An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

16011 entries, 14068 authors and 1941 subjects. Updated: June 19, 2024

ACCUM, Friedrich

1 entries
  • 1604.2

A treatise on the adulterations of food and culinary poisons: Exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, cream, confectionery, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cheese, olive oil, pickles and other articles employed in domestic economy; and methods of detecting them.

London: Longman, Hurst..., 1820.

One of the earliest exposures of food adulteration, written by a German chemist who spent most of his career in England. This sensational popular scientific work exposed established scandalous practices within the food processing industry, antagonizing London food manufacturers. The scandal was particularly sensational since it affected consumers of all economic classes. However, after a lawsuit was brought against him Accum left England, living out the rest of his life as a teacher at an industrial institution in Berlin.

"A thousand copies of A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons were sold within a month of its publication. A second run was printed in the same year, and a German translation was printed in Leipzig two years later. The book's cover shows that Accum was capable of using dramatic imagery to try to draw attention to his scientific knowledge. It featured a rectangular frame supporting a spider's web and surrounded by intertwined snakes. A spider lurks in the middle of the web over its prey, and a skull crowns the entire collection with a caption beneath it, taken from 2 Kings 4:40: 'There is death in the pot' " (Wikipedia article Friedrich Accum, accessed 9-2017).

Digital facsimile of the first edition from the Internet Archive at this link; of the second edition, with different title page, at this link.



Subjects: NUTRITION / DIET, PUBLIC HEALTH, TOXICOLOGY