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Our objections to this bill are, briefly, unfair competition, discredit to the business, and the lowering of the quality of the food material. Mr. LIND. One moment. You did not state to the committee what your present position is.
Mr. SNYDER. My present position is, I am associated with the Russell Milling Co., of North Dakota, as chemist.
Mr. LIND. And how long have you been?
Mr. SNYDER. For the past eight years I have been associated with this company. My position in the university was prior to this time. There are certain facts that should be brought out at this point. First, I want to say that in the manufacture of cornstarch it is steeped in an acid bath; sulphurous acid is used in the plants of one of the companies that are represented in this little booklet; also that all starches are claimed to be the same and are called the same; furthermore, that cornstarch and corn flour are interchangeable, they are called by the same names and considered the same in the trade; that corn flour and cornstarch added for the adulteration of the flour; that it is considered and called by the manufacturers of starch as an adulterant of flour and as a diluent and as a filler: furthermore, that cornstarch can be made as cheaply by the wet process as corn flour.
I wish to submit here abstract of the record before the Interstate Commerce Commission, Docket No. 4923, Douglas & Co., complainant, v. Illinois Central Railroad Co. and others, defendants. We have here a certified copy of this abstract of the record from the secretary of the Interstate Commerce Commission, which gives the testimony of a number of individuals, principally Mr. Douglas, president of the Douglas & Co., and Dr. Gudeman, the chemist and expert, as to just how the corn products are manufactured and as to the cheapness of the product and as to many of the facts which are necessary for us to have in hand to discuss this subject thoroughly.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not want that all printed, do you?
Mr. SNYDER. I do not wish this all printed. I have marked just a few passages, and in fairness to everyone I would like to file it all, having simply printed the parts that are marked, some of which I wish to refer to.
Mr. RAINEY. How many pages have you marked?
Mr. LIND. About three pages.
Mr. SNYDER. Perhaps a little bit more. There are less than ten,
Mr. RAINEY. That is all right.
Mr. LANNEN. May we have access to that?
Mr. RAINEY. If you want to insert a few pages that you have marked, the committee will permit you to do it.
(The record referred to was filed with the committee, the marked passages therein being as follows:)
George B. Douglas, being duly sworn, testified as follows: * We buy shell corn. It runs through a cleaner and is taken from cars and put into bins for storage and from the storage bins it is taken to what is known as the acid-water steep, which is a solution of sulphurous acid in ordinary water. I don't remember the temperature of the water, but it is quite warm. The corn is kept in the steep about 60 hours.
The starch that goes into the laundries is edible, Laundry starch is not eaten, but I say it can be eaten.
but they don't eat it. You would pulverize it
in your own house if you wanted to, and then it is nothing but ordinary cornstarch in the form it is in the package. The starch which is used primarily for laundry purposes and recognized as a laundry article is exactly the same as what we eat in the powdered form, excepting it is simply in the lump form. Corn flour contains about 6 per cent gluten, and other than the inclusion of gluten I don't think there is any difference between corn flour and starch. I don't think you could tell the difference between corn flour and starch. There is no difference between corn flours I have seen and the starch we make. Our starch comes into competition with the starch made from potatoes for use in the textile industry. There are industries that prefer potato starch to cornstarch; it is used on the finer goods. There is a considerable quantity of potato starch manufactured in New England.
Edward Gudeman, being duly sworn, testified as follows: I am a chemical engineer and technical expert. I have at different times examined into the elements that are found in corn. Roughly speaking, a kernel of corn consists of the shell or bran, the germ or oil-bearing part, the gluten, and the starch, the latter element predominating. Figuring on dry corn, the percentage of starch as compared with the other elements will vary from say 70 to 85. I designed the plant of Douglas & Co., at Cedar Rapids, and am familiar with it. I helped install it. The sulphurous acid process is used, which is a wet process. The temperature maintained in the vats where the corn is first put varies with the different works or with the fancy of the superintendent. It will run from 110° to 135° F., depending on the time it is steeped. The lower temperature that is used, the longer time, and vice versa. Starch is an uncooked product. I am familiar with the corn products in the United States markets. There is cornstarch, corn flour, corn meal, various other starch products, such as dextrines, starch, gums, and then the other products belonging the the glucoses. The commodity known to the trade as brewers' grits is starch. It is really as pure a starch as can be obtained from the cereal direct. Hominy is a starch product obtained from the cereal. In high-grade hominy the percentage of starch will range from 88 to 94 per cent, based on dry substance.
