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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 56/November 1899/Food Poisoning

FOOD POISONING.
By VICTOR C. VAUGHAN,

PROFESSOR OF HYGIENE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.

WITHIN the past fifteen or twenty years cases of poisoning with foods of various kinds have apparently become quite numerous. This increase in the number of instances of this kind has been both apparent and real. In the first place, it is only within recent years that it has been recognized that foods ordinarily harmless may become most powerful poisons. In the second place, the more extensive use of preserved foods of various kinds has led to an actual increase in the number of outbreaks of food poisoning.

The harmful effects of foods may be due to any of the following causes:

1. Certain poisonous fungi may infect grains. This is the cause of epidemics of poisoning with ergotized bread, which formerly prevailed during certain seasons throughout the greater part of continental Europe, but which are now practically limited to southern Russia and Spain. In this country ergotism is practically unknown, except as a result of the criminal use of the drug ergot. However, a few herds of cattle in Kansas and Nebraska have been quite extensively affected with this disease.

2. Plants and animals may feed upon substances that are not harmful to them, but which may seriously affect man on account of his greater susceptibility. It is a well-known fact that hogs may eat large quantities of arsenic or antimony without harm to themselves, and thus render their flesh unfit for food for man. It is believed that birds that feed upon the mountain laurel furnish a food poisonous to man.

3. During periods of the physiological activity of certain glands in some of the lower animals the flesh becomes harmful to man. Some species of fish are poisonous during the spawning season.

4. Both animal and vegetable foods may become infected with the specific germs of disease and serve as the carriers of the infection to man. Instances of the distribution of typhoid fever by the milkman are illustrations of this.

5. Animals may be infected with specific diseases, which may be transmitted to man in the meat or milk. This is one of the means by which tuberculosis is spread.

6. Certain nonspecific, poison-producing germs may find their way into foods of various kinds, and may by their growth produce chemical poisons either before or after the food has been eaten. This is the most common form of food poisoning known in this country.

We will briefly discuss some foods most likely to prove harmful to man.

Mussel Poisoning.—It has long been known that this bivalve is occasionally poisonous. Three forms of mussel poisoning are recognized. The first, known as Mytilotoxismus gastricus, is accompanied by symptoms practically identical with those of cholera morbus. At first there is nausea, followed by vomiting, which may continue for hours. In severe cases the walls of the stomach are so seriously altered that the vomited matter contains considerable quantities of blood. Vomiting is usually accompanied by severe and painful purging. The heart may be markedly affected, and death may result from failure of this organ. Examination after death from this cause shows the stomach and small intestines to be highly inflamed.

The second form of mussel poisoning is known as Mytilotoxismus exanthematicus on account of visible changes in the skin. At first there is a sensation of heat, usually beginning in the eyelids, then spreading to the face, and finally extending over the whole body. This sensation is followed by an eruption, which is accompanied by intolerable itching. In severe cases the breathing becomes labored, the face grows livid, consciousness is lost, and death may result within two or three days.

The most frequently observed form of mussel poisoning is that designated as Mytilotoxismus paralyticus. As early as 1827 Combe reported his observations upon thirty persons who had suffered from this kind of mussel poisoning. The first symptoms, as a rule, appeared within two hours after eating the poisonous food. Some suffered from nausea and vomiting, but those were not constant or lasting symptoms. All complained of a prickly feeling in the hands, heat and constriction of the throat, difficulty of swallowing and speaking, numbness about the mouth, gradually extending over the face and to the arms, with great debility of the limbs. Most of the sufferers were unable to stand; the action of the heart was feeble, and the face grew pale and expressed much anxiety. Two of the thirty cases terminated fatally. Post-mortem examination showed no abnormality.

Many opinions have been expressed concerning the nature of harmful mussels. Until quite recently it was a common belief that certain species are constantly toxic. Virchow has attempted to describe the dangerous variety of mussels, stating that it has a brighter shell, sweeter, more penetrating, bouillonlike odor than the edible kind, and that the flesh of the poisonous mussel is yellow; the water in which they are boiled becomes bluish.

