Regulatory Control of Food Composition, Quality, and Safety

  • John M. deMan
Part of the Food Science Text Series book series (FSTS)


Attempts at regulating the composition of foods go back to the Middle Ages. Primarily restricted to certain food items such as bread or beer, these ancient regulations were intended to protect the consumer from fraudulent practices. The original Bavarian beer purity law dating from the Middle Ages is still quoted today to indicate that nothing but water, malt, yeast, and hops have been used in the production of beer. The foundations for many of our modern food laws were laid in the last quarter of the 19th century. Increasing urbanization and industrialization meant that many people had less control over the food that had to be brought into the urban centers. Foodstuffs were deliberately contaminated to increase bulk or improve appearance. Chalk was mixed with flour, and various metal salts were added to improve color (Reilly 1991). Some of these added substances were highly toxic. One practice leading to disastrous results was the distillation of rum in stills constructed of lead.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. deMan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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