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To the Honorable, WILLIAM D. HOARD,
Governor of Wisconsin.
I have the honor to transmit herewith the annual report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner, in accordance with section 9, chapter 452, laws of 1889.
Very respectfully submitted,
The legislature of 1889 passed an act creating the office of Dairy and Food Commissioner for the state of Wisconsin. This act clearly defined the powers and duties of the office, with reference to administrating the laws which controlled the adulteration of all articles of food, drink or drug.
The powers and duties of the office are set forth in the following extract from chapter 452, laws of 1889:
SECTION 3. It shall be the duty of the commissioner to enforce all laws that now exist, or that may hereafter be enacted in this state, regarding the production, manufacture or sale of dairy products, or the adulteration of any article of food or drink or of any drug; and personally or by his assistants to inspect any article of milk, butter, cheese, lard, syrup, coffee or tea, or other article of food or drink or drug, made or offered for sale within this state which he may suspect or have reason to believe to be impure, unhealthful, adulterated, or counterfeit, and to prosecute, or cause to be prosecuted, any person or persons, firm or firms, corporation or cor. porations, engaged in the manufacture or sale of any adulterated or counterfeit article or articles of food or drink or drug, contrary to the laws of this state.
SECTION 4. Said commissioner or any assistant shall have power in the performance of his official duties to enter into any creamery, factory, store, salesroom or other place or building where he has reason to believe that
any food or drink or drug is made, prepared, sold or offered for sale, and to open any cask, tub, package or receptacle of any kind containing, or supposed to contain, any such article, and to examine or cause to be examined and analyzed the contents thereof, and the commissioner or any of his assistants may seize or take any article of food or drink or drug for analysis, but if the person from whom such sample is taken shall request him to do so he shall at the same time, and in the presence of the person from whom such property is taken, securely seal up two samples of the article seized or taken, the one of which shall be for examination or analysis under the direction of the commissioner, and the other of which shall be delivered to the person from whom the articles were taken. And any person who shall obstruct the commissioner or any of his assistants by refusing to allow him entrance to any place which he desires to enter in the discharge
of his official duty, or who refuses to deliver to him a sample of any article of food or drink or drug made, sold, offered or exposed for sale by such person, when the same is requested and when the value thereof is tendered, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not exceeding twenty-five dollars for the first offense and not exceeding five hundred dollars or less than fifty dollars for each subsequent offense.
SECTION 5. It shall be the duty of the district attorney in any county of the state, when called upon by the commissioner or any of his assistants to render any legal assistance in his power to execute the laws, and to prosecute cases arising under the provisions of this act, and all fines and assessments collected in any prosecution begun or caused to be begun by said commissioner or his assistants shall be paid into the state treasury.
SECTION 6. With the consent of the governor, the state board of health may submit to the commissioner, or to any of his assistants, samples of water or food or drink or drugs, for examination or analysis, and receive special reports showing the results of such examinations or analysis. And the governor may also authorize the commissioner or his assistants, when not otherwise employed in the duties of their offices, to render such assistance in the farmers' institutes, dairy and farmers' conventions, and the agricultural department of the university, as shall by the authorities be deemed advisable.
SECTION 7. The salaries of the commissioner and his assistants shall be paid out of the state treasury in the same manner as the salaries of other officers are paid, and their official expenses shall be paid at the end of each calendar month upon bills duly itemized and approved by the gover. nor, and the amount necessary to pay such salaries and expenses is hereby appropriated annually.
SECTION 8. The commissioner may, under the direction of the governor, fit up a laboratory, with sufficient apparatus for making the analysis contemplated in this act, and for such purpose the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, and for the purpose of providing materials, and for other necessary expenses connected with the making of such analyses, there is also hereby appropriated so much as may be necessary, not exceeding six hundred dol. lars annually. The appropriations provided for in this section shall be drawn from the state treasury upon the certificates of the governor.
This act went into effect April 16, 1889. The commissioner received his appointment May 29, 1889. Pursuant to the provisions of this act Prof. F. G. Short, chemist of the state Experiment station was appointed state chemist, June 1, 1889. Prof. Short seemed eminently fitted for this work from his long experience in the work of analyzing dairy products. Another reason why Wisconsin should be glad
to recognize his worth is that Prof. Short worked out a method of determining the butter fat in milk which has been adopted very largely throughout the United States and the old world.
Mr. H. K. Loomis was appointed dairy expert on the commission, July 9, 1889. Mr. Loomis has operated a large factory in Sheboygan county and has been an extensive dealer in dairy products. He has been treasurer of the State Dairyman's association for eight years, and for some time has had charge of the dairy department at the state fair.
There was no specific provision made for the location of a laboratory. For various reasons it was decided not to place it in the capitol building. There was no available room which was large enough and which furnished sufficient light for delicate and technical investigation. Again, various chemical compounds would be used and there would be more or less danger from explosion and fire. The state carries no insurance upon its property and we did not wish to enhance liability to damage from fire to the capitol by placing a chemical laboratory within its walls. A desirable place was found in the Pioneer building for a rental of $250 per annum. The laboratory is on the fourth floor, is well lighted and furnished with gas and water and heated with steam. An appropriation of $1,500 was made to equip a laboratory. This sum was found ample for this purpose. Prof. Short went directly to wholesalers in New York and succeeded in securing the necessary apparatus for about $250 less than the same invoice would have cost if it had been ordered from this point. The work of organizing the department was then begun. Unless one has given the matter careful consideration, no conception of the magnitude of the work can be estimated. By direction of the governor, the laws relating to the office and duties of the commission were compiled and 15,000 copies were distributed to manufacturers and dealers in food stuffs throughout the state. This was done because many of the laws were new and the old ones had never been enforced, consequently the trade was not prepared for the administration of them. The retail dealers throughout the state are in accord with the purposes of the department. In the main they are in utter ignorance of the character of many of the compounds which pass through their hands, and once cognizant of the fact that they are imposed upon by misrepresentation of manufacturers, they are not slow to withdraw their patronage. A prevailing opinion of the public has been that this department had to do altogether with the dairy interest. Although this is a great industry and should be wisely guarded by legislation the entire field of human food is comprehended by the scope of the duties of this office.
After the laboratory was furnished, the first work of the department was to take samples of the various food stuffs which were so mixed and compounded that they concealed their identity. The department was at first guided in its selection of samples by complaints and suggestions from various parts of the state. At the time of the creation of the office many sensational articles went the rounds of the press and several attempts were made to investigate. With but few exceptions, these attempts were futile, having originated in nearly every case, with some one who was either troubled with the dyspepsia or sold his wares by the line.
A more definite and sympathetic line of action was adopted. The first article which was given any considerable attention was vinegar. A large number of samples were taken from dealers and manufacturers in various parts of the state. The department soon discovered that nearly every vinegar that had a brown color was sold for pure cider vinegar and labeled as such. The analysis showed that but a very small percentage was cider vinegar as represented by the labels. The law was the next matter to consider. Here we found trouble. The section is quoted in full because it is the most important one which is comprehensive and general in its character.
SECTION 3. Every person who shall compound or put up for sale any food, drug or liquor, in casks, boxes, bottles or packages, with any label mark or device whatever, so as and with intent to mislead or deceive as to the true name, nature, kind and quality thereof, shall be liable to a pen.