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The Food Inspector Vs. S. Raman and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1978CriLJ1845
AppellantThe Food Inspector
RespondentS. Raman and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 25, after saying 'there is no good way to demark the old eastern tropical spices from the seasonings and condiments used the world over' it is stated:.....dictionary meaning of the word 'spice' is any aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavour food. in the new revised edition, 1973, of chamber's encyclopaedia, volume 13, spices are mentioned as owing their aroma and pungency chiefly to essential oils which they contain and, to preserve these, it is said, spices should be freshly ground and stored in tins or boxes. spices are yielded by different parts of plants. it is also said there:arabia was regarded as the land of spices but many came also from india and the east indies.spices added variety to a limited diet and were invaluable in the preservation and seasoning of meat, as lack of winter feeding-stuffs made fresh meat scarce. it was the interruption of supplies of spices by the turkish expansion in the levant that.....
Judgment:

Narayana Pillai, J.

1. Coriander powder is commonly used in the preparation of food. It is available here in almost all grocery shops. When used it gives added relish and flavour to food. The controversy here is whether it is spice or not. It has arisen in a prosecution under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Coriander powder involved here was found to be adulterated. But the acquittal from which this appeal has arisen was on the ground that coriander powder was not 'spice' coming under Rule 22 (17) but was 'other food' coming under Rule 22(37) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, and so the sample sent for analysis did not contain the minimum approximate quantity of 200 grams necessary for proper analysis. If it is 'spice' then the minimum approximate quantity necessary for proper analysis is only 150 grams and it is not disputed here that the sample sent in the instant case satisfies that requirement. Coriander powder comes in A.05.08.01 in A.05 under the heading 'spices and condiments' in Appendix B in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules. The ordinary dictionary meaning of the word 'spice' is any aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavour food. In the new Revised Edition, 1973, of Chamber's Encyclopaedia, Volume 13, spices are mentioned as owing their aroma and pungency chiefly to essential oils which they contain and, to preserve these, it is said, spices should be freshly ground and stored in tins or boxes. Spices are yielded by different parts of plants. It is also said there:

Arabia was regarded as the land of spices but many came also from India and the East Indies.

Spices added variety to a limited diet and were invaluable in the preservation and seasoning of meat, as lack of winter feeding-stuffs made fresh meat scarce. It was the interruption of supplies of spices by the Turkish expansion in the Levant that stimulated the great voyages of discovery by Vasco de Gama, Columbus and others, in search of an ocean route to the east. The mediaeval spicer, or pepperer, was, of course, the forerunner of the modern grocer ...

The modern sources of supply are principally India, Ceylon, East and West Africa, Indonesia, the West Indies and China. Today spices are used especially in pickles, chutney, sausages, cakes, bread and in alcoholic drinks including gin, and various liquors and aperitifs.

2. In the International Edition, 1970, of the Encyclopaedia Americana, Vol. 25, after saying 'There is no good way to demark the old Eastern tropical spices from the seasonings and condiments used the world over' it is stated:

Hence one may add to the list of natural spices still in use such flavourings as .... coriander, .... and others.

So 'coriander' is included there in the category of 'spices'. In the Random House Dictionary 'condiment' is said to mean something used to give a special or additional flavour to food as a mustard, a salt, or spices. So spices can be condiments. But from the mere fact that a spice is a condiment it cannot cease to be a spice. So all spices, whether they are condiments or not, come under Rule 22(17). Coriander powder is spice coming under Rule 22(17). Hence this appeal is disposed of by setting aside the acquittal of the respondents and sending the case back to the trial court for fresh disposal in the light of the observations made above.


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