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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Food and Drink Law

In 1202 King John of England proclaimed the first English food law, the Assize of Bread, which prohibited adulteration of bread with such ingredients as ground peas or bean.

The English Guild of Pepperers issued a decree in 1316 banning the moistening of cloves, ginger and saffron to make them heavier, as they were sold by weight.

Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria decreed in 1516 that beer can only be brewed from barley malt, hops and water. This was the world's first consumer protection law.

One of the consequences of the Industrial Revolution was that adulteration of food became big business. As a result the British Parliament passed the Adulteration of Food and Drink Act in 1860, the first food legislation law. This was designed to prevent the widespread practice of corrupting expensive foods with inexpensive substances. Examples were the addition of chalk to flour and the sweet tasting but poisonous lead acetate to sugar. Powdered bones were frequently found in ground pepper.

By 1986 European and American law both stipulated that each food item must show clearly each food additive or e number (except for flavourings) on the label or packet rather than just quoting “colorings or “preservatives” in the list of ingredients. 

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