Letters: John Bright on Adulteration

J. B. (Manchester) asks where John Bright made his famous defence of adulteration. We quote the following extract from a speech delivered in his capacity of President of the Board of Trade, on March 5, 1861, in replying to a demand that food inspectors should be appointed.

  “My own impression with regard to this adulteration is, that it arises from the very great and inevitable competition in business. . . .  It is quite impossible that you should have the oversight of the country by inspectors, and that you can organise a body of persons to go into shops to buy sugar, pickles, cayenne, to get them analysed and then to raise complaints against the shopkeepers and bring them before the magistrates. If men in their private business were to be tracked by Government officers every hour of the day, life would not he worth having, and I should recommend them to go to another country, where they would not be subject to such annoyance.”