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in institutions and schools, and large groups of the general public, the members of the association wish to support legislation which assures quality to the consuming public.
University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
STATEMENT OF DR. LOUISE TAYLOR-JONES, REPRESENTING THE MEDICAL WOMEN'S NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
The Medical Women's National Association, at its board meeting in Washington, D.C., November 11, 1933, voted to approve the provisions of the food and drug bill, providing for further protection of the consumer, now before the Congress of the United States.
The Medical Women's National Association is an organization of several hundred women physicians who are also members of the American Medical Association.
The woman physician is also a homemaker, therefore deeply interested in this legislation: (1) As a purchaser of canned goods, she wishes to assure herself of the quality of the product; (2) as a physician, she wishes to be sure of the drug she prescribes; and as a mother, she wishes to be sure of the medicine her children take; (3) in the field of cosmetics, her deep interest still holds. She does not wish to see her patients suffering from a chemical dermatitis.
LOUISE TAYLOR-JONES, M.D.
Miss EDWARDS. I would like at this time to present a statement for the American Home Economics Association.
STATEMENT OF MISS ALICE L. EDWARDS, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY AMERICAN HOME ECONOMICS ASSOCIATION
Miss EDWARDS. Before presenting the statement of the association, may I read into the record a statement which Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt gave at her women's press conference yesterday afternoon. Mrs. Roosevelt's statement reads as follows:
I think all goods sold to the public should be labeled as to their grade and quality. Without this, the consumer cannot know what he is buying. This is the only way that the consumer can intelligently have a hold on the market. I mean authentic Government grades and standards.
The American Home Economics Association is an organization of trained home economists who are employed as teachers in elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities, rural-extension workers, institutional managers, workers in social service and in research, women in commercial positions, and homemakers. The association heartily endorses a revision of the Food and Drugs Act to give the consumer greater protection and urges the amendments of S. 2800 as presented by Mrs. Baldwin. It also urges that section 21 be amended so that the first sentence shall read:
The Secretary shall cause to be published periodically a report summarizing all judgments, decrees, and court orders which have been rendered and all proceedings instituted and seizures made, including the nature of the charge and the disposition thereof.
We ask that one phrase, "and all proceedings instituted and seizures made ", be embodied in this bill as it was in the former bill S. 2000.
Senator COPELAND. Would you be in favor of having publicity given before there has been a decision as to the merits of the charge? Miss EDWARDS. I believe that it would be perfectly justified, Senator Copeland, because I feel those charges are very, very seldom brought without exceedingly authentic reasons for so bringing them, and since those proceedings sometimes extend over a long, long period of time, without a final decision for a year or two, it means. that many times the consumer is suffering injustice of one kind or another, if not actual harm, which might be avoided if he could be warned that that product was unsatisfactory or was under question.
Senator COPELAND. You know the bill provides that where there is a danger to the public health, or fraud upon the consumer that information shall be given, but the thing that you are asking for is that when there is a charge made against a concern that there should be publicity given to that, even though the public health is not involved.
Miss EDWARDS. I am not sure of all of the provisions, Senator, but I believe it is the procedure to perhaps give warnings before an actual procedure is brought, and if the firm is given notice so that they can change their procedures and make proper adjustments be-forehand, it seems to me that when things have gotten far enough that an actual procedure is brought, it may be well for the public to know that that procedure is instituted.
Senator MURPHY. Wouldn't that be hanging him before you found him guilty?
Miss EDWARDS. Well, I would say in that connection that the next statement that I have handed here, may perhaps suggest another connection that has a bearing on this. We are also recommending that the clause beginning with "provided" in the 17th line of that same page, in that same provision, be deleted. The retention of this provision to prevent publicity regarding the seizures and proceedings which have been instituted against the producers of certain commodities would correspond to restrictions formerly imposed on the Federal Trade Commission, which it was found were detrimental to public welfare, and have long since been removed. We urge that no such prejudicial clause be permitted to remain in this. bill. I think that illustration that I have just cited in connection with the Federal Trade Commission is applicable here.
Senator COPELAND. Do I understand that you wish to eliminatethe whole proviso on page 33, line 17?
