Thomas Turner sold meat the London Central Meat Market (which opened at Smithfield in 1875). At least he called it meat but several of his customers clearly begged to differ and complained to the City of London authorities.
James Newman, a City meat inspector, decided to investigate. He went along to Smithfield to buy some of Turner’s bacon. The butcher offered him 6lb which Newman bought and examined. It was rotten; ‘in a putrid state, and unfit for human food’, the inspector reported.
The case came before the sitting alderman magistrate at Guildhall brought by the City solicitor, and Turner grumbled that had he known his mystery shopper was a market inspector he wouldn’t have tried to sell to him. He added that he didn’t know the meat was bad.
This was far from a defense of course, and the court heard that Turner was regularly in the habit of selling bacon for 4-5d a pound that might endanger the health of anyone eating it. I suppose it is reminder of how ‘clean’ the food industry is by comparison today (despite our scares about horse meat in Tesco burgers and salmonella in the 90s).
Turner was fined £10 plus cost for his transgression and presumably his card was well and truly marked for the future.
[from The Morning Post, Wednesday, September 06, 1876]