The other elements in hominy consist of gluten, a small amount of fiber, and a small amount of fat. In high-grade corn flour you find the percentage of starch running about 88 to 94 per cent, based on dry substance. In some parts of the United States starch has been and is to-day being sold under the name of corn flour. There will be a difference of possibly 2 or 3 per cent in the amount of starch in the so-called pearl starch and brewers' grits. The highest grade of corn grits and the lowest grade of cornstarch will not vary over 1 to 2 per cent in starch contents. And when those percentages are present each can be used for the other for the same purposes. Pearl starch is used as an edible product, covering an ingredient of confectionery, used as starch in the household; it is used in the textile industry; it is used in the baking-powder industry and in making gums; also as a filler-very commonly used as a filler-and is a diluent in many substances.
Cornstarch is sold under the name-or was sold under the name of flour, for the purpose of being mixed with flour, and starch has been sold under the name of corn flour in the East in the textile mills. They call for corn flour and take corn starch and don't know any difference. In European countries the distinction between starch and corn flour is not made. There is very little corn flour or cornstarch manufactured in the European countries, and it is generally designated there by the broad term of starch, although the common starch is designated as starch flour. That is the German term; I refer to those countries-to Germany and England. In Mexico starch flour and starch are the same commodity and recognized as the same commodity. This also applies to Cuba. They are approximately the same as the corn flour that is sold in this country, with the exception of the gluten. The two commodities are interchangeable and the names are interchangeable. Pure starch will have a color a little different from the starch containing 6 per cent gluten. If corn flour is made from white corn you could not tell what the commodity was just by appearance.
In making starch the corn, irrespective of the kind whether it is white, yellow, or other color, is soaked in tanks containing a very mild solution of sulphurous acid. It is kept in the tanks with or without circulation of the water from 24 to 72 hours at a temperature ranging from 110° to 135° F. The excess water is drained off and the softened corn pressed through specially constructed mills that break it up without really grinding it. This mass is then placed in starch liquor, which is produced from the corn itself, and the fatty portion of
the corn, the germ, is floated off. The heavier material, being the germless corn, passes through other mills and is finally ground. This mass is passed over sieves which separate the fibrous material, bran, or shell of the corn, and the liquid portion passing through the sieve is allowed to flow over the inclined planes, designated as runs or tables, where the starch settles, the gluten and other impurities being carried away with the excess amount of water used. This starch is then dried and is the common cornstarch of commerce. There are various ways of drying it. The common way is to take the starch from the tables, break it up into smaller pieces, and put it through kilns at a comparatively low temperature, which varies, depending upon the time for drying, running from 90° up to 160° or 170° F.; in some cases they might go beyond that. The final drying may even be at 200° F. Other starch is air dried, the temperature in that case being just the atmospheric temperature and the time being materially increased. Starch as it comes from the kilns is the finished product; that is starch. It is not powdered starch.
In regard to cooked starch, it has a peculiar appearance under the microscope, and if starch is heated to a temperature above 160° F. in the presence of water these crystals or grains or granules are ruptured, and then you have a glutinous material, which is a cooked material. With the dry starch containing usually less than 25 per cent of moisture you can elevate the temperature to 212°, or even higher, and still not cook the product.
The process of making corn flour consists in taking corn and separating the bran by dry process, separating the germ by dry process, separating the gluten or flinty parts and grinding the remainder, which is the starch part. That is the common way of making corn flour. Corn flour is made by a purely dry process as against the starch made by wet process; that is the only difference between the two. That is, one is a dry mechanical process and the other is a wet mechanical process. My analysis of corn flour shows approximately 85 to 92 per cent of starch and 3 to 7 per cent of protein up to 1 per cent of fiber; up to 14 per cent of fat, based upon the dry substance in the corn flour.
You could not tell the difference between a low-grade cornstarch and a highgrade corn flour; you could not tell the difference by just looking at it, and it is very difficult to tell it in the laboratory.
When the cornstarch went up above the corn flour, the eastern manufacturers gave up our cornstarch and started using the corn flour, as they found that it worked nicely, and they are using it to-day. Personally I would let the price determine whether I would use cornstarch or corn flour.
