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UTAH (SALT LAKE CITY).
State dairy and food department: Heber C. Smith, commissioner; Herman Harms, State chemist.
State board of health : Dr. Chas. S. Caverly, president, Rutlanu; Dr. Henry D. Holton, Brattleboro; Dr. B. H. Stone, director of laboratory, Burlington.
State dairy and food commission : Benj. L. Purcell, commissioner; Peyton Rowe, deputy commissioner ; Dr. E. W. Magruder, chemist.
State dairy and food commission: J. J. Higgins, commissioner; W. H. Adams, deputy commissioner, Spokane; L. W. Hanson, deputy instructor.
WEST VIRGINIA (WHEELING).
State department of health.
State dairy and food commission: Geo. J. Weigle, commissioner; H. Kleuter, chemist.
Dairy, food, and oil department: Maurice Groshen, commissioner; G. W. Brower, deputy commissioner ; R. B. Moudy, M. S., State chemist.
BRIEF SUBMITTED BY JOHN LIND, EDWARD S. ROGERS, AND FRANCIS M. PHELPS
ON BEHALF OF MILLERS AND BAKERS.
SUGGESTIONS WHY THE PURE-FOOD LAW SHOULD NOT BE AMENDED SO AS TO LEGALIZE
THE ADULTERATION OF FLOUR, AND WHY THE ACT TAXING MIXED FLOUR SHOULD NOT BE REPEALED, AS PROPOSED BY THE RAINEY BILL (H. R. 9409).
The measure which is under consideration is a means by which the seven producers of all the cornstarch in the United States expect to dilute the flo supply of the country.
Among the advocates of the bill is the Corn Products Refining Co., now being prosecuted by the Government as a monopoly under the antitrust laws.
There are many reasons, ethical and economic, why this bill should not pass. The main objection to it is that it legalizes fraud.
THE PURPOSE OF THE RAINEY BILL.
It is proposed by this measure to repeal the mixed-flour law and to amend the food and drugs act by relaxing certain of its provisions with respect to the adulteration and misbranding of flour and specifically excepting flour when adulterated with cornstarch from its operation.
THE PRESENT LAW.
The act sought to be repealed provides :
“ That for the purposes of this act the words 'mixed flour'shall be taken and construed to mean the food product resulting from the grinding or mixing together of wheat, or wheat flour, as the principal constituent in quantity, with
1 Hearings before the committee of the Sixty-third Congress, page 3 (the only other cornstarch manufacturer is the American Maize Co., which is owned by the Royal Baking Powder Co.)
any other grain, or the product of any other grain, or other material, except such material, and not the product of any grain, as is commonly used for baking purposes: Provided, That when the product resulting from the grinding or mixing together of wheat or wheat flour with any other grain, or the produet of any other grain, of which wheat or wheat flour is not the principal constituent as specified in the foregoing definition, is intended for sale, or is sold or offered for sale as wheat flour, such product shall be held to be mixed flour within the meaning of this act."
Makers and packers of mixed flour are required to pay a special tax of $12 a year and a stamp tax of 4 cents is levied on each barrel. All packages are required to be plainly marked and the manufacture, mixing, and sale are directly and completely under Government control.
Being a revenue act, the whole industry is in charge of the Department of Internal Revenue, and is conducted under the supervision of that department.
THE ABUSES AT WHICH THE MIXED-FLOUR LAW WAS AIMED.
It was stated in the report of the Committee on Ways and Means of the Fifty-fifth Congress, reporting the bill which became the mixed-flour law, that
“ The evils growing out of the business of mixing with wheat flour the refuse starch of the glucose factories, or ground lay or rock, are so enormous, so far reaching, so dangerous to the public health, and so injurious to legitimate trade, commerce, and industry, that Congress should promptly apply an appropriate and effective remedy, a remedy that will not alone require those engaged in the business of adulterating flour to brand their product and sell it for what it is, thereby protecting the consumer, but a remedy that will also require these parties to contribute to the support of the Government by the payment of a tax upon the sale of their product, thereby insuring the enforcement of the law by the agents of the Government charged with the duty of collecting its revenue. This is all that the accompanying bill proposes. It requires the producers of mixed flour to brand their product, specifying the ingredients used in its manufacture, and at the same time the bill seeks to raise revenue for the Government-at a time, too, when more revenue is needed—thus affording to all classes protection against this fraud and possible disease. It proposes to suppress false pretenses and to promote fair dealing in the manufacture and sale of an article of food universally consumed. It will compel the sale of mixed flour for what it really is by preventing its sale for what it is not."
