by the action of dilute sulphuric acid.
Refined sugar should be substituted for these Proceed we now to follow the investigations vile compounds, as the worst lump sugar is be- of the Analytical Commission in the subject of yond all comparison purer, and consequently Coffee. These are prefaced by the following cheaper, than the best brown sugar that can be apt remarks :bought: it is free from the myriads of animal. The urchin who filches a bun, a penny-piece, or the cules with which they invariably abound; it con- value of one, breaks the law, and is liable to punishment, tains no fungi, vegetable albumen, grape-sugar, and even imprisonment. Is it to be supposed, therefore, sand, nor grit; nor indeed have any deleterious
that the cunning and systematic adulterater of our food
and drink, who robs us not only of our money, but somematters been detected in its composition. An
times of our health and strength, is less guilty ? that he is absurd prejudice against it, we are aware, exists to be allowed to violate the law with impunity in his daily in the minds of some persons, who maintain dealings, and not only to go unpunished, but to carry that it contains less saccharine matter than its about with him, as at present he commonly does, in his
intercourse with his fellows the undeserved reputation of brown rival. This, however, is a vulgar error,
an honest man? That the law, while it rigorously for which there is no foundation in fact. White, punishes the trivial offender, should allow the greater only differs from brown sugar in its freedom criminal to go at large unscathed, is an insult to common from impurities; and as it cannot be seriously sense.
But the question is not merely one of honesty and discontended that the feculent matter, abstracted
honesty, of profit and loss : it is also sanitary—one of by the refiner, posseses any sweetening powers, health, and even, in some cases, of life itself, of which the position sought to be maintained, becomes many proofs might be readily adduced. of course untenable.
Thus, the physician, having planned the diet of his paThe retail grocers are not ordinarily in the
tient, too often finds his well-grounded hopes frustrated
through the nefarious practice of adulteration. habit of introducing into sugar, for the purpose
In one case he orders arrow-root and isinglass: the of adulteration, substances of an entirely first is very commonly adulterated with potato, or some different nature. They have, however, recourse,
other farina ; whilst for the second is substituted some illon an extensive scale, to systematic proceedings,
prepared form of gelatine.
In another case he prescribes strong coffee or tea, it more difficult of detection, and equally dis
may be to counteract the effect of some narcotic poison: honest in their results.
the one is adulterated with a large quantity of Chicory, “ These proceedings consist in the artful ad- and the other consists of exhausted tea-leaves re-dried. mixture, in various proportions, of sugars of Examples like these, affecting strength, health, and
sometimes life, might be multiplied to almost any extent; different qualities and prices, none of which are
but these few observations are sufficient to shew the vast very pure, and some highly impure; an article interests involved in the consideration of the subject of the being thus manufactured, presenting a tolerable adulteration of the food and drink consumed by the appearance to the eye, but really of very great public. impurity.” This is effected by what is termed Coffee presents a striking instance of the mixing, or “handling.”
enormous extent to which adulteration is unSugars as imported contain a large amount blushingly carried. It has, indeed, been ascerof impurity; but the sugar purchased of the re- tained that a far greater quantity of heterogetailer not only contains two or three times that amount of extraneous matters, but is still further deteriorated by a large addition of water and molasses. Looking, therefore, at the question in an economical point of view, independently of all ideas of health, cleanliness, and purity, it is obvious that the public are heavy Iosers by the purchase of the cheap, darkcoloured, heavy, clammy sugars.
As the use of the microscope is now so general, we may add, before dismissing this subject, that an instrument of ordinary power will suffice to indicate, even to an unpractised
Ovo eye, the presence of woody fibre, of sugar insects in every stage of their existence, granules of starch, fungi, &c.; while a rudimentary know ledge of chemistry will enable the experimentalist to detect in a moment, lime, grape-sugar, albumen, &c.
Sugar, in a state of purity, is light-coloured, highly crystalline, large-grained, and very dry, not in the slightest degree sticky, nor liable to
This engraving presents the appearance of a section of
unroasted coffee-berry, shewing the size and form of the stain nor even moisten paper in which it is en
cells, as well as the drops of essential oil contained within closed.
their cavities.- Magnified 140 diameters.
turing in this way a spurious commodity, and knowing that by the uninitiated, “ richness" or depth of colour in his matutinal beverage is regarded as an infallible sign of purity and strength, prepares from the coarsest kind of brown sugar a substance known in the trade as “ coffee-colourer,” or “black-jack.”
