Page images




to these authorities the witness refers to the statement of numerous physicians in New York City and Brooklyn, in the issues of the New York World of July 8 and 26, 1888. Memorial, 27; "Some Interesting Information.” 1-12.)

The New York World of July 26,1888, contained an article on this subject, with the head lines “6 Dynamite outdone. The dangerous combination of cream of tartar and soda.” The article consisted chiefly of interviews by a reporter with well-known physicians. The writer concluded that these physicians generally “ join in denouncing the much used Rochelle salts powders, which are to a great extent responsible for the kidney troubles and dyspepsia which afflict the American people.” The authorities quoted in this article are as follows: Dr. David A. Gorton; Dr. E. H. Bartley, chief chemist of the Brooklyn board of health; Dr. Frank A. West, professor of materia medica in the Long Island college hospital; Dr. W.H. Farrington, the house physician at the Astor House: Dr. William H. Dustman; Dr. W.J.Purcell, of the New York board of health; Dr. Moreau Morris, of the New York board of health: Dr. J. T. Nagle, chief of the New York bureau of vital statistics; Dr. Phillip E. Donlin, ex-deputy coroner of New York, and Dr. Robert L. Dickinson.

The general agreement among these physicians was that Rochelle salts, which are the

residuum left by the action of cream of tartar baking powders, are likely, if used regularly in moderate quantities, unduly to irritate the coating of the stomach and of the whole alimentary tract, acting as a laxative at first, but ultimately tending to cause constipation, and that less serious effects would be produced upon the kidneys.

The most detailed statement is that of Dr. E. H. Bartley, who says: Whenever cream of tartar is used in the kitchen it is changed chemically and becomes Rochelle salts. Rochelle salts are a cathartic, a medicine which so irritates the stomach and intestines that nature sets up an inflammation and a sickness to expel it from the system. This expulsion takes the form of cramps, diarrhea, and dysentery. Besides this the salt produces indigestion, dyspepsia, and constipation. Whenever there is a tendency to kidney disorders it aggravates them, and in many of these instances aids in starting the latent disease.

Each baking powder of this class prescribes an ounce of powder to a quart of flour. When this is baked it makes a 2-pound loaf, which contains one-half of an ounce of Rochelle salts. Well-to-do people eat on an average half a pound of bread, and working men 2 pounds per diem. The former, therefore, take into their system a quarter of an ounce, and the latter an ounce of Rochelle salts every day. The former certainly injure themselves, while the latter are ruining their systems. This probably is a powerful factor in causing the great mortality in sickness among working people.”

Dr. Frank A. West, professor of materia medica in the Long Island College Hospital, says that when Rochelle salts are introduced into the system in food they have to be eliminated either through the bowels or kidneys, and this would produce a highly irritating effect if kept up for any time.

Dr. Farrington, house physician of the Astor House, says that a baking powder which produces Rochelle salts would cause irritation of the intestinal canal, which, after a time, would cause obstinate constipation. The daily use of Rochelle salts for a considerable time would be likely to result in chronic dyspepsia, and would certainly injure the tissues as well as the mucous membrane.

Dr. David A. Gorton says that the daily consumption of Rochelle salts in ordinary food would in time produce a very injurious effect on the coatings of the tomach and bowels and on the kidneys. It would produce serious chronic dyspepsia

and chronic gastritis. Dr. Moreau Morris, of the New York board of health, says that Rochelle salts should never be used except by a physician's advice. Its continued use induces a very unhealthy condition of the stomach, and especially of the bowels, and finally produces constipation of an aggravated type.

Dr. W.J. Purcell, of the New York board of health, says that physicians seldom if ever use Rochelle salts to-day for laxative purposes, because if used persistently they produce an irritation of the bowels which becomes chronic, and which almost invariably results in serious and chronic constipation.

Dr. Robert L. Dickinson says that the effect upon children would undoubtedly be far more serious than upon adults, but even upon an adult the effect would be to produce diarrhea, colic, and a very much disordered condition of the stomach and bowels. “It would unquestionably produce a chronic gastric catarrh, if not gastritis. It would also affect the kidneys by increasing the amount of solid matter to be excreted by them. According to Bartholow, the best authority we have, the continued use of alkalis would produce the effect of a heart poison by lowering the blood pressure, the temperature, and the action of the heart. Such effects

are often seen in patients who have been actively treated for acute rheumatism by this very remedy.” (Memorial, 27, 38, 39; Some Interesting Information,” 14-17.)