The complete report is attached hereto as Appendix I, together with Document 309, being the report of February 11, 1898, of the then Secretary of Agriculture on the adulteration of wheat flour.
THE PRESENT LAW EFFECTUALLY PREVENTS ADULTERATION.
This act has been on the statute books for nearly 18 years, and has effectually prevented the adulteration of flour. This is conceded by everyone.
In the letter of August 3, 1914, from Hon. B. R. Newton, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, to Hon. Henry T. Rainey (Hearing on mixed-flour bills, Feb. 18, 1915, Appendix B), he said :
“ The Commissioner of Internal Revenue informs me that the original law defining mixed flour and imposing the tax upon the product and special taxes upon manufacturers, packers, and repackers was embodied in the war-revenue act of June 13, 1898, and, while passed as a revenue measure, it was evidently intended to prevent the adulteration of wheat flour, as commonly known to the trade and public, which object seems to have been fully attained.
It is now proposed to repeal this concededly effective statute, to amend the food and drugs act to except adulterated flour from its operation, and to legalize its sale under certain unenforcible and specious conditions. This measure should be defeated if for no other reason than this-it is an attempt to substitute for demonstrated efficiency an untried experiment.
That the mixing of cornstarch with flour constitutes adulteration can not be doubted. It is, in the language of section 7 of the food and drugs act, the mixing and packing with flour a substance which reduces, lowers, or injuriously affects its quality or strength.'
1 The dilution of flour with corn products is a well-recognized form of adulteration. See Hutchinson's Food and Dietetics (William Wood & Co., New York, 1914); The Chemistry of Iread Making, by James Grant. London (Edward Arnold, 1912, p. 117) ; Foods and Their Adulteration, by Harvey W. Wiley (second edition, Philadelphia, P. Blakiston's Sons & Co., 1911); Allen's Commercial Organic Analysis (vol. 1, p. 447).
The form of adulteration practiced by the admixture of corn flour or cornstarch to wheat flour is peculiarly dangerous on account of the difficulty of detection. The Government regulations under the present mixed-flour law state: “For the exact detection of pure wheat flour from that mixed with corn flour or other material microscopical examination is necessary,” and it further appears from these regulations that it requires an objective of greater magnifying power to detect the adulteration than that used on the ordinary internalrevenue microscope.
THE OBJECTIONS TO THE RAINEY BILL.
The objections to the proposal to repeal the mixed-flour law and amend the pure-food act are stated in a letter from the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture to Senator Kenyon, better perhaps than we can express them. Mr. Vrooman says:
“In answer to your letter of February 13, inclosing a letter and copy of telegram dated February 9, from J. C. Hubinger Bros. Co., Keokuk, Iowa, asking for full information as to the workings of the bill for the repeal of the mixedflour act, the following data is submitted :
“ The original mixed-flour law was passed in 1898 (30 Stat., 467) and amended by section 13, act of March 2, 1901 (31 Stat., 949), and further amended by act of April 12, 1902 (32 Stat., 99). Considerable study of the pros and cons of this question has been made, and the following is subwitted for your consideration.
"The act of 1898, imposing a tax on mixed four, was passed before there was a food and drugs act. While a revenue act, as I understand it, it was not passed primarily as a revenue measure, but as a regulatory measure. It never has produced much revenue and never was intended to produce such revenue. It was passed at the solicitation of pure-food advocates and of many members of millers' associations, who saw in mixed flour a grave danger to the high reputation of American flours and American millers. (See H. Doc. 309, 55th Cong., 2d sess.)
“Those who favor the repeal of the law state: (1) That in view of the fact that there is now a food and drugs act, the arguments which were used against mixed flours in 1897–98 do not apply with the same force; (2) that the manufacture of mixed flour would tend to lower the cost of bread, and hence lower the cost of living; (3) that the bread made from mixed flour would be fully as nutritious as the present pure wheat flour.
The opponents of the repeal of the law admit that the first contention is correct. The food and drugs act has a certain validity and regulatory efficacy, but at same time its regulatory powers are very limited, particularly in dealing with such products as flour, the label on the original packages of which the average consumer of bread never sees, and hence is in no position to pass any intelligent judgment upon. Moreover, it is urged that the mixed-flour act has the following advantages over the food and drugs act with regard to labeling:
Under the mixed-flour act the name of the manufacturer and the place of manufacture must appear upon the label of the package; the label must be printed in “plain black letters not less than 2 inches in length"; the in formation required upon the label on the outside of the package must also appear upon a card placed inside of the package; the minimum fine for the first offense is $250, whereas under the food and drugs act it may be any amount not to exceed $200; the mixed flour act prevents intrastate shipments as well as interstate shipments of misbranded flours; under the miserlflour act mixed flours exported to foreign countries must be labeled precisely as they are in this country, regardless of the laws of the countries to which they go. This appears to afford an important protection to our export trade. For these reasons it is urged that the prevention of fraud and deception in the labeling of mixed flours, should the regulation of the manufacture of this product come under the food and drugs act, would be more difficult than it is under the mixed-flour act.