However, this belief in a poisonous species is now admitted to be erroneous. At one time it was suggested that mussels became hurtful by absorbing the copper from the bottoms of vessels, but Christison made an analysis of the mussels that poisoned the men mentioned by Combe, with negative results, and also pointed out the fact that the symptoms were not those of poisoning with copper. Some have held that the ill effects were due wholly to idiosyncrasies in the consumers, but cats and dogs are affected in the same way as men are. It has also been believed that all mussels are poisonous during the period of reproduction. This theory is the basis of the popular superstition that shellfish should not be eaten during the months in the name of which the letter "r" does not occur. At one time this popular idea took the form of a legal enactment in France forbidding the sale of shellfish from May 1st to September 1st. This widespread idea has a grain of truth in it, inasmuch as decomposition is more likely to alter food injuriously during the summer months. However, poisoning with mussels may occur at any time of the year.

It has been pretty well demonstrated that the first two forms of mussel poisoning mentioned above are due to putrefactive processes, while the paralytic manifestations seen in other cases are due to a poison isolated a few years ago by Brieger, and named by him mytilotoxin. Any mussel may acquire this poison when it lives in filthy water. Indeed, it has been shown experimentally that edible mussels may become harmful when left for fourteen days or longer in filthy water; while, on the other hand, poisonous mussels may become harmless if kept four weeks or longer in clear water. This is true not only of mussels, but of oysters as well. Some years ago, many cases of poisoning from oysters were reported at Havre. The oysters had been taken from a bed near the outlet of a drain from a public water closet. Both oysters and mussels may harbor the typhoid bacillus, and may act as carriers of this germ to man.

There should be most stringent police regulations against the sale of all kinds of mollusks, and all fish as well, taken from filthy waters. Certainly one should avoid shellfish from impure waters, and it is not too much to insist that those offered for food should be washed in clean water. All forms of clam and oyster broth should be avoided when it has stood even for a few hours at summer heat. These preparations very quickly become infected with bacteria, which develop most potent poisons.

Fish Poisoning.—Some fish are supplied with poisonous glands, by means of which they secure their prey and protect themselves from their enemies. The "dragon weaver," or "sea weaver" (Trachinus draco), is one of the best known of these fish. There are numerous varieties widely distributed in salt waters. The poisonous spine is attached partly to the maxilla and partly to the gill cover at its base. This spine is connected with a poisonous gland; the spine itself is grooved and covered with a thin membrane, which converts the grooves into canals. When the point enters another animal its membrane is stripped back and the poison enters the wound. Men sometimes wound their feet with the barbs of this fish while bathing. It also occasionally happens that a fisherman pricks his fingers with one of these barbs. The most poisonous variety of this fish known is found in the Mediterranean Sea. Wounds produced by these animals sometimes cause death. In Synanceia brachio there are in the dorsal fin thirteen barbs, each connected with two poison reservoirs. The secretion from these glands is clear, bluish in color, and acid in reaction, and when introduced beneath the skin causes local gangrene and, if in sufficient quantity, general paralysis. In Plotosus lineatus there is a powerful barb in front of the ventral fin, and the poison is not discharged unless the end of the barb is broken. The most poisonous variety of this fish is found only in tropical waters. In Scorpæna scrofa and other species of this family there are poison glands connected with the barbs in the dorsal and in some varieties in the caudal fin.

A disease known as kakke was a few years ago quite prevalent in Japan and other countries along the eastern coast of Asia. With the opening up of Japan to the civilized world the study of this disease by scientific methods was undertaken by the observant and intelligent natives who acquired their medical training in Europe and America. In Tokio the disease generally appears in May, reaches its greatest prevalence in August, and gradually disappears in September and October. The researches of Miura and others have fairly well demonstrated that this disease is due to the eating of fish belonging to the family of Scombridæ. There are other kinds of fish in Japanese waters that undoubtedly are poisonous. This is true of the tetrodon, of which, according to Remey, there are twelve species whose ovaries are poisonous. Dogs fed upon these organs soon suffered from salivation, vomiting, and convulsive muscular contractions. When some of the fluid obtained by rubbing the ovaries in a mortar was injected subcutaneously in dogs the symptoms were much more severe, and death resulted. Tahara states that he has isolated from the roe of the tetrodon two poisons, one of which is a crystalline base, while the other is a white, waxy body. From 1885 to 1892 inclusive, 933 cases of poisoning with this fish were reported in Tokio, with a mortality of seventy-two per cent.

