The need for protection by food laws can be seen against the background of history. Adulteration of food, which is an offense against both the purchaser and other traders, has been practiced ever since the development of commerce made it profitable. In older times bread and flour were mixed with sand, tea with dust, copper salts have been used to colour green pickles and sulphuric acid to intensify inferior vinegar, Coffee, spices and curry powder have all been extended by worthless ingredients, In 1860 it was said in England that the only food which could be bought unadulterated was an egg and that was only because there was no practicable method for introducing a foreign substance into the egg.
Therefore, from the earliest times, trying to prevent their citizens from being poisoned or swindled by unscrupulous food manufacturers and traders, governments have passed all sorts of food laws. At the beginning food laws were designed quite simply to stop the sale of food which was injurious to health and which had been adulterated.
As society developed, however, to prevent descriptions that could mislead the consumer, it became necessary to extend food laws by issuing standards of identity as well as labeling regulations. At present, modern food laws require extensive consumer information such as listing of ingredients, nutritional value and date marking.