If you take the highest purity of the corn flour manufactured by the dry process, you will have a small percentage of gluten; you can not take it all out. While if you take the lowest degree of cornstarch, there is a neutral zone which covers both products. When you get the best of the one, say the highest grade of starch and compare that with the lowest grade of corn flour, the difference is a great deal. But the process is absolutely the same and the commodities the same, except the one is the wet process and the other is the dry process, and that makes the only difference in the two commodities—one is the high grade and the other is the low grade.
I don't agree with Mr. Douglas that the cost of manufacture of corn flour is very much less than the manufacture of cornstarch. Nor do I think it would cost more to manufacture the dry product. I believe when you come to take the cost of manufacturing cornstarch and the cost of the manufacture of corn flour and compare them with the cost of the raw material, you have at least one very highly valuable product that you can separate by the wet process, if you give the benefit of that, and simply take your cornstarch in one case and corn flour in the other and give the cornstarch the benefit of the gluten feed and corn oil and separate and take that from the cost of the corn, you will find out that a hundred pounds of starch you manufacture does not cost you any more than the hundred pounds of corn flour you manufacture. One of the by-products is more valuable than the starch itself, and that is corn oil. Under the old process of making starch which required from 30 days to 6 or 8 weeks with some grades, it sold for 7 or 8 cents a pound, or about three or four times as much as the common starch. If you compare common starch with corn oil, you will find corn oil is worth very often two and one-half times as much. Corn oil is worth often as much as 73 cents a pound. Gluten, of course, if mixed with feed, is worth perhaps $25 a ton. Out of a bushel of corn you get approximately 3 per cent of its weight in corn oil by the wet process. It takes more machinery to do that and is more expensive than the corn flour by the dry process; but figuring in everything, I think there are bigger profits in the
cornstarch than in the corn flour business. Corn flour is not necessarily a by-product of the flour mill.
As far as edible products are concerned, anybody who uses corn meal or corn flour, as you say, gets a great deal better commodity from the standpoint of food value than if he buys cornstarch.
To a certain extent I am familiar with the cost of manufacturing cornstarch against corn flour. I have never manufactured corn flour myself personally. As a consulting expert I have. As a consulting expert I have recommended the manufacture of corn flour by the wet process, because I consider it cheaper than by the dry process. I know of one concern that is manufacturing to-day by the wet process. As a general rule the corn flour is not manufactured by the wet process because the millers are not advanced up to that point. I recommended it 8 or 10 years ago. One plant has followed my advice. The capacity for manufacturing corn flour and corn meal is very small and it takes very little capital to do it by the dry process. If you go into the wet process you have to have a large plant and much larger equipment is required.
The only difference between laundry starch, so-called, and edible starch is in the label. Specially prepared laundry starches may have added ingredients or may have gone through a chemical process. Confining myself to the common cornstarch, there is no difference. The Pearl starch used in the textile industry, if powdered, will be the edible starch. You take lump starch and powder it and it is the edible starch; there is absolutely no difference between the two.
R. L. McKellar being duly sworn testified as follows: * * * Prior to the building up of the cotton-mill industry in the South, the principal movement of the starch in carloads was for laundry purposes, but during the last 20 years the growth of the cotton-mill industry in the Southeast and the Carolinas has been almost phenomenal, which industry has created a large demand for starch for sizing, etc., and at the present time a majority of the movement is for cotton-mill purposes.
J. S. Brown, called in behalf of the defendant, and, being duly sworn, testified: * ** About the time of the last hearing I had a talk with W. H. Suffern, of Decatur, and later our freight agent asked him to write a letter giving, in his own way, the difference between starch and corn flour, and his letter of April 14, 1911, is here presented. Mr. Suffern has been engaged in the manufacture of corn products and reshipping of grain for something like 25 years, most of the time at Decatur. He is now a member of the firm of Suffern, Hunt & Co., which is at present manufacturing corn flour and shipping it, in a small way, to the South, principally to New Orleans and to Havana.
Mr. Suffern told me at the time that corn flour was a drug on the market probably seven or eight months in the year and the remainder of the time he had a trade for it largely in the South; that during the dull period it was used in mixing in with other feed; that when he had a surplus he would put a quantity of it in with the brewers' grits, but always found objection to it when the brewers discovered any great quantity of it in the grits; that he asked them why and they said it "balled " up their grits. I understood it was mixed with cattle feed, and I understand that is what the Quaker Oats Co. does with it now-use it in mixing their animal feed.
