Death in the Pot

Accum

  • Written over 200 years ago, in 1820, this book was about the use of harmful additives in common foods and drinks.
  • It was met with wide public acclaim and action. The author was driven out of the country by the food industry.

Lessons for today, perhaps?

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.

PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS.

Of all the frauds practised by mercenary dealers, there is none more reprehensible, and at the same time more prevalent, than the sophistication of the various articles of food.

This unprincipled and nefarious practice, increasing in degree as it has been found difficult of detection, is now applied to almost every commodity which can be classed among either the necessaries or the luxuries of life, and is carried on to a most alarming extent in every part of the United Kingdom.
...
To such perfection of ingenuity has this system of adulterating food arrived, that spurious articles of various kinds are every where to be found, made up so skilfully as to baffle the discrimination of the most experienced judges.
...
Indeed, it would be difficult to mention a single article of food which is not to be met with in an adulterated state; and there are some substances which are scarcely ever to be procured genuine.
...
There are particular chemists who make it a regular trade to supply drugs or nefarious preparations to the unprincipled brewer of porter or ale; others perform the same office to the wine and spirit merchant; and others again to the grocer and the oilman. The operators carry on their processes chiefly in secresy, and under some delusive firm, with the ostensible denotements of a fair and lawful establishment.
...
For the abolition of such nefarious practices, it is the interest of all classes of the community to co-operate.

FREDRICK ACCUM (1820) was subjected to a violent and bitter campaign from the food industry he so ruthlessly exposed, with the help of the Royal Institution, and returned embittered to his native Germany.

Read the whole fascinating treatise https://www.gutenberg.org/files/19031/19031-h/19031-h.htm and about Accum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Accum#Reaction_to_Treatise_on_Adulterations_of_Food