Fish poisoning is quite frequently observed in the West Indies, where the complex of symptoms is designated by the Spanish term siguatera. It is believed by the natives that the poisonous properties of the fish are due to the fact that they feed upon decomposing medusæ and corals. In certain localities it is stated that all fish caught off certain coral reefs are unfit for food. However, all statements concerning the origin and nature of the poison in these fish are mere assumptions, since no scientific work has been done. Whatever the source of the poison may be, it is quite powerful, and death not infrequently results. The symptoms are those of gastro-intestinal irritation followed by collapse.

In Russia fish poisoning sometimes causes severe and widespread epidemics. The Government has offered a large reward for any one who will positively determine the cause of the fish being poisonous and suggest successful means of preventing these outbreaks. Schmidt, after studying several of these epidemics, states the following conclusions:

(a) The harmful effects are not due to putrefactive processes. (b) Fish poisoning in Russia is always due to the eating of some member of the sturgeon tribe, (c) The ill effects are not due to the method of catching the fish, the use of salt, or to imperfections in the methods of preservation, (d) The deleterious substance is not uniformly distributed through the fish, but is confined to certain parts, (e) The poisonous portions are not distinguishable from the nonpoisonous, either macroscopically or microscopically. (f) When the fish is cooked it may be eaten without harm, (g) The poison is an animal alkaloid produced most probably by bacteria that cause an infectious disease in the fish during life.

The conclusion reached by Schmidt is confirmed by the researches of Madame Sieber, who found a poisonous bacillus in fish which had caused an epidemic.

In the United States fish poisoning is most frequently due to decomposition in canned fish. The most prominent symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and purging. Sometimes there is a scarlatinous rash, which may cover the whole body. The writer has studied two outbreaks of this kind of fish poisoning. In both instances canned salmon was the cause of the trouble. Although a discussion of the treatment of food poisoning is foreign to this paper, the writer must call attention to the danger in the administration of opiates in cases of poisoning with canned fish. Vomiting and purging are efforts on the part of Nature to remove the poison, and should be assisted by the stomach tube and by irrigation of the colon. In one of the cases seen by the writer large doses of morphine had been administered in order to check the vomiting and purging and to relieve the pain; in this case death resulted. The danger of arresting the elimination of the poison in all cases of food poisoning can not be too emphatically condemned.

Meat Poisoning.—The diseases most frequently transmitted from the lower animals to man by the consumption of the flesh or milk of the former by the latter are tuberculosis, anthrax, symptomatic anthrax, pleuro-pneumonia, trichinosis, mucous diarrhœa, and actinomycosis. It hardly comes within the scope of this article to discuss in detail the transmission of these diseases from the lower animals to man. However, the writer must be allowed to offer a few opinions concerning some mooted questions pertaining to the consumption of the flesh of tuberculous animals. Some hold that it is sufficient to condemn the diseased part of the tuberculous cow, and that the remainder may be eaten with perfect safety. Others teach that "total seizure" and destruction of the entire carcass by the health authorities are desirable. Experiments consisting of the inoculation of guinea pigs with the meat and meat juices of tuberculous animals have given different results to several investigators. To one who has seen tuberculous animals slaughtered, these differences in opinion and in experimental results are easily explainable. The tuberculous invasion may be confined to a single gland, and this may occur in a portion of the carcass not ordinarily eaten; while, on the other hand, the invasion may be much more extensive and the muscles may be involved. The tuberculous portion may consist of hard nodules that do not break down and contaminate other tissues in the process of removal, but the writer has seen a tuberculous abscess in the liver holding nearly a pint of broken-down infected matter ruptured or cut in removing this organ, and its contents spread over the greater part of the carcass. This explains why one investigator succeeds in inducing tuberculosis in guinea pigs by introducing small bits of meat from a tuberculous cow into the abdominal cavity, while another equally skillful bacteriologist follows the same details and fails to get positive results.

No one desires to eat any portion of a tuberculous animal, and the only safety lies in "total seizure" and destruction. That the milk from tuberculous cows, even when the udder is not involved, may contain the specific bacillus has been demonstrated experimentally. The writer has suggested that every one selling milk should be licensed, and the granting of a license should be dependent upon the application of the tuberculin test to every cow from which milk is sold. The frequency with which tuberculosis is transmitted to children through milk should justify this action.

That a profuse diarrhœa may render the flesh of an animal unfit food for man was demonstrated by the cases studied by Gartner. In this instance the cow was observed to have a profuse diarrhœa for two days before she was slaughtered. Both the raw and cooked meat from this animal poisoned the persons who ate it. Medical literature contains the records of many cases of meat poisoning due to the eating of the flesh of cows slaughtered while suffering from puerperal fever. It has been found that the flesh of animals dead of symptomatic anthrax may retain its infection after having been preserved in a dry state for ten years.

