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VINEGARS. When alcohol is placed under favorable conditions it takes up oxygen from the air and is converted into acetic acid,—the acid that gives the sour taste to vinegar. Whatever the source of the vinegar, and however it is made, the acetic acid is the same.
Besides acetic acid, vinegar always contains more or less of other substances which vary widely with the source from which the vinegar was made. It is because of these foreign matters, characteristic of vinegar of the same kind, that it is possible for the chemist to quite readily distinguish one variety of vinegar from another. The sour taste of vinegar is due to its acetic acid, the other flavors are due to foreign matters in solution. The standards which have been adopted for Maine take these other foreign matters into account. The standards for vinegars * will be sent to anyone desiring them.
RESULT OF THE INSPECTION. Samples of vinegar were taken from the stock of retail dealers in several cities and large towns in the State in the months of September and October, 1906. These vinegars were examined for total acidity, volatile acids, total solids and ash. The nature of the solids and ash were not studied, except in a few special instances. For this reason it may be that an occasional sample of vinegar has been passed as a straight cider vinegar when it was adulterated. Ordinary adulterations would be detected by the methods employed by us. A skillful adulteration might have escaped detection.
The results of the analyses are given in the table on page 279.
While the inspector found the vinegar situation much better than it was a year ago, still the analyses shows that vinegars were on sale in the State that were not correctly branded. Correspondence has developed two things, great readiness on the part of the manufacturers and wholesalers to meet the requirements of the pure food law; and considerable misunderstanding as to the requirements and how they are to be met. With the present attitude of the trade, both wholesale and retail, there is little reason to doubt that as fast as the requirements of the pure food law are understood they will be very generally complied with.
* Bulletin 135 Maine Station page 249.
As the vinegar situation seemed to demand specific information relative to the requirements of the law, the enclosed circular, which is here reprinted in substance, was prepared for the wholesale trade to distribute among their customers.
Vinegar Defined. The word vinegar used alone always means pure apple cider vinegar without any additions and containing at least 4 per cent acetic acid.
The words Cider Vinegar by themselves always refer to pure apple cider vinegar as defined above.
Wine vinegar always means vinegar made from grape juice. There is practically no wine vinegar used in Maine. The so-called white wine vinegar is a distilled vinegar and not a wine vinegar.
Malt Vinegar is made from barley malt. Sugar Vinegar is made from cane sugar products and glucose vinegar from starch sugar.
The above are undistilled vinegars made by fermentation.
Distilled vinegar is the product of fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol from any source. Cider vinegar and distilled vinegar are the kinds most commonly used in Maine.
Vinegar of any kind must contain at least 4 per cent acetic acid to be up to the standard required by the pure food law.
The word pure cannot be legally used if a vinegar is not up to standard or contains any added foreign material.
In case a vinegar is colored by the addition of a solution of caramel (burnt sugar), the word "colored
colored” will be construed as covering that fact. If any other kind of coloring material be used, the kind and amount per gallon must be stated.
Branding Vinegar. Strictly pure apple cider vinegar containing not less than 4 per cent acetic acid does not require a label. All other kinds of vinegar must be "plainly labeled, branded or tagged so as to show the exact character thereof."
In order to be “plainly" branded the letters, if stencilled, should not be less than 34 of an inch high, and applied with a waterproof ink to a clean painted surface. A printed label could be made up of somewhat smaller letters.
In case an apple cider vinegar carries any addition or is below strength it must be so labeled. For instance if the vinegar was considered too light in color and caramel (burnt sugar) is added the label must state this fact, e. g.“ Apple Cider Vinegar, Colored ” would be all right. If it is below 4 per cent acetic acid the label must state this fact, e. g. “ Apple Cider Vinegar, 372 per cent acetic acid.” The word pure cannot be used even if the vinegar is made from cider and is below the standard (4) per cent or is colored.
An uncolored distilled vinegar may be labeled grain vinegar, spirit vinegar, distilled vinegar, white vinegar or pickling vinegar.
A colored distilled vinegar may be labeled as above but the word colored must appear, e. g. Grain vinegar, colored, Colored distilled vinegar, etc. If
any kind of vinegar carries less than 4 per cent acetic acid, that fact must be stated, e. g. White distilled vinegar 3 per cent acetic acid, or Colored grain vinegar 3 per cent acetic acid, etc.
A distilled vinegar up to the standard strength and not colored may, be labeled pure, thus Pure grain vinegar is in accord with the law.
An artificially colored vinegar cannot be labeled pure. Retailers must so place the barrel from which they are selling that the brand can be readily seen and read.
If customers will take pains to read the brand upon the package they will know much better what kind of vinegar they are using
While not required by the law, it is desirable that the name of the manufacturer or jobber be stated.
Description and results of analyses of samples of different kinds
of vinegars collected in Maine in the fall of 1906.
R. E. Hovey & Co., Bangor
A poorly made straight cider vinegar.. | 25
A poorly made straight cider vinegar... 25
*When two names are given, the first is that of the manufacturer.