This material is largely used, not only by the retail dealer, but also by the inn and coffeehouse keepers “who employ it to cover and conceal the poverty and nauseous character of the filthy and abominable compound which many of them vend, at a penny and a pennyhalfpenny per cup, under the much-abused name of coffee.”
The “ Lancet" informs us that from thirtyfour samples purchased for experiment in the first instance, the following results were obtained.
1. All but three were adulterated with chicory.
2. Twelve contained roasted corn. A fragment of roasted coffee.- Magnified 140 diame 3. In two, beans and potatoe-flour were disters.-(Drawn with the camera lucida).
covered. 4. Fifteen samples contained, besides chicory,
roasted corn, beans, and potatoes. 5. In many instances the amount of coffee
present was very small; and in others not less than one-fifth, fourth, third, or
half of the whole article. The date at which these investigations were made was about the latter end of 1850; at which time the Analytical Commissioners forbore from publishing the names of the dishonest tradesmen, but very justly furnished those of two houses at which a genuine article could be procured. *
The subject was subsequently resumed, after an interval of some months, and with results that reflected little credit upon the trade. The public, however, can scarcely be too grateful to those gentlemen who, disinterestedly assuming the unpleasant functions of a vigilant sanitary
police, enable purchasers to avoid all dealings Fragment of roasted Chicory-root, taken from a sample with those tradesmen whose disreputable prac. of adulterated Coffee, shewing the cells of which it is principally constituted. — Magnified 140 diameters. — (Drawn with the camera).
* Messrs. Knight, 83 Gracechurch-street, and Mr. neous substances dignified by that appellation
Betts, 262 Oxford-street.
We have pleasure in adding to this honourable list the is annually vended throughout the country names of Messrs. Ridgway, 4 and 5 King William-street, than has ever been imported. In some counties City; Mr. Sharpe, 44 Bishopsgate-street Within ; Mr. chicory is cultivated to an enormous extent. Deane, 4 Shoreditch High-street ; Messrs. Fortnum and for scarcely any other purpose than that of
Mason, 181 Piccadilly; Messrs. Branscombe and Co.,
88 Pall Mall; Messrs. Dann Johnston, 84 New BondTraudulent admixture with coffee. Corn, beans, street; Messrs. Payne, 328 Regent-street; Mr. Staniand potatoes, after having undergone a process forth, 138 Oxford-street; Mr. W. Holland, 127 Oxfordof torrefaction, or charring, are also employed
street. The coffee purchased at all the above shops was in the same service. It will be seen from the
found, at the time that the investigations of the “ Lancet" subjoined engravings that by the aid of the month, when we set on foot a similar scrutiny, the sam
were made, to be perfectly genuine ; and during the past Inicroscopic lens these different substances are ples we purchased presented unmistakeable evidence of as plainly distinguishable in a given sample, as purity.. farthings, shillings, and sovereigns, in a heap of
As might be anticipated, those dealers, whose puffs,
" advertisements, and handbills, denounce most loudly the coin, would be to the unaided eye.
iniquities of their brethren, proved to be themselves the But the grocer, not content with manufac- most audacious impostors.
tices have been so clearly demonstrated. earth, horse-chesnut, Venetian-red, oak-bark tan,
Forty-two samples of coffee, from as many mahogany sawdust, dried blood, baked horse's different venders, were again subjected to care- liver, &c. With regard to the last pleasing ful analysis.
substitutes for “the finest Mocha,” we will Out of the forty-two, eleven only were unadul quote a passage from Mr. P. L. Simmonds's terated: the remaining thirty-one were all made useful little work.* up with chicory-in many cases constituting “In various parts of the metropolis, but more especially the chief part of the article. In two cases a in the east, are to be found liver-bakers. These men take substance resembling horse-chesnut, and an
the livers of oxen and horses, bake them, and grind them amorphous substance, probably used for colour
into a powder which they sell to the low-priced coffeeing, were detected.
