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FOOD BILLS H. R. 3109, 12348, 9352, 276, AND 4342. FOR
PURE FOOD LEGISLATION.
HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN
COMMERCE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON BILLS H. R. 3109, 12348, 9352, 276, AND 4342, PROVIDING AGAINST THE ADULTERATION OR MISBRANDING OF FOODS, BEVERAGES, DRUGS, ETC., IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE TERRITORIES, AND FOR REGULATING INTERSTATE TRAFFIC IN SUCH PRODUCTS.
TUESDAY, March 11, 1902. The committee met at 11.15 a. m., Hon. William P. Hepburn in the chair.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee has determined that at these hearings, which will continue from day to day until the subject is exhausted, the whole subject of pure food and drugs, as represented in five bills pending before the committee, will be considered. 3109, 12348, 9352, 276 (although the committee has acted upon that bill), and 4342 are the bills that may be considered as before the committee.
Gentlemen, our sessions will be from 10.30 o'clock in the morning until 12 o'clock noon, and (although our regular meetings are held only on Tuesday and Friday) they will be continued from day to day until all persons have been heard. But even under those circumstances you can see that the time is limited, and we will have to urge upon gentlemen who address the committee the virtue of brevity. It would be the pleasure of the committee, if it should meet with your pleasure, that briefs should be prepared and that the oral discussions should be with regard to particular features of the bills. I suppose that there are opponents of all these bills; I do not know about that, or know how
If it could be arranged among such classes, or among the speakers, perhaps it would be better. The discussion will be opened by Dr. Freer.
STATEMENT OF DR. WILLIAM FREER, CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PURE FOOD AND DRUG CONGRESS.
Dr. FREER. I appear, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, before you this morning to agitate the favorable report of the bill before you, No. 3109, known as the Hepburn bill.
The CHAIRMAN. I will say, gentlemen, that this is the Brosius bill; there is nothing of Hepburn in it except the name.
Mr. Coombs. There is a good deal in a name.
Dr. FREER. The bill is not the outgrowth of a single mind or the work of a single year. It is rather the product of a careful consideration by
individual legislators, as early as the time of Mr. Paddock, with the modifications which have since been introduced as the result of the careful consideration by three successive congresses the so-called pure food and drug congresses-- which were composed of delegates appointed by the governors of States and by representative business bodies, the producing and commercial bodies of the country, and also the representatives of the various boards of health, and other official organizations of the several States which had to do with this general subject in their various territories and in their States.
The purpose of the bill is twofold. It may be stated under one broad head: To protect commerce, not only the man who makes, not only the man who buys, but also the man who sells. Protection against two things. In the first place, against the introduction of materials which are injurious to health, in such manner at least as to cause injury to health; and, in the second place, to protect both the consumer and the dealer and the manufacturer of legitimate products, of honest products sailing under their own colors, from the results of fraud.
Now, in our experienceand I speak from considerable experience in connection with the pure-food work of the State of Pennsylvaniafrom our experience in that State we find more difficulty in dealing with the subject of fraud and the sale of imitation materials, the sale of materials whose qualities are injured by the abstraction of valuable substances, or by the addition of undesirable substances for the purpose of adulteration, and so on, than we do from the introduction of materials which are injurious to health.
Our bill is intended to cover both of these grounds, and I am sure that I represent the consensus of opinion of the National Pure Food and Drug Congresses, when I say that I am sure that any legislation passed by the National Congress which failed to take into account that glaring evil would fail in a very important point.
The bill proceeds along the lines of the English food and drug act, and this is desirable for several reasons. In the first place, because the terms of the English food and drug act have been subject to interpretation in courts, because the terms of this act have been very largely adopted in our State legislation, and are therefore more or less familiar to courts, and more or less familiar to those who have to conform to the terms of State legislation.
It is the thought of those who advocate national action that national action is necessary because of the fact that while the United States Constitution reserves to each State its own police power it is, on the other hand, unable to pass beyond the boundaries of the State; whereas so happily is our nation constituted that the commerce of the country passes freely over every boundary. And yet, as a result of that free passage of material from one part of the country to another part we find that a very large proportion of the materials with which a State has to deal, of the adulterated materials, are materials which come from outside the territory of the State.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, have you facts from which you can give us some idea of the extent of adulterations in foods and drugs?
Dr. FREER. The most comprehensive report of this kind which I know of is that presented in the late report of the State board of health of the State of Massachusetts, which covers a period of about 18 years, from the time their work began until the end of the fiscal year 1900, in which it is shown that of the samples of milk exam