Fish sauce

Poisonous Anchovy Sauce

Several samples which we have examined of this fish sauce have been found contaminated with lead.

The mode of preparation of this fish sauce, consists in rubbing down the broken anchovy in a mortar: and this triturated mass, being of a dark brown colour, receives, without much risk of detection, a certain quantity of Venetian red, added for the purpose of colouring it, which, if genuine, is an innocent colouring substance; but instances have occurred of this pigment having been adulterated with orange lead, which is nothing else than a better kind of minium, or red oxide of lead. The fraud may be detected, as stated p. 229 .

The conscientious oilmen, less anxious with respect to colour, substitute for this poison the more harmless pigment, called Armenian bole.

The following recipe for making this fish sauce is copied from Gray's Supplement to the Pharmacopœias, p. 241.

"Anchovies, 2 lbs. to 4 lbs. and a half; pulp through a fine hair sieve; boil the bones with common salt, 7 oz. in water 6 lbs.; strain; add flour 7 oz. and the pulp of the fish; boil; pass the whole through the sieve; colour with Venetian red to your fancy. It should produce one gallon."