F. All baking powders injurious.-Dr. WILEY, chief chemist of the Agricultural Department, is opposed to all baking powders of every description. He believes that the introduction of mineral matters of that kind into the food is injurious, even if one can not put his finger on a specific instance. What makes men grow old is the hardening of their arteries, due to a deposit of mineral matter; if the arteries can be kept elastic, one will live to a green old age. The reason so many men who live by their brains fall down at their desks is because the coatings of their arteries become encrusted. When a small artery in the brain becomes encrusted that is the end of one's activity. Physicians advise the avoidance of mineral matters as far as possible. (Senate Committee, 33, 34.)

In a quotation from an address by the Hon. LEVI WELLS, State dairy and purefood commissioner of Pennsylvania, before the national meeting of dairy and food commissioners at Chicago, October, 1899, it is declared that all baking powders are somewhat objectionable because of the salts which they leave in the food; whether the residuum be Rochelle salts, as in the cream of tartar baking powders, or whether it be something else, the result of an alum or an alum-phospate powder. (Memorial, 29, 30.)


A. General principles.—Dr. PENNIMAN says baking powders must be put in a separate class; they are not taken directly as a food or medicine, and he recalls no other instance in which a chemical process is introduced into everyone's kitchen to effect a certain chemical result. The only question is: Does it accomplish that result with due regard to the health of the consumer? (Senate Committee, 21.)

Dr. WILEY believes that alum is injurious, but he does not intend to be the judge of another man's diet. He is opposed to prohibitive legislation, and asks simply that all substances used in food be plainly marked on the label, to let each man judge for himself. In reply to a question froin Mr. Higgins, Dr. Wiley says he would approve a provision that in the case of baking powder the residuum left in the bread should be stated on the label. (Senate committee, 34.35.)

The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association declares that manufacturers of alum baking powders do not oppose honest, fair pure-food legislation, and are not in favor of any kind of fraud or deception. They do object to any legislation which is intended to benefit a rival industry at the expense of theirs, and which is promoted by manufactured testimony and by the opinions of scientific men which are not supported by experiments or facts. (Memorial, p. 42.)

B. Action of State legislatures.—The Richmond Chamber of Commerce declares it to be a striking proof of the weakness of the complaint against alum baking powders that the States of Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey have all refused to pass bills restricting their use. These States made careful investigations, while the one State that accepted the measure, Missouri, made no such investigation. A bill, which was an exact copy of the act passed by the Missouri legislature in 1899, was introduced into the legislature of Virginia in 1900. The committee of the Virginia senate to which the bill was referred and the Chamber of Commerce of Richmond each made an investigation and reached the conclusion that the proposed measure was unjust in its restrictions on the use of alum baking powders. Among the reasons set forth for this conclusion in the pamphlet of the chamber of commerce are these: That abundant testimony has been given before various bodies and in various publications that alum baking powder is not injurious to health; that the death rate in Richmond is lower since alum baking powder has been used than before; that the report of the Mason committee contained only ex parte evidence on this subject, and that alum baking powder is much cheaper than cream of tartar baking powder.

The chamber of commerce lays especial stress on the fact that the Missouri act had been passed without due consideration, and that after an extended trial in a test case a Missouri judge expressed the conviction that alum baking powder was harmless. (Pamphlet issued by Richmond Chamber of Commerce.)

C. Senate bill 3618.—The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association calls attention to the fact that Senate bill 3618, introduced March 15, 1900, makes it the duty of the Secretary of Agriculture to fix standards of food and to determine the wholesomeness of substances added to foods; his decision to fix the standards which the United States court must recognize. These provisions would put the alum baking powder industry at the mercy of the Secretary of Agriculture, who, though a perfectly reliable official, the memorial says, may be affected by

misleading statements and by an unfounded prejudice against alum baking powders. It is unjust that a great industry should be placed at the mercy of any one individual without even a chance of recourse to the courts. (Memorial, pp. 1, 2.)