Senator MURPHY. Beginning with the word "provided ", is that what you wish to strike out?
Miss EDWARDS. I think that there would be no loss in eliminating that whole proviso, because this clause would permit the giving of information only if it were found to be prejudicial. Now, if they leave that out, and have made the change I suggested before, I think. the measure would be more satisfactory.
Senator COPELAND. Let me point out to you an experience of my own, where we found in New York a certain brand of ripe olives, contaminated with germs of botulism. It was only by the giving of immediate information to the public that we succeeded in saving lives. We did lose some before this information was given, but
you take this proviso out. It says that this information shall not be given except in cases involving imminent danger to health, which was the thing that I had to deal with in connection with the olives.
Miss EDWARDS. I heartily approve of retaining that proviso providing you do not insert the words in the first sentence that I urged be included. That is, if we include the phrase " and all proceedings instituted and seizures made ", if that were inserted in the first sentence, then I think that would be more satisfactory.
Senator MURPHY. At what point, please.
Miss EDWARDS. That would be inserted just following the word "rendered " in line 12, I believe it is.
Senator MURPHY. And what is the specific language you would insert there?
Miss EDWARDS. We wish inserted there," and all proceedings instituted and seizures made."
Senator COPELAND. You know there is another provision of this bill that we ought to take out. That is, to be consistent. I mean the provisions for minor violations, that the Secretary might deal with them without taking the case to court. Aren't there cases where there might be a technical violation, where on explanation of the manufacturer involved, there could be found a reasonable explanation, that by some misstamp or carelessness or failing to carry out orders, the thing occurred, and yet if your plan were to be put into effect, immediately there was any sort of action taken, there would be publicity given to that fact.
Miss EDWARDS. I intended in the statement that I made a few minutes ago to indicate that in cases of minor infractions, and perhaps before an actual procedure were brought against the firm, that it might be given an opportunity, as I understand it, to right the situation.
Senator COPELAND. Yes; but according to your suggestion now, in spite of that, there would be given publicity to the fact that there had been some sort of action taken against the given firm. We gave a tremendous amount of thought to this provision here. As a matter of fact, the Department can proceed instantly where the health involved, where there is danger to the public health, can make seizure, can give publicity, can do anything it likes, but before another matter which involves a commercial practice, which has nothing to do with the public health, there would first be an examination to determine whether there was a minor offense which might be dismissed by the Secretary, or then, if there was actual court action taken, there would be that publicity, but you are proposing that, from the seizure, before there is any opportunity given to judge it on its merits, there should be given publicity. Now, that would not be quite fair, as I view it, to the manufacturer.
Miss EDWARDS. It may be that S. 2800 is so drawn now that the provision for making the adjustment on those minor offenses is not permitted, would not be permitted, with the removal of this clause that I have asked for, and the insertion of the words I have asked.
Senator COPELAND. Well, do not ask me to be responsible for 1944. This is the only one that I am responsible for.
Senator MURPHY. Well, as I gather your point it is this: That these proceedings have been instituted, you think that harm may result to the public due to the prolongation of the proceedings.
Miss EDWARDS. I think that that might well be true.
Senator MURPHY. Well, now, I think there is very likely merit in that, and still, on the other hand, to adopt your suggestion, court orders which have been rendered, and all proceedings instituted and seizures made, a proceeding might be instituted and in the course of the hearing the fact be developed that a proceeding should not have been instituted; and still the publicity would attend that proceeding. You give a dog a bad name--and this manufacturer has been hurt seriously in his business without due warrant, and without a hearing. Miss EDWARDS. I believe, Mr. Senator, that the administration makes every effort to assure itself that it has quite justifiable grounds for making an investigation of this sort before it does undertake it in full, and bring it to the point that it institutes a proceeding.
Senator MURPHY. We have to assume that the administration is right. The moment that it institutes a proceeding or makes a seizure, we have to accept this obiter dictum," the Department is right", but nobody has had a hearing yet. It is very likely to hurt somebody there unfairly.
