This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
The Esquimaux bury the flesh of animals killed for food until it is putrid (so it is said, but would not the earth deodorise, and keep it sweet?); and the Zulus, whose synonym for heaven is, according to Dr. Colenso, "Maggot's meat," follow suit. "Of course," adds Dr. K. Chambers, "rather than die of starvation, or be reduced to the straits suffered by King Hezekiah's army, one would acquire such a habit, and invent a sauce to make it tolerable: but it is not worth while to do this in civilised society".
A few words may well be said here with regard to the food preservatives of the present day, which are used (in some cases much to the detriment of the. consumer's health), for preventing game, fish, meat, milk, and other perishable foods from betraying staleness, or putridity, when kept too long on hand, because still unsold whilst yet wholesome, and proper for eating. It should be generally known that most of these preservatives are poisonous if employed on provisions for the kitchen to any extent. And certainly it is high time that some supervision of our meats, and drinks, in this respect should be adequately entrusted to the competent cook, or the doctor, for the public safety and protection; because of a fully enlightened knowledge on their parts of the risks incurred, and the injuries inflicted by such mischievous mal-practices, concerning the dangerous results of which the legislature is at length becoming actively cognisant. In former times it was the custom, we are told, about Italy and Venice to employ a scalco, who had the honour and life of his master in his hands; his life, because it was then not uncommon to put poison into the food of enemies in politics, or rivals in love: so that the cook held in those days a most important, and vital position, when great persons lived in constant fear of being done to death by poisoned meals.
Equally important is it now-a-days that an authorised inspection of perishable food-commodities shall be the duty of competent disinterested officials, whenever they may think proper, for the welfare, and safety of a community.