Mr. HIGGINS states that the American Baking Powder Association heartily approves of correct pure-food legislation, and is not hostile to the principles of Senate bill 3618, but considers that section 7 is unwise in its provisions and would unjustly injure the alum baking powder industry. The association desires the standards and wholesomeness of baking powder to be decided in the courts, and not by the Secretary of Agriculture. If section 7 be retained, the association asks that baking powders be excluded from its provisions and made the subject of a separate provision. (Senate committee, 18.)

Mr. S. H. STEELE, vice-president of the General Chemical Company, says he is in full sympathy with pure-food legislation, but questions whether Congress can fairly discharge its duty by delegating to one man or set of men absolute power to establish what is or is not wholesome, as in section 7 of Senate bill 3618. Mr. Steele considers that this would be an unconstitutional delegation of the lawmaking power, and suggests that the clause providing for forfeiture of deleterious substances is a deprivation of property without due process of law. Aside from constitutional considerations, Mr. Steele says that it is contrary to the spirit of fairness and justice that one man should be empowered to determine what is a crime. He suggests an amendment making the conclusions of the Secretary of Agriculture admissible as evidence, with whatever weight the jury and court may see fit to assign them, but not conclusive. (Senate committee, 3, 4.)

Mr. UDELL objects to section 7 on the ground that it is not made compulsory upon the Secretary of Agriculture to accept the opinion of the 12 experts provided for, but that it still rests absolutely with him to decide. He says this bill is a direct assault upon the business of his company. (Senate committee, 11, 13.)

Mr. THOMPSON says the Americar. Baking Powder Association does not object to pure-food legislation for the benefit of the public health, but does object to being subjected to a few men who may have a theory, and, acting upon that theory, may destroy the alum baking powder business. The association desires a chance in the courts to have full testimony on both sides. (Senate committee, 28.)

Mr. EDWARDS also objects to the provision of Senate bill 3618 giving the Secretary of Agriculture power to declare whether alum baking powder is wholesome or not. Declaring it unwholesome, he says, would mean the irretrievable ruin of all the alum baking powder companies. Mr. Edwards considers the mode of selecting the commission of experts provided by the bill to be too vague. He asks that section 7 be stricken from the bill, or that baking powders be excepted. (Senate committee, 8–10.)

Mr. CHARLES E. JAQUES, of Chicago, a manufacturer of alum baking powder, says he is in favor of pure-food legislation, but sees the product he manufactures endangered by Senate bill 3618, particularly by section 7, because there is a prejudice throughout the country, created by advertising, against baking powders containing alum. On account of that prejudice he is very much opposed to leaving his future business career in the hands of a commission. The manufacturers have the right to go into court to state their case, and carry it up to the final court of appeals if necessary. (Senate committee, 27.)

Mr. COYNE asks that the inalienable right to earn an honest living be preserved, and that the courts and right of trial by jury remain open to the manufacturers of alum baking powder. (Senate committee, 26.)

Mr. Davis does not wish any commission or set of men to destroy his business because it is their opinion he is wrong. He objects to the Secretary of Agriculture having charge of the matter, because there is a prejudice built up in the public mind, which it is impossible to eradicate, that alum is unhealthful. He thinks a chemist is incapable of deciding; it is necessary to have physiologists who understand the channels of digestion. He believes it is incumbent on the United States Government to make a physiological examination of the materials available for baking powder. Mr. Davis says there are men in the South who manufacture baking powder containing 17 per cent of carbonic-acid gas, and there is a firm in Rhode Island which has come out recently with a baking powder containing 10 per cent of carbonic-acid gas, and presents logical arguments why 10 per cent is as desirable as 17 per cent. If the gentlemen in the Department of Agriculture should decide 12, 13, or 14 per cent to be the proper thing, the men in Providence would have lost $300,000 or $100,000, and the men in the Soutu would have lost their business, amounting to $1,000,000 or more. (Senate committee, 24, 25.)

Mr. Ach believes that lodging so much power in the hands of one individual or coterie, as contemplated by section 7, would subject them to such temptation as

never before assailed mortal man in this country. He bases this statement on what the profits of the cream of tartar baking powder company would be if the measure should be adopted. He declines to sanction any measure that would subject any man to such temptation. (Senate committee, 24.)