Miss EDWARDS. Well, over against that, Mr. Senator, I am concerned about the consumers' protection, for unless the consumers' angle is quite definitely kept in mind, protection will be extended in much greater measure to the industry than to the consumer. Senator COPELAND. No; I think you are wrong there.
Miss EDWARDS. I would say, Senator Copeland, that in the minor cases, I very heartily approve of not having the extent of publicity that you are thinking of.
Senator COPELAND. But you know, this is the experience of an administrator. He has a new inspector. He is eager and active and alert, and he grabs something and makes a seizure. Then on examination by his superiors it is found that it was not a justified seizure, and yet you would give publicity to that. Now, if it is a seizure involving the public health, even though afterward it developed that it did not have anything to do with the public health, that would be fully justified publicity there, but I am sure, on contemplation, you will see that it would be an unjust thing, to a thoughtful and honest manufacturer who was really eager to deal honestly with the public, if publicity was given to the seizure of a product on some minor matter, perhaps, because, if there is a seizure made and actual court procedure is taken, and so forth, then there is bound to be and must be publicity. I think many of your suggestions are wise, but this particular one, if you will think about it, I believe that you will feel that this solves the problem very well.
Miss EDWARDS. Perhaps I am oversensitive along this line, but it seems to me that there are economic injustices to the consumer which, especially in these times when incomes are so low, it is important to recognize, because if the commodity is one which does not give the consumer value received for his money he should have an opportunity to know this even if the commodity is not so inferior as to injure health.
Senator COPELAND. You see, we have tried to govern that. Except in cases involving imminent danger to health or gross deception to the consumer-we tried to do that very thing, to give the consumer protection against gross deception, and likewise to give the public
protection against something that was imminently dangerous to health.
Miss EDWARDS. Perhaps I overemphasized in my thinking the extent of the gross deception that you would have in mind.
As an organization interested in the wise selection of household commodities, the association urges that section 11 (2) be amended. It now provides for the establishment of "one objectively determinable minimum standard of quality and fill of container", and we recommend that it be changed to read "objectively determinable standards of quality and fill of container." And if you cannot approve of the clause that we suggest that is, "objectively determinable standards of quality "then we urge that the word "minimum" be dropped from the clause as now in the bill. I presume those who were instrumental in obtaining this phrasing in the bill had only canned foods in mind, it would doubtless apply to other packaged food products requiring that only a minimum be established for them, whereas there may be very good and sufficient reasons why the standard should be set measurably above an absolute minimum in some cases.
Senator COPELAND. May I explain to you-and I venture to take the time of the committee and of the audience, because you are so fair and just about it, and so anxious to have the bill right-let me show you what this bill means. First, there is a definition, a standard of identity. We take ice cream, for instance. It cannot be sold as ice cream unless it has, we will say, 8 percent of butterfat and a certain proportion of solids and low bacteria content. It is not ice cream unless it meets that. If it is still sold, it must be sold as frozen milk, or something else. It cannot be sold as ice cream. So that that establishes the identity of the product, of the ice cream. Then the Department of its own volition can fix any standard it chooses above that minimum standard of identity. It can say, "It must have 12-percent butterfat or 15-percent butterfat. It can fix the standard there. It is not standard ice cream unless it reaches that point. It is only these superior, superexcellent qualities above that, that the individual advertiser or manufacturer might brag about, but the housewife herself would know that when she had standard ice cream it was ice cream of 12-percent butterfat, a portion of solids and very low bacteria content, so you would have absolute protection, so far as health is concerned, and so far as nourishment is concerned, and the Department itself could go just as high as it chose in establishing that one standard.
Miss EDWARDS. I did not realize that that would be the interpretation that would be given to the provision with the word "minimum" in it.
Senator COPELAND. Well, you know that we hemmed and hawed over the word minimum.' I don't think it makes any difference whether "minimum" is in or "maximum" is in, or whether both words are left out, because the Department itself fixes that standard. There was a lot of talk of the sort that perhaps if those were left in, they could sell Holstein milk, which has 2-percent butterfat; that you could determine that that was a good standard milk, but, you see, the definition is fixed. First, the definition in the definition of identity, to sell as milk it must be 32 percent or 4 percent of butter