Amount of water in margarine

1902 The Analyst  
This was an appeal by way of case stated from a decision of justices convicting the appellant company, under Section 6 of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875, of selling margarine not of the nature, substance, and quality demanded by the purchaser. The facts were as follows: On December 9, 1901, the appellants exposed for sale at their shop at Rushden, Northamptonshire, a substance labelled margarine and ticketed for sale at 6d. per pound. The respondent entered the shop and called for 1 pound
more » ... called for 1 pound of margarine, to be supplied out of the margarine so exposed for sale, and he was served with 1 pound of the substance, for which he paid 6d. The formalities required by the Act were carried out, and the substance was duly analysed. I t was admitted that the appellants had complied with all the requirements of the law as to labelling and selling the substance sold as margarine. The analyst's certificate stated that the sample contained the percentage of foreign ingredients as follows: " Water, 21 per cent. (and this was at least 5 per cent. in wcess of the amount of water which margarine should contain.)" I t was objected on behalf of the appellants that the words in brackets were no proper part of the analyst's certificate, but were a mere expression of opinion, which was in no way receivable in evidence. I t was stated by the analyst, who was called as a witness for the respondent on the requisition of the appellant, that the average percentage of water contained in margarine was from 8 to 10 per cent., so that, in stating in his certificate that this sample contained at least 5 per cent. in excess of the maximum amount which should be present in margarine, he was dealing with the margarine leniently and allowing the same maximum as is allowed in butter-namely, 16 per cent. ; that margarine, in his experience, should contain rather less moisture than butter ; that well-made butter contains 10 to 12 per cent. of water on an average ; that the principle or valuable constituent of butter was fat, of which the percentage should be from SO to 85 ; that the only valuable constituent of margarine was also fat, of which it should contain at least 85 per cent. ; that this particular sample contained only 70 per cent. of fat, so that what was lacking in fat was made up in water and salts ; that margarine was made from various fats, either animal or vegetable-it was usually made from the more liquid portions of animal fat mixed with various vegetable fats; that margarine should, in his opinion, imitate butter, not only in appearance, but also in its constituent elements. I t was admitted that there was nothing in the substance sold injurious to health, and that margarine was sold at times in the district for as much as 8d. to 1Od. per pound, and for as little as 4d. per pound, so that 6d. per pound was the price of a comparatively cheap quality of margarine. I t was admitted by the two witnesses of the respondent that the sample sold was in outward appearance an imitation of butter. No evidence was given on the part of the appellants, but it was contended by counsel for the appellants on the above facts that the appellants had committed no offence in point of law, because (1) the term " margarine " was not a conventional term or one affixed by usage to any substance, but was a statutory term affixed by the Margarine Act, 1887, to all substances, whether compounds or otherwise, prepared in imitation of butter, and that the substance then in question being prepared in imitation of butter was rightly sold as margarine, and was, therefore, of the nature and substance demanded by the purchaser ; (2) the quality of the substance supplied was that demanded by the purchaser, being the margarine at 6d. per pound then exhibited for sale in the appellants' shop at Kushden ; (3) the Legislature had not
doi:10.1039/an9022700169 fatcat:wbkptzxf7vfzpeweckwt2vcnfm