Dr. PENNIMAN, chemist of the Maryland State board of health, prefers to leave the wholesomeness of alum baking powder to the courts, rather than to the Secretary of Agriculture, because while a jury of 12 intelligent men have sometimes let a guilty man escape, they have seldom convicted an innocent one; but in a scientific commission the strongest mind is very apt to lead, and one man will make up the finding of the whole. (Senate committee, 22.)

Mr. John Davis, president of the Detroit Chemical Works, asks that the decision as to the standards and comparative usefulness of baking powders be made in the courts, where a proper defense can be made.

Mr. ARTHUR WYMAN, general agent of the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Company, states that one of the products made by this company is alum. He believes it a legitimate industry, and is opposed to any adverse national legislation which will prevent its being heard on its merits in the courts. (Senate committee, 5.)

Mr. E. L. DÚDLEY, of Dudley & Co., Fairport, N. Y., is opposed to section 7 of bill 3618 as antagonistic to his business, and says it would ruin his company. (Senate committee, 30.)

Dr. WILEY, chief chemist of the Department of Agriculture, says the whole question of advertising and trade rivalry is entirely foreign to the bill under consideration. The great question is whether things which are added to food are injurious and what is the best method of finding out. The provisions objected to had all been drawn long before Senator Mason's committee commenced its investigation, and were in the bills reported during many sessions. The object has been to establish some unbiased commission, which could get at the matter without being paid by rival concerns, not being in the employ of any commercial interest, but selected jointly by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Agriculture, and presumably of a high order and unbiased in its relations to trade interests.

Dr. Wiley says he would deplore any action which would injure any legitimate business, and would be the first to condemn the findings of a commission which would be unfair to anyone's trade interests. It seems to him that it is unfair to assume that section 7 is antagonistic to alum baking powder; it had no more reference to alum baking powder than to any other injurious substance. The bill provides that every interest shall be heard by the commission. In studying the effect of alum in food the commission would be required to inform the manufacturers, and ask them to appear and present their side of the case. (Senate committee, 33, 34.)

D. Amendment to Senate bill 3618.-Dr. WILEY expresses his entire willingness to accept an amendment making the findings of the commission simply a guide to the court instead of obligatory upon the courts. (Senate committee, 34.)

Mr. STEELE submits an amendment, approved by Dr. Wiley, making the standards and determinations approved by the Secretary of Agriculture merely evidence, which may be heard with all the weight that would naturally attach to the conclusion of a commission of experts, but leaving the parties in interest at liberty to show that the conclusion may be erroneous. (Senate committee, 35, 36.)





While laws of one kind or another prohibiting the adulteration of food are found in practically every State in the Union, effective provisions for the enforcement of these laws have been enacted in only about half of the Commonwealths. In Connecticut and Kentucky the State agricultural experiment station is charged with the enforcement of the laws regarding adulteration of food and unwholesome food, while Connecticut has also a dairy commissioner to enforce the regulations as to dairy products. The State board of agriculture in North Carolina is directed to enforce the pure-food laws, while in Missouri and New York the board of agriculture enforces the laws relating to dairy products only. In New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Tennessee the State board of health is the authority for executing these laws, and is usually empowered to appoint inspectors and in some cases chemists and other experts. Special officers, usually known by the title of dairy and food commissioners, have been established for the enforcement of the pure-food laws in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. California, Colorado, Iowa, and North Dakota have dairy commissioners to administer the laws regarding dairy products, but have no special officers to enforce the other pure-food laws.

These various authorities and their inspectors or agents are, in every case, given quite definite authority to enter premises where they believe articles of food are manufactured or sold, to open any package and inspect the contents, and to take samples for analysis. Penalties are usually prescribed for hindering these officers in the discharge of their duties. In several of the States where such special officers exist, and in some others where the law makes no provision for State inspection, it is provided that manufacturers and sellers of articles of food must deliver a sample to any person interested who tenders the market price.


Practically every State and Territory has a provision of some sort prohibiting the adulteration of food and the sale of adulterated food. In a considerable number of States, especially in the South and West, these provisions are very brief and general in their form. They do not carefully define adulterations or provide for exceptions. More recent laws enacted in over half of the States are much more elaborate and effective. In many cases the language used in these later laws is practically identical in the different States. After defining food in a broad manner, especially so as to include articles of drink, they usually declare that food

« PreviousContinue »