One of the most frequently observed forms of meat poisoning is that due to the eating of decomposed sausage. Sausage poisoning, known as botulismus, is most common in parts of Germany. Germans who have brought to the United States their methods of preparing sausage occasionally suffer from this form of poisoning. The writer had occasion two years ago to investigate six cases of this kind, two of which proved fatal. The sausage meat had been placed in uncooked sections of the intestines and alternately frozen and thawed and then eaten raw. In this instance the meat was infected with a highly virulent bacillus, which resembled very closely the Bacterium coli.

In England, Ballard has reported numerous epidemics of meat poisoning, in most of which the meat had become infected with some nonspecific, poison-producing germ. In 1894 the writer was called upon to investigate cases of poisoning due to the eating of pressed chicken. The chickens were killed Tuesday afternoon and left hanging in a market room at ordinary temperature until Wednesday forenoon, when they were drawn and carried to a restaurant and here left in a warm room until Thursday, when they were cooked (not thoroughly), pressed, and served at a banquet in which nearly two hundred men participated. All ate of the chicken, and were more or less seriously poisoned. The meat contained a slender bacillus, which was fatal to white rats, guinea pigs, dogs, and rabbits.

Ermengem states that since 1867 there have been reported 112 epidemics of meat poisoning, in which 6,000 persons have been affected. In 103 of these outbreaks the meat came from diseased animals, while in only five was there any evidence that putrefactive changes in the meat had taken place. My experience convinces me that in this country meat poisoning frequently results from putrefactive changes.

Instances of poisoning from the eating of canned meats have become quite common. Altliough it may be possible that in some instances the ill effects result from metallic poisoning, in a great majority of cases the poisonous substances are formed by putrefactive changes. In many cases it is probable that decomposition begins after the can has been opened by the consumer; in others the canning is imperfectly done, and putrefaction is far advanced before the food reaches the consumer. In still other instances the meat may have been taken from diseased animals, or it may have undergone putrefactive changes before the canning. It should always be remembered that canned meat is especially liable to putrefactive changes after the can has been opened, and when the contents of the open can are not consumed at once the remainder should be kept in a cold place or should be thrown away. People are especially careless on this point. While every one knows that fresh meat should be kept in a cold place during the summer, an open can of meat is often allowed to stand at summer temperature and its contents eaten hours after the can has been opened. This is not safe, and has caused several outbreaks of meat poisoning that have come under the observation of the writer.

Milk Poisoning.—In discussing this form of food poisoning we will exclude any consideration of the distribution of the specific infectious diseases through milk as the carrier of the infection, and will confine ourselves to that form of milk poisoning which is due to infection with nonspecific, poison-producing germs. Infants are highly susceptible to the action of the galactotoxicons (milk poisons). There can no longer be any doubt that these poisons are largely responsible for much of the infantile mortality which is alarmingly high in all parts of the world. It has been positively shown that the summer diarrhœa of infancy is due to milk poisoning. The diarrhœas prevalent among infants during the summer months are not due to a specific germ, but there are many bacteria that grow rapidly in milk and form poisons which induce vomiting and purging, and may cause death. These diseases occur almost exclusively among children artificially fed. It is true that there are differences in chemical composition between the milk of woman and that of the cow, but these variations in percentage of proteids, fats, and carbohydrates are of less importance than the infection of milk with harmful bacteria. The child that takes its food exclusively from the breast of a healthy mother obtains a food that is free from poisonous bacteria, while the bottle-fed child may take into its body with its food a great number and variety of germs, some of which may be quite deadly in their effects. The diarrhœas of infancy are practically confined to the hot months, because a high temperature is essential to the growth and wide distribution of the poison-producing bacteria. Furthermore, during the summer time these bacteria grow abundantly in all kinds of filth. Within recent years the medical profession has so urgently called attention to the danger of infected milk that there has been a great improvement in the care of this article of diet, but that there is yet room for more scientific and thorough work in this direction must be granted. The sterilization and Pasteurization of milk have doubtlessly saved the lives of many children, but every intelligent physician knows that even the most careful mother or nurse often fails to secure a milk that is altogether safe.