Benjamin H. O'Meara, having been duly sworn, testified as follows:
We make powdered starch, which is sold as corn flour, from flourine. We are making some now that is labeled that way on the label furnished us by the buyer for the Spanish-American 'market. We also have samples of powdered starch which is put up in New England, which is all labeled corn flour. It is absolutely powdered starch.
We manufacture the powdered starch which is sold for corn flour. Powdered starch is starch ground up. Corn flour is all starch that there is in the corn with a little gluten left in it. It is simply an impure starch to the extent of the gluten that is in it. Neither is there quite as much water extracted out of it as there is out of powdered starch. The American Cereal Co. manufacture corn flour. Also, the American Hominy Co. at Decatur. The corn flour produced by the American Cereal Co. is used to mix in with wheat flour and is used by baking powder men for a filler. It is used by confectioners and candy men and for food generally. Our so-called corn flour is used for all those purposes in addition to that for sizing yarn, both cotton and woolen. We experience competition in the sale of that in connection with the product called corn flour manufactured by the American Cereal Co. The price of corn flour
is just exactly the same as our stuff here, $1.20 per 100 pounds. We meet the competition right here for one place. We certainly meet it in foreign shipments. Take, for instance, the Illinois Central, their tariffs provide transit on corn flour at Decatur from all the State of Illinois practically, and also from Omaha and Council Bluffs to New Orleans, and some of this corn flour that we have sold is going to Havana. About one-half of our product is powdered starch. A great deal of it is used for eating purposes. I don't know the percentage, because we don't know the uses it is put to by the people to whom we seli. The better article is always affected by the poorer. Ours is pure starch. Theirs is impure starch. I don't know what percentage of the American Cereal Co.'s output is corn flour. My inquiries related to the product of the American Hominy Co. at Decatur, and I presume the American Cereal Co. manufactures a similar stuff and sell to similar people; but I don't know whether that is a fact. The American Hominy Co. is at Decatur and they manufacture corn flour. They do not manufacture pure starch.
One or two railroads on shipments east have accepted our pulverized starch as corn flour. It would be pretty hard for a station agent to say that a certain package contained powdered starch if he was told it was corn flour. Packages of starch are on the markets labeled as corn flour. I could not state why one is called corn flour and one cornstarch. They are both used for human food. I have answered several times that our starch was pure, but the corn flour is impure starch. That doesn't mean that it is an impure article. It is mixed with gluten, which is not impure. The gluten is left in.
I will briefly call your attention to a few things. First, on page 10 of this testimony, Mr. Douglas, who is president of the company, states in regard to the manufacture:
We buy shelled corn. It runs through a cleaner and is taken from cars and put into bins for storage, and from the storage bins is taken to what is known as the acid-water steep, which is a solution of sulphurous acid in ordinary water. I don't remember the temperature of the water, but it is quite warm.
Referring again to page 20, to the testimony of Dr. Edward Gudeman, he states:
I am a chemical engineer and technical expert. I have at different times examined into the elements that are found in corn. Roughly speaking, a kernel of corn consists of the shell, or bran; the germ, or oil-bearing part; the gluten; and the starch, the latter element predominating. Figuring in dry corn, the percentage of starch, as compared with the other elements, will vary from, say, 72 to 85. I designed the plant of Douglas & Co. at Cedar Rapids, and am familiar with it. I helped install it. The sulphurous-acid process is used, which is a wet process.
Mr. RAINEY. Are those the parts that you marked?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir; but I want to read two or three of them. Mr. RAINEY. We could get along faster if you would just let those be copied in.
Mr. SNYDER. I could not do that very well, because my argument is based so much upon these matters; and if I did not read them it would seem as if I had made statements and observations not based on actual sworn testimony of their own officers and of their own chemist.
Mr. RAINEY. You can put that in your statement and the committee can read that in the record. If you can get along without reading that, I wish you would.
Mr. LANNEN. We do not dispute that testimony at all, Mr. Chairman. There is no dispute about that. It has already been testified in this record that that is the way cornstarch is made.
Mr. SNYDER. There are some facts here that we really should put
Mr. LIND. The chairman stated you could put them in briefly.