shop keepers at from 4d. to 6d. per lb.--HORSE'S LIVER These unanswerable state. COFFEE bearing the highest price. It may be known by ments suffice to shew to what a fearful extent, allowing the coffee to stand until cold, when a thick pellifraud is hourly committed through the vile sys. cle or skin will be found on the top. It goes further than tem of selling a factitious article in lieu of the coffee, and is generally mixed with chicory and other genuine commodity. At the same time it is
vegetable imitations of coffee" obvious that the exposures published by the
A natural inquiry will here suggest itself“ Lancet," some six months previously, had the
“How are we, without availing ourselves of the effect of preventing grocers from using other
skill of a professional analyst, to know, whether spurious articles besides chicory in the course
the infusion which we imbibe at morning and of their trade."
at eveningtide is really what we tremblingly Now, an opinion we know is widely prevalent
hope it to be, or whether it is in fact as hetethat chicory is both wholesome and nutritive: rogeneous in its material as that mysterious our non-medical readers, therefore, may start on mixture denominated ‘London porter,' or the learning that it possesses powerful medical pro- still blacker abomination historically known as perties, and has long been included in the ma- 'Spartan broth.”” teria medica. From a variety of experiments In reply, we beg to assure those whose fears instituted for the purpose, it appears that “for we have aroused, that, to ensure perfect security, some hours after drinking the infusion (at break- they have only to purchase the berry unground : fast) each individual complained of heaviness, if they wish for it in the highest perfection, they drowsiness, a feeling of weight at the stomach, and should obtain it unroasted, as all the coffee sold great indisposition to exertion; in two, head- in this country has its delicate aroma utterly ache set in; and in the third, diarrhea.”+ From destroyed by the excessive torrefaction to which these and other facts which we have ourselves eli- it is subjected. Above all things, however, the cited, we have no hesitation in pronouncing the ground coffee sold in packets, bottles, or canisroasted chicory-root to be decidedly unwholesome ters, should be seduously avoided : itcan scarcely and pernicious. That being the case, it would be be said to resemble in any particular the obviously absurd to determine what amount of genuine article. nutriment it is capable of yielding. At any
any For the benefit of those who are necessitated
for the be rate. if these alleged properties did exist, they to buy their coffee ground, who are unable would not excuse the retail dealer in foisting off to purchase it from any of the dealers alupon his customers, at the rate of ls, or ls. and ready enumerated, and who have not a micro4d. per lb., an article which literally costs him, scope at command, we may mention, that if the at the wholesale price, not more than 3d. per lb. suspected powder be placed lightly on the surBut unfortunately chicory chicane ends not
face of water, should it contain chicory or roasted here. Will it be credited that this worthless corn, they will speedily descend; whereas the drug itself can hardly be procured unadul. coffee, owing the essential oil it contains, will terated.
repel the water and float on the surface. Again, It is almost universally mixed up with either
chicory-powder, in a few seconds, will impart roasted carrot, parsnip, mangel wurzel, beans,
to the water a deep brown hue; pure coffee lupin seeds, corn, dog-biscuit, burnt sugar, red
hardly colouring cold water until after a length
ened immersion. A solution of iodine added * It may, indeed, be safely affirmed that the praise- to a cold decoction of chicory, deepens its colour worthy exertions of the “ Lancet" have, in less than two materially, though it can scarcely be said to years, done more to check the fraudulent adulteration of impart to it a blue tinge. food, than all the clumsy and expensive apparatus of the Excise, since its first establishment.
Before searching with the microscope for + The great increase of late years of renal disorders is roasted corn in coffee, it is advisable to break by many eminent medical men attributed to the increased up the fragments well with the point of a needle. consumption of chicory; and Professor Beer, of Vienna, "We might, were we so disposed, readily fill one of the most experienced oculists of the day, designates chicory-coffee as one of the causes of amaurotic blindness, many pages
aces many pages with the enumeration of the rogueone of the most dreadful forms of that malady.
* "Coffee as it is, and as it ought to be."
ries of London grocers, in the article of coffee: cury, are, as most people are aware, highly we must, however, refer those of our readers, poisonous : both- unlike the majority of other who are desirous of following up the subject, noxious compounds which, when received into to the pages of the “ Lancet," and also to a cer- the system, are at once expelled--remain in the tain “Blue book," the revelations in which are body, gradually accumulating, during a procalculated to excite still stronger feelings of tracted period, their baneful influence, until at disgust than the Analytical Sanitary Commis- length the peculiar symptoms which distinsion have yet roused.
guish their presence in large amount unmisAs might be supposed, such commodities as takeably appear. “ Thus, however small the bear a higher marketable value than those above daily dose taken, the constitution is yet liable, enumerated, offering, as they do, still stronger by the repetition of the dose, to suffer, sooner or inducements for adulteration, are shewn to be later, from the poison, and to become permasabjected to still more noxious combinations. nently affected."
