chapter  7
36 Pages

Policing the Natural

Public health represented one aspect of the running repairs that modernity required. Official reports, amateur surveys, health statistics, and the evidence of the nose, all seemed to point ineluctably to the need for intervention. this was resented by those who were called upon to pay, but hygienism gradually acquired supporters, theories and plans of action with a collective moral and practical force that resembled the climate change movement today. and the challenge of cleaning Victorian cities seemed to be just as great as global warming. the state of the food system was just one strand within this broader movement, and its priority was certainly less than those of housing, drains and sewers. as a starting point for debate, the dimensions of adulteration were thought to be as follows:

• the addition of some foreign substance or inferior value but possessing plausible resemblance to the food itself;21

• the removal from the food in part of some valuable natural constituent; • the addition, without the knowledge of the purchaser, of some foreign

matter producing or preventing changes in the natural food.