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only under permits granted by the board. So long as no charge is made for these permits the board may revoke them at any time without resorting to the courts. Violations of the sanitary code may be punished either by criminal prosecution or civil suit. The policy has been to bring criminal prosecution in all cases of actual adulteration.
Recent Developments in Food Control Official grades and standards, market news, and shippingpoint inspection. The standards established for the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act are essentially official definitions with or without numerical limits of composition for guidance in determining adulteration. They can therefore define only that minimum of quality or food value which permits of the article being considered free from adulteration. In addition to such minimum standards there is much advantage in the grading and standardizing of foods according to degree of excellence. For some foods trade practices have done this to a greater or less extent, and in the case of milk a group of authorities from different parts of the country have voluntarily agreed upon standards for grades “A” and “B,” as will be described in Chapter III.
The Federal Government has also undertaken a comprehensive program of standardization of important farm products.
The United States Grain-Standards Act authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to investigate the handling and grading of grain, establish official standards, license grain inspectors, and otherwise administer its provisions. All shipments by grade in interstate or foreign commerce must either be inspected by a licensed inspector at the point of shipment, during transit, or at the point of delivery, or, if there are no inspection facilities available, may be marketed uninspected but subject to the right of either party to the transaction to refer any dispute as to the grade to the Secretary of Agriculture for his determination. An appeal to the Secretary may also be taken as to the true grade of grain which has been inspected. The findings of the Secretary in cases of dispute and appeals are made prima facie evidence in court proceedings.
The certifying of an official grade on shipments subject to Federal supervision is restricted to inspectors holding Federal licenses. These licenses are to be issued to
persons authorized to inspect and grade grain under state laws, or may be issued to any competent and disinterested person, and may be suspended or revoked for cause. A complete system of records and reports is required of inspectors, and penalties are provided for false grading, interference with officials, and other violations of the act.
The legislation is designed to facilitate the use of more uniform grades in handling grain, thus simplifying the relations between the producer, dealer, and consumer. Since the final decision as to the grade of a shipment rests with the Department, it is also expected that the grower may more readily obtain higher returns for a product of superior merit, thus supplying him with a financial incentive to improve its quality.
Similar grading of other products is also contemplated or in progress. In his report for the year ending 1922, the Secretary of Agriculture writes:
“The necessity for establishing grades and standards for farm products of all kinds becomes increasingly evident. Clearly defined and generally accepted grades not only prevent innumerable irritations, annoyances, and abuses but help the farmer to produce to better purpose and with fuller understanding of market needs. In the case of many farm products acceptable and fairly well understood grades already have been established, such, for example, as the grain and cotton grades. For some time studies have been in progress with the hope of perfecting market classes and grades for livestock and dressed meats. This work has been carried on in connection with the market-reporting service, the tentative grades being used as the basis for the market reports. Numerous conferences have been held with producers and members of the trade, and recommendations and suggestions have been invited, so that when standards are adopted they will be suited to trade conditions. Illustrated bulletins describing the various classes and grades and defining terms are now in course of preparation. Manuscript for a bulletin on ‘Market Classes and Grades of Dressed Beef' is in the hands of the printer. Similar bulletins will be submitted soon dealing with grades of cattle, hogs, veal, lamb and mutton, and pork carcasses, and cuts and miscellaneous meat products.
"Up to the present time grades have been formulated and recommended for 14 of the more important fruits and vegetables. These grades have been brought to the attention of growers and dealers through demonstration work done in coöperation with State representatives and with organizations of growers. Assistance also is given to States in preparing and revising grades for a large number of products.
“Tentative standards ve been prepared for eggs, and attention is being given to the preparation of standards for live and dressed poultry.
“The demand for Federal inspection of farm products at points of shipment becomes more insistent. Applications for such inspection already have been received from at least 20 states. . . Some extensions of the market news service have been made through coöperative agreement with the states, whereby the latter pay the expenses involved. Insistent demands have come for a considerable extension of this service but have been denied because of lack of funds. It has been possible, however, to disseminate market information much more widely than heretofore through the use of the radio stations of the Post Office and Navy Departments.
"The volume of business handled by the office of Federal grain supervision during the past year surpassed by far that handled in any previous year. ... In addition to the handling of appeals on complaint of parties to commercial transactions, supervisors work in close contact with licensed inspectors, aiding them in inspection problems, and in applying the standards. A total of 175,896 supervision samples were handled during the year to check the work of the inspectors in order to secure correct and uniform application of the Federal standards."
Coöperation within the food industries. Many of the food industries are now strongly organized with associations, institutes, or councils representing the producers of a given type of food and working for the improvement and standardization of practice within the industry as well as to bring its products favorably and intelligently to the attention of the consuming public. The scientific work of such organizations is apparently only in its infancy, yet already important researches both in sanitary and in nutrition problems have been undertaken by them either in laboratories of their own or through grants for the support of research upon specified problems in universities or in special research laboratories.
Trend of interest in food problems through sanitation toward nutrition. To summarize recent progress it may be said that not only is the general food supply now efficiently policed from the sanitary standpoint, but to an even greater extent has the safety of our food been enhanced by the application of sanitary science in and by the food industries, largely under the constructive guidance of the United States Department of Agriculture and the state agricultural colleges and experiment stations on the one hand and the health authorities of our states and cities on the other. So effectively has the science of sanitation been applied in the production, handling, and inspection of food in recent years that in general the consumer may now safely assume that food products offered for sale will not contain anything directly deleterious to health.
At the same time that the development of sanitary science and of food legislation and inspection have largely relieved us from anxiety as to the safety of our food supply, the growth of our knowledge of nutrition has made it quite plain that a freely chosen food supply, adequate both to please the palate and to satisfy hunger, does not always meet all nutritive requirements so as to insure the full measure of health which each of us ought to enjoy. Thus the center of gravity of the problem of the relation of food to health has shifted from sanitation to nutrition.
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Health, Vol. 7, pages 960–961 (1917). BELL. Sale of Food and Drugs Act (British). DOWNING. Standard Containers for Fruits and Vegetables. United States
Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin 1196 (1921). DUNN. Pure Food and Drug Legal Manual. GRINDROD. Sanitary Control in the Manufacture of Foods and its Economic
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Food Poisoning and Its Prevention. American Food Journal, Vol. 17, No. 11, pages 15-16, 33–36 (1922).