Public Analysts are the highly skilled scientists who form the primary scientific base of the United Kingdom's public protection enforcement service where chemical analysis and related testing are appropriate. In Scotland Public Analysts are also responsible for microbiological examination of food.
The Badge of the Association, which is reproduced on the President's Chain of Office, has a design which is partly descriptive and partly symbolic, various motifs in its composition indicating or alluding to some of the more important duties of Public Analysts.
Two prominent features are the ears of corn in the right and the poppy head on the left, representing respectively a typical food and a valuable drug. The examination of foods and drugs may be said to be the raison d'être of the Public Analyst.
In the centre of the design is a mortar and pestle familiar as a device found in every laboratory from time immemorial. With the aid of the mortar and pestle the Analyst not only grinds his reagents the more easily to weigh them with precision, but comminutes many of his samples rendering them homogenous so the part may become more nearly typical of the whole.
The Sword of Justice alludes to the protection his labours are intended to afford alike to the all-trusting consumer and the honest vendor.
The open book may be a volume of "The Analyst", a Pharmacopoeia, a legal treatise, or a text book on chemistry. It may even be the Public Analyst's own records book. It may simply be regarded as providing a pictorial allusion to the learned nature of his profession, and its ever open state denotes the daily use he makes of that learning.
The pendant takes the form of a balance weight in reference to the quantitative aspect of his work. The significance and usefulness of the Analyst are dependent on their accuracy.
Since his duties embrace the use of gases, liquids and solids and since his search for the unknown extends into the earth itself, its constituents and its fruits, into the water lying or falling upon it and into the all pervading atmosphere, these three elements are fittingly depicted by blue representing the atmosphere which he searches for pollution, the silver the water of which he ensures purity for drinking purposes and the red the earth, the source and origin of most of his raw material. These three elements provide not only the colour for the design but variety and interest for the Analyst in his daily duties.
The circular shape of the badge alludes to the never ending character of his work which is directed towards the betterment and protection of his fellow creatures.