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Apart from the systems of weights and measures the area of trading standards work with the longest history of regulation has been the composition and sale of food and drink.

The Assize of Bread and Ale of 1266 regulated the weight of the Farthing Loaf, and the quantity of a Penny of Ale according to the price of the ingredients. Bakers or Brewers who gave short measure could be fined, put in the pillory or flogged.

Over the following centuries, further legislation was enacted covering the selling of a wide variety of foodstuffs such as wine, cheese, fish, salt and tea. These acts covered the quantities products were to be sold in, and the measures to be used. Further acts covered the checking of equipment and weights used in trade transactions.

Legislation was also passed to ensure the quality of foodstuffs and outlaw adulteration. Unscrupulous producers and traders would add sawdust to bread dough, grease to coffee and even sulphuric acid to vinegar. Where adulteration resulted in widespread serious illness or even death the tradesmen could be executed.

By the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, mill owners were complaining their workers were performing badly due to the poor quality, adulterated food. This again led to legislation being passed throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Today the quality, weight and description of foodstuffs are covered by a wide range of laws. Trading Standards Officers inspect factories and retail outlets to ensure standards are maintained.



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Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Environment, Housing & Neighbourhood Dept, Public Protection Service, Davyfield Road Depot, Roman Road Industrial Estate, Blackburn, BB1 2LX
Telephone:  (Consumer Advice)  08454 040506   (Trader Advice)  (01254)
267677    Fax: (01254) 267672

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