From The Illustrated London Newsfor January 17, 1852


The examination of the "preserved" meats for the Navy has been resumed this week at the Clarence Victualling-yard, Portsmouth, by the board of examiners appointed by the Admiralty, and with the same results as last week.

The following proceedings of Tuesday may serve as an instance of what was brought to light on each day's investigation. Eighteen cases, each containing from 10 lb. to 10 1/2 lb., were opened before one was found containing food fit for human sustenance. The following reports were made in reference to some of the cases opened, and these applied, with some unimportant variations, to the great majority of those condemned as "bad:" -- "5 1/4 lb. of heart, tongue, and garbage (the whole being in a putrid state); "ligaments and tendons;" "a whole kidney perfectly putrid;" "a mass of pulp" (this description was given of numbers of cases); "putrid--quite green;" "3 lb. of heart and half a pound of tendon;" "one half tongue, palate, and tendon -- all putrid" (this was also a frequent description); "lumps of tallow, each a half a pound weight;" "a whole kidney, with tongue, palate, and tendon -- all putrid;" "roots of tongue and large quantities of coagulated blood!" "putrid, one mass of corruption;" "bad -- quantities of offal;" "tongue" (this was certainly not a bullock's -- it was considered to be either a sheep's or a dog's tongue);" "tallow, an entire tongue quite rotten, and garbage" (in this canister there was not a quarter of a pound of beef); "putrid tongue and palate, and 1 lb. of ligament;" "all tongue in a frightfully putrid state"

The large quantity of of 306 canisters was opened on Tuesday, averaging full 10 lb. weight each, and the following were the practical results arrived at:

The larger quantity was taken out to Spitalhead and thrown into the sea, and the remainder given to the poor.

In many of the cases is appeared that the putridity had arisen from the atmosphere not being thoroughly expelled previously to the meat being put in, whilst in others there were indications of the animal either having died from disease, or of its having been slaughtered in a very ineffecient manner . . . the stench arising from the examination of such a mass of putridity was so great, that it was impossible for the officials to carry out their duty without frequent and copious supplies of chloride of lime to the floor. Now and then a canister would emit such an odious stench as to cause all operations to be suspended for some minutes, and one was so overpowering that the examiners and their assistants had to beat a hasty retreat from the room . . .

[N.B. that the "atmosphere [had] not [been] thoroughly expelled" rules out botulism, as the bacterium which secretes the botulin toxin cannot survive in air]