It is true that milk often contains germs the spores of which are not destroyed by the ordinary methods of sterilization and Pasteurization. However, these germs are not the most dangerous ones found in milk. Moreover, every mother and nurse should remember that in the preparation of sterilized milk for the child it is not only necessary to heat the milk, but, after it has been heated to a temperature sufficiently high and sufficiently prolonged, the milk must subsequently be kept at a low temperature until the child is ready to take it, when it may be warmed. It should be borne in mind that the subsequent cooling of the milk and keeping it at a low temperature is a necessary feature in the preparation of it as a food for the infant.

Cheese Poisoning.—Under this heading we shall include the ill effects that may follow the eating of not only cheese but other milk products, such as ice cream, cream custard, cream puffs, etc. Any poison formed in milk may exist in the various milk products, and it is impossible to draw any sharp line of distinction between milk poisoning and cheese poisoning. However, the distinction is greater than is at first apparent. Under the head of milk poisoning we have called especial attention to those substances formed in milk to which children are particularly susceptible, while in cheese and other milk products there are formed poisonous substances against which age does not give immunity. Since milk is practically the sole food during the first year or eighteen months of life, the effect of its poisons upon infants is of the greatest importance; on the other hand, milk products are seldom taken by the infant, but are frequent articles of diet in after life.

In 1884 the writer succeeded in isolating from poisonous cheese a highly active basic substance, to which he gave the name tyrotoxicon. The symptoms produced by this poison are quite marked, but differ in degree according to the amount of the poison taken. At first there is dryness of the mouth, followed by constriction of the fauces, then nausea, vomiting, and purging. The first vomited matter consists of food, then it becomes watery and is frequently stained with blood. The stools are at first semisolid, and then are watery and serous. The heart is depressed, the pulse becomes weak and irregular, and in severe cases the face appears cyanotic. There may be dilatation of the pupil, but this is not seen in all. The most dangerous cases are those in which the vomiting is slight and soon ceases altogether, and the bowels are constipated from the beginning. Such cases as these require prompt and energetic treatment. The stomach and bowels should be thoroughly irrigated in order to remove the poison, and the action of the heart must be sustained.

At one time the writer believed that tyrotoxicon was the active agent in all samples of poisonous cheese, but more extended experimentation has convinced him that this is not the case. Indeed, this poison is rarely found, while the number of poisons in harmful cheese is no doubt considerable. There are numerous poisonous albumins found in cheese and other milk products. While all of these are gastro-intestinal irritants, they differ considerably in other respects.

In 1895 the writer and Perkins made a prolonged study of a bacillus found in cheese which had poisoned fifty people. Chemically the poison produced by this germ is distinguished from tyrotoxicon by the fact that it is not removed from alkaline solution with ether. Physiologically the new poison has a more pronounced effect on the heart, in which it resembles muscarin or neurin more closely than it does tyrotoxicon. Pathologically, the two poisons are unlike, inasmuch as the new poison induces marked congestion of the tissues about the point of injection when used upon animals hypodermically. Furthermore, the intestinal constrictions which are so uniformly observed in animals poisoned by tyrotoxicon was not once seen in our work with this new poison, although it was carefully looked for in all our experiments.

In 1898 the writer, with McClymonds, examined samples of cheese from more than sixty manufacturers in this country and in Europe. In all samples of ordinary American green cheese poisonous germs were found in greater or less abundance. These germs resemble very closely the colon bacillus, and most likely their presence in the milk is to be accounted for by contamination with bits of fecal matter from the cow. It is more than probable that the manufacture of cheese is yet in its infancy, and we need some one to do for this industry what Pasteur did for the manufacture of beer. At present the flavor of a given cheese depends upon the bacteria and molds which accidentally get into it. The time will probably come when all milk used for the manufacture of cheese will be sterilized, and then selected molds and bacteria will be sown in it. In this way the flavor and value of a cheese will be determined with scientific accuracy, and will not be left to accident.

