The Select Committee on Adulteration have reported that the Act
of 1872, has greatly reduced adulteration, which is now 80 managed as to cheat the consumer, rather than to poison him. Alcohol, no doubt, is " adulterated " with water, and beer with water, and perhaps with salt; but the adulterations of food are not very serious. Bread, for example, is always pure of anything but alum and a little rice-flour. Milk is only watered or deprived of its cream. Tea is not faced with anything "absolutely injurious to health." English butter contains sometimes too much water or salt, and is imperfectly made, but otherwise is not adulter- ated, while even foreign butter is seldom mixed with any- thing more unwholesome than lard. The great object of inspectors now should be to compel dealers to describe their goods accurately, so that ordinary purchasers may know precisely what they are buying. The chief defect in the working of the Act is the absence of sufficient money to secure the services of a competent analyst, and most of the complaints arise from that source, accused traders affirming, often with justice, that the analysts do not understand their business. The remedy for this, outside great cities, is for several Unions to com- bine and secure a competent man, and to give the fines to the Vestries, instead of to the General Police Fund.