Thus, the powdered ginger of the shops is “ But the quantity of red lead and mercury introduced found to be commonly made up of sago-meal, into the system in adulterated cayenne pepper is by no potato-flour, wheat-flour, ground rice, cayenne
means inconsiderable, since it commonly forms a large
portion of the article. Some idea of the amount of these pepper, mustard-husks, and turmeric powder.
substances frequently present may be formed from the Cinnamon is largely adulterated with cassia, fact, that in a pinch of cayenne, moistened and diffused baked flour, and sago-meal. Nutmegs, M. over a white plate, or a piece of glass, they may be disChevallier informs us,* are sometimes mixed tinctly seen by the eye alone.
“What punishment, we would now inquire, ought to with riddled nuts, eaten by insects, and become
be inflicted on the parties guilty of the crime of mixing brittle; the small apertures are then closed with these deleterious substances with an article of diet. The a kind of cement, formed of flour, oil, and the case made out, we submit, is one which, for the sake of powder of nutmegs. This paste has even served
the public health, strongly demands the interposition of
the Legislature. The man who steals one's purse comto fabricate false nutmegs, inodorous and insipid.
mits a less crime than he who, by tricking our food, robs The workmen of Marseilles make them of bran, us of health.” clay, and the refuse of nutmegs. “Some years
Out of twenty-six samples of curry powder since," says M. Jobard of Brussels, “a vessel
submitted to microscopical and chemical exaarrived from Canton with a cargo of nutmegs,
mination, seven only proved to be genuine. made of white wood, perfectly imitated.” The
Nineteen, or nearly four-fifths were shamemustard of the shops is mixed up with radish
fully adulterated. In nine samples ground rice, seed, rape-seed, wheaten-flour, turmeric-powder,
in very large quantities, was present. In one, and capsicum pepper. Black and white pepper potato flour was detected. Salt, in eight. are adulterated with linseed,mustard-seed, wheat
That highly poisonous metallic oxide, or red four, pea-flour, sago-meal, pepper-dust, and lead. was detected in eight other samples. factitious pepper-berries.
In one sample, the adulteration consisted of red Out of twenty-eight samples of cayenne pep
lead in combination with salt and potato-flour. per subjected to analysis, twenty-four were un
“The above results do not give the whole of the aduladulterated, and twenty-two of these contained
terations to which the twenty-six samples have been submineral colouring matter. In thirteen samples, jected, since they do not include the ferruginous earths, RED LEAD was present, often in large and which were shewn, in our article on cayenne, to be so poisonous quantities.
frequently employed to impart colour to that substance.
In consequence of the large and variable quantity of iron Venetian red, red ochre, brick dust, or some
present in genuine curry-powder, it is not easy accuother analogous ferruginous earths were con rately to determine in what cases that metal exists in tained in seven samples.
excess. The ferruginous earths consist of alumina, in Cinnabar, vermilion, or sulphuret of mercury, combination with a small and variable amount of iron in was detected in one sample.
the condition of red oxide.” Six of the samples consisted of a mixture of Now, since curry powder is consumed in ground rice, turmeric, and cayenne, coloured such considerable quantities, its adulteration either with red lead, or a red ferruginous earth with red lead, &c., must be productive of the
Siz other samples contained large quantities most terrible results in thousands of cases. The of salt, sometimes alone, but more frequently evil, all along being unsuspected, only becomes combined with rice and a red ferruginous carth, apparent when too late to be arrested or comare with red lead.
bated by the physician's art. One of the samples was adulterated with a The Lancet” has not yet taken cognizance of large quantity of the husk of white mustard-seed. the wine trade, nor of the numerous tricks con
Tuo literally contained nothing but rice nected with that branch of business. coloured with red lead or a ferruginous earth. The public, whatever suspicions they may Red lead and vermilion, or sulphuret of mer- now entertain, will, we can predict, be some
what astounded when they learn to what an * “ Dictionnaire des Alterations et Falsifications des belstances Alimentaires, Médicamentenses et Commer
extent their favourite vinous fluids are continually drugged.