As to the second contention of the advocates of the repeal, the opponents of the repeal say that while it seems clear that the manufacture of mixed flours would decrease the cost of flour to the producers, that it would reduce the cost of flour to the consumers to any considerable extent seems very problematical. The Department of Agriculture is confronted with this economic problem in various guises practically every day, and it has been made very clear during the past few years that a decrease in the price of the farmer's wheat does not by any means automatically translate itself into an equal decrease in the price paid by the consumer for his bread; and that a decrease in the price received by the farmer for his beef, hogs, and sheep does not by any means necessarily result in an equal decrease in the price paid by the consumer for his beet, pork, and mutton.
As to the third contention of the advocates of this measure, that bread made from mixed flour would be fully as nutritious as pure wheat-flour bread, the opponents of the repeal recognize it to be perfectly true that mixtures containing corn meal, oatmeal, barley meal, kafir meal, soy-bean meal, or other similar mixtures in which there is added to wheat flour similar substances containing considerable amounts of protein, mineral matter, fats, and other nutritive constituents, would yield bread of much the same composition as wheat bread. It is not felt, however, that this would be true with regard to potato starch or other starches, since fine wheat flour, in the minds of many experts, already deficient in protein, mineral matter, vitamins, etc., rather than the reverse, and any increase in the percentage of starch in fine wheat flour would be merely making this condition worse.
I believe it is generally conceded that people who have a sufficiently large variety of foods from day to day are perfectly safe in eating any kind of wheat bread they prefer, since any deficiency in fine wheat flour would be made up by materials supplied by the other foods; but experts believe, further, that people who do not include in their dietary a sufficient variety of vegetables, fruits, milk, meat, eggs, etc., containing protein, mineral matters, etc., are better off when eating bread made from wheat flours which retain the greater proportion of the outer layers of the wheat kernel, or other flours or meals which have the proportion of these constituents relatively high as compared with starch. This is particularly true in the case of children, who need in their dietary protein, mineral matter, vitamins, etc., for growth as well as maintenance. It is further argued by the opponents of this measure that the repeal of the tax on mixed flour would jeopardize our export business. Section 2 of the food and drugs act of June 30, 1906, permits the exportation of mixed flour without supervision and regulation by the Government with regard to branding and labeling. Thus it would be quite possible, in case this tax were repealed, for certain foreign countries to import these mixed flours under the name of pure wheat flours until the discovery of the fraud. Such a practice would inevitably react against our export trade and do the milling industry in this country an irreparable injury.
Another strong argument registered against the repeal of this tax is the fact that it would throw an element of uncertainty into the situation and cause a confusion of mind that would be highly deplorable. Now our people are getting a pure wheat flour. They know what they are getting and they know what they are paying for. But in case of the removal of this tax, it is urged that it would be practically impossible for the Agricultural Department, with any machinery now under control, to give the people any assurances as to just what kind of flour they were getting. The inspectors of the Bureau of Chemistry are already overloaded with work and responsibility. To throw upon this corps of men the new labors and duties that would necessarily fall to their lot in case this tax should be removed would simply mean swamping them with more work than they could possibly take care of efficiently.
A very convincing argument urged against the repeal of this law is the fact that practically all the good that it is even claimed would be accomplished by the removal of this tax could be accomplished without the removal of the tax. In other words, there is at present no law or regulation to prevent the housewives and bakers of the country from buying cornstarch, corn flour, corn meal, oat meal, barley meal, etc., and mixing them, in the process of bread making, with higher priced wheat flours. The department got out a statement, for release on February 14, in which this matter was gone into in some detail. It is urged that when the housewives and the bakers mix cheaper and more nourishing materials with wheat flour they know exactly what they are getting. It is contended that if the millers are allowed to mix cornstarch with wheat flour the consumer will, in all probability, be required to pay the same price for the new mixed flour that he has paid for the unadulterated wheat flour, but that if the housewife and the baker do their own mixing they will only pay the actual cost of the various ingredients of the mixed flour. Moreover, it is urged that when the housewives and bakers do their own mixing they will know just what percentage of the flour is corn meal or cornstarch, whereas if the millers are allowed to mix the flour nobody but the millers will ever know
just what percentage of the flour is wheat and what percentage is of cheaper substances.
