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Adulteration in United Kingdom

Definition of Adulteration

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Adulteration :

The mixing of other substances with food. It is an offence of strict liability under the Food Act 1984 to sell any food containing a substance that would endanger health. It is also an offence to mix dangerous substances into food with the intention of selling the mixture.

Adulteration: consumers and class

The alteration of an article into something inferior, but not readily distinguishable in appearance, by the addition of cheaper materials. Legislation has endeavoured to provide, in many instances, but not always successfully, that the articles thus deteriorated should be marked out so distinctly that the unwary may be always able to escape the pitfall. Against this endeavour the maxims of Caviar Emptor and, with less ground, of Laissez Faire, are sometimes invoked. Occasionally even the spirit of class opposition (as when legislation against adulteration is promoted by producers whose interests are individually affected) is called up to hinder the prevention of the sale of something which, though confessedly not what it professes to be, is claimed to be a cheaper and as useful an article as that for which it is substituted. Professor Marshall observed (Inaugural Address, Co-operative congress, Ipswich, 1889), in speaking of adulteration, “That term is often used so as to include open and undisguised changes in the character of goods to suit the wants and the tastes of consumers. But you seem to me to have a clear duty : it is to explain to consumers what things are cheap and what things only appear to be cheap ; to give them for their money as high class goods as you can afford, and as much truthful information about them as you are able.[1]



  1. Robert Harry Inglis, Sir, Dictionary of Political Economy, Vol. 1, 1915

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Adulteration
  • Author: Agostino Von Hassell
  • Description: Definition of Adulteration In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Adulteration : The [...]

This entry was last updated: September 5, 2017


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