Canned Foods.—As has been stated, the increased consumption of preserved foods is accountable for a great proportion of the cases of food poisoning. The preparation of canned foods involves the application of scientific principles, and since this work is done by men wholly ignorant of science it is quite remarkable that harmful effects do not manifest themselves more frequently than they do. Every can of food which is not thoroughly sterilized may become a source of danger to health and even to life. It may be of interest for us to study briefly the methods ordinarily resorted to in the preparation of canned foods. With most substances the food is cooked before being put into the can. This is especially true of meats of various kinds. Thorough cooking necessarily leads to the complete sterilization of the food; but after this, it must be transferred to the can, and the can must be properly closed. With the handling necessary in canning the food, germs are likely to be introduced. Moreover, it is possible that the preliminary cooking is not thoroughly done and complete sterilization is not reached. The empty can should be sterilized. If one wishes to understand the modus operandi of canning foods, let him take up a round can of any fruit, vegetable, or meat and examine the bottom of the can, which is in reality the top during the process of canning and until the label is put on. The food is introduced through the circular opening in this end, now closed by a piece which can be seen to be soldered on. After the food has been introduced through this opening the can and contents are heated either in a water bath or by means of steam. The opening through which the food was introduced is now closed by a circular cap of suitable size, which is soldered in position.

This cap has near its center a "prick-hole" through which the steam continues to escape. This "prick-hole" is then closed with solder, and the closed can again heated in the water bath or with steam. If the can "blows" (if the ends of the can become convex) during this last heating the "prick-hole" is again punctured and the heated air allowed to escape, after which the "prick-hole" is again closed. Cans thus prepared should be allowed to stand in a warm chamber for four or five days. If the contents have not been thoroughly sterilized gases will be evolved during this time, or the can will "blow" and the contents should be discarded. Unscrupulous manufacturers take cans which have "blown," prick them to allow the escape of the contained gases, and then resterilize the cans with their contents, close them again, and put them on the market. These "blowholes" may be made in either end of the can, or they may be made in the sides of the can, where they are subsequently covered with the label. Of course, it does not necessarily follow that if a can has "blown" and been subsequently resterilized its contents will prove poisonous, but it is not safe to eat the contents of such cans, reputable manufacturers discard all "blown" cans.

Nearly all canned jellies sold in this country are made from apples. The apples are boiled with a preparation sold under the trade name "tartarine." This consists of either dilute hydrochloric or sulphuric acid. Samples examined by the writer have invariably been found to consist of dilute hydrochloric acid. The jelly thus formed by the action of the dilute acid upon the apple is converted into quince, pear, pineapple, or any other fruit that the pleasure of the manufacturer may choose by the addition of artificial flavoring agents. There is no reason for believing that the jellies thus prepared are harmful to health.

Canned fruits occasionally contain salicylic acid in some form. There has been considerable discussion among sanitarians as to whether or not the use of this preservative is admissible. Serious poisoning with canned fruits is very rare. However, there can be but little doubt that many minor digestive disturbances are caused by acids formed in these foods. There has been much apprehension concerning the possibility of poisoning resulting from the soluble salts of tin formed by the action of fruit acids upon the can. The writer believes that anxiety on this point is unnecessary, and he has failed to find any positive evidence of poisoning resulting from this cause.

There are two kinds of condensed milk sold in cans. These are known as condensed milk "with" and "without" sugar. In the preparation of the first-mentioned kind a large amount of cane sugar is added to condensed milk, and this acting as a preservative renders the preparation and successful handling of this article of food comparatively easy. On the other hand, condensed milk to which sugar has not been added is very liable to decomposition, and great care must be used in its preparation. The writer has seen several cases of severe poisoning that have resulted from decomposed canned milk. Any of the galactotoxicons (milk poisons) may be formed in this milk. In these instances the cans were "blown," both ends being convex.

One of the most important sanitary questions in which we are concerned to-day is that pertaining to the subject of canned meats. It is undoubtedly true that unscrupulous manufacturers are putting upon the market articles of this kind of food which no decent man knowingly would eat, and which are undoubtedly harmful to all.

The knowledge gained by investigations in chemical and bacteriological science have enabled the unscrupulous to take putrid liver and other disgusting substances and present them in such a form that the most fastidious palate would not recognize their origin. In this way the flesh from diseased animals and that which has undergone putrefactive changes may be doctored up and sold as reputable articles of diet. The writer does not believe that this practice is largely resorted to in this country, but that questionable preservatives have been used to some extent has been amply demonstrated by the testimony of the manufacturers of these articles themselves, given before the Senate committee now investigating the question of food and food adulterations. It is certainly true that most of the adulterations used in our foods are not injurious to health, but are fraudulent in a pecuniary sense; but when the flesh of diseased animals and substances which have undergone putrefactive decomposition can be doctored up and preserved by the addition of such agents as formaldehyde, it is time that the public should demand some restrictive measures.