Perhaps the strongest argument that can be urged against the removal of the tax on mixed flour is that there are few evils that could be greater than for anything to happen that would create a serious doubt in the minds of our people as to the purity and nourishing qualities of the bread of the countryof the Nation's staff of life. The purity and nutritive value of this fundamental and all-important constituent of our national dietary should not only be assured but should be so thoroughly established as to be absolutely above suspicion,
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley before the committee stated far better than we can the objections to the Rainey bill from an economic, ethical, and dietetic standpoint. This admirable statement is printed at page 3.59.
THE PROPONENTS OF THE RAINEY BILL.
It is interesting to observe who are the proponents of this bill which is said to enable millers benevolently and without supervision to sell to the public adulterated flour. The millers are not advocating it. They are opposing it. The proponents of this legislation are not millers. They are the manufacturers of cornstarch, which is not salable as a bread-making product.
There are now no obstacles in the way of selling cornstarch as such. If it can be made salable on its own merits as a food product there is no reason why a campaign of public education should not be inaugurated by the producers of it to get the public to buy and use it.
The proponents of the Rainey bill indulge the gratuitous assumption that all adulterators of flour will always be guided by dietetic considerations. It is implied that they will do their mixing in the proportons best calculated to reproduce fiour; that the artificial or synthetic flour they advocate will always
i In Douglas & Co. r. Illinois Central R. R. Co. (I. C. C. Rpts., vol. 31, p. 591).
Mr. Commissioner Harlan discusses the processes employed in production of starch and other corn products and their uses, saying:
“ In producing starch at the complainant's plant the corn is first put in a sulphurous acid steep and a separation of the germ is then effected by milling. The bran is removed by a process or washing over shakers, and what remains is a solution of starch and gluten. This solution is passed over inclines and the starch settles while the gluten flows off. The starch is then kiln-dried and prepared for market. It is contended, therefore, that starch is not a manufactured article, but is an element in the corn which is separated from the other elements by the process described, and differs from the socalled corn products of the tariffs only in that the latter are produced by dry milling as opposed to the wet process used by the complainant in making starch."
“In milling corn to produce the products of the Quaker Oats Co. the shelled corn is first subjected to a mechanical process to remove the germ, and is then passed through several succeeding sets of rolls or grinders, after which it is screened to separate the different sizes. Different designations are given to the various sizes, as hominy, grits, corn meal, etc. The finest product of the grinding and separations is known as corn flour a used principally as a sausage filler and for dusting bakers' pans. Ordinarily corn flour is a by-product resulting from the grinding of corn for other purposes, and the record shows that the amount moved in transportation is small. Corn flour contains a little more gluten than starch, but it is said that the latter can not be dis. tinguished from corn flour by any difference in its appearance, and that in fact the two commodities are sometimes used for the same purposes. Starch is said to come in competition with corn flour, potato flour, and rice four, and there is also some evidence that it competes with brewers' grits. of the various forms of starch that known as pearl starch is used largely in the textile trade and by paper manufacturers. Powdered starch is the pulverized pearl grade and is used by baking powder manufacturers, chemical works, and in face powders. Corn starch in the powdered form is used also for various baking purposes and in the making of confectionery. The record shows that in actual analysis there is no difference in the starches and all are edible."
"A chemist of large experience in the trade has testified on behalf of the complainant as to the similarity between starch and the other products of corn, both in chemical analysis and in appearance. The only element to be considered under section 2, however, is that of carriage, and it appears conclusively that starch is a more expensive product and that its market price is much greater than that of the corn flour which it is said to resemble. While the process under which it is made does not result in a chemical change it is shown to be a very much more elaborate form of manufacture. It is shown also that there is a distinction in the grade of corn used by the Quaker Oats Co. from that which the complainant requires in its manufacturing processes, in that the former must have dry corn whereas the element of moisture is not important when the corn is manufactured into starch by the wet process employed by the complainant. It is worthy of note that in most instances corn Bour, which is the product relied upon by the complainant as a like traffic with starch, is but a by-product of the Quaker Oats Co.
“ Upon a full consideration of this matter we are of the opinion that starch does not constitute such like kind of traflic with corn meal, hominy, grits, brewers' grits, corn flour, and other uncooked product of corn as is contemplated under section 2 of the act, and that under this section no discrimination has been shown because of the withholding of the transit privilege from corn milled into starch."