Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

by Fred L. Lofsvold be 1,200 miles from headquarters and must handle any such as screenings, stems, and leaves, are discarded; problem he encounters.

but occasionally some are used for animal feed. This The territory through which the inspectors travel results in high residues in the feed materials which today failed to impress one early visitor, a newspaper often carry over into the edible products. State, Fedreporter who accompanied General George Crook on eral, and industry agencies have publicized this probhis 1876 campaign against the Sioux. He found the lem and instances of use of these high residue byarea lacking "several essentials toward making it rea- products are now infrequent. sonably habitable. First water, second timber, third Other pesticide surveillance is directed toward climate.” He concluded that if the country had any fruits, vegetables, milk, dairy products, and other huvalue at all, it would be as a “mammoth cattle range.' man foods. In this work, too, the District coordinates His comments on this large geographic expanse once its efforts with State agencies. Through a combined vaguely known as the Great American Desert were State and Federal effort of surveillance and industry accurate until the development of dry farming tech- education, we have reduced the incidence of high niques and new varieties of plants that made possible residue products going to market. vast acreages of grain, beans, peas, mustard seed, and Storage of raw agricultural products, such as dried other crops. Neither did he anticipate the irrigation beans, dried peas, and wheat, present several problems. projects that have turned large tracts of semidesert Rodents, insects, and birds may invade the storage into productive farmland.

warehouses and contaminate the products. Materials Food production is an important part of the economy used for controlling these pests, if not properly handled, of the entire region. As predicted by the 1876 traveler, may cause hazardous situations. In recent years, budget beef cattle and sheep are important products. Although restrictions have reduced the District efforts in handling trail herds of longhorns are long since gone, many these problems, but State agencies have taken up the cattle still are raised on the range. In addition, large slack to the extent that their resources permit. numbers are fattened in feedlots for local slaughter A recent instance illustrates how State and Federal or shipment to meat packing centers in other States. agencies cooperate successfully to solve a problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has primary re- The State of Washington Department of Agriculture sponsibility for inspecting meats and meat products, conducts routine examinations of wheat being shipped with the exception of buffalo raised for meat on Wyo- into the State for milling. When the department's ming ranches which are the responsibility of FDA. analyses showed that wheat from a Montana elevator To achieve an effective inspection of buffalo meat, we bore excessive residues of methoxychlor, the informahave an agreement with the Wyoming Department of tion was furnished to FDA. Denver District Inspectors Agriculture under which the excellent Meat Inspection found that the elevator employees had used too much Service of that agency has assumed responsibility. of the pesticide in spraying wheat in the elevator, and

Other aspects of the livestock industry also require over 300,000 bushels of wheat contained residues far FDA attention. Three large and several small estab- in excess of the permitted amount. Rather than seek lishments making veterinary drugs are regularly in- a Federal court injunction to prevent use of the conspected and samples of their output examined in the taminated wheat, the District sought the assistance of laboratory. Many veterinary drugs are administered in medicated feed for prophylaxis or growth promotion. District lab personnel perform numerous scientific tasks These feeds must be accurately compounded to pro

which are basic to many District activities. (1) A special study duce the desired effect in the animal and to minimize

to determine the presence of heavy metals in vegetables the hazard of residues in the meat, milk, and eggs

requires the use of the atomic absorption spectrophotometer,

being operated here by a District chemist. (2) A microbiologconsumed by humans. In all five States the departments ical technician tests a prepared potato product for the presof agriculture have active programs in medicated feeds. ence of E. coli and other microbiological contamination. The District has entered into agreements with them in

(3) A chemist grinds a fish as the first step in the process to

determine the presence of pesticide residues. (4) Another which they assume primary responsibility for the in

chemist checks a corn extraction-part of the process in an spections and sample analyses needed to control these

aflatoxin examination. (5) District Chemist Robert Munns (left), products.

and Michael Oliva (right), Chief of the Injury Study Unit, exSince feed materials are subject to contamination amine an imported charcoal cooking unit for possible health with pesticides during growing or storage, the District hazards such as the presence of lead being used in the it's regularly checks such products for pesticide residues.

lining, and the effects of gas produced by burning charcoal.

(6) In an Idaho warehouse, a District Inspector uses his black In coordination with State agencies, District Inspectors

light to check bagged pinto beans for rodent contamination. collect samples of hay, grain, and agricultural byprod

(7) Members of the Denver District statt pose against a scenic ucts to determine their pesticide residue content. The mountain background for this informal portrait (left to right): byproducts from agricultural industries such as seed Donald M. Taylor, Food and Drug Officer; Ezell B. Kinsey, production have caused occasional problems. When

Administrative Assistant; William A. Grahm, Acting Chief

Chemist; John J. Cox, Chief Inspector; and Fred L. Lofsvold, a crop is raised only for seed purposes, it is a common

District Director. (8) An inspector in a frozen french fried practice to use amounts of pesticides that would be

potatoes plant in Idaho collects an aseptic sample to check excessive for a food crop. Normally the byproducts, for any bacterial contamination.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]

the Montana State Health Department, which embargoed the material to prevent its distribution. The Montana Department of Agriculture then worked with the owners of the wheat to devise a method of salvage. After tests showed that the pesticide residues were concentrated in the upper part of the bins, this material was skimmed off by vacuum and the remaining portion released. The skimmings were denatured so they could be used only for seed purposes.

Although many of the products of farms and ranches may be shipped to other parts of the country for consumption and processing, much of these crops remains in the region, where it serves as raw material for the food manufacturing and processing industry. These establishments supply not only the needs of the local population, but also send their products throughout the country and throughout the world. Although there is almost every type of food industry in the Denver District, certain types of food processing are rather peculiar to the area. For example, in recent years the famous Idaho potato has more often gone to market in the form of frozen french fries or instant mashed potatoes than in its original raw state. In 1968, the 22 factories in Idaho processed almost 60 percent of the 31/2 billion pounds of potatoes grown there. This output of frozen and dried potato products was 52 percent of the United States production.

As with all convenience foods, scrupulous sanitation is required to eliminate the potential hazards of bacterial food poisoning. Working with the industry association and individual companies, the District has conducted an educational campaign to acquaint management, quality control personnel, and production

workers with the necessity of operating sanitary factories. Industry response has been excellent and the general condition of the industry has vastly improved over that which prevailed in early years of this industry.

Another industry that comes under District regulation is the production of frozen trout. Hatcheries and packing plants in Idaho and Utah in 1968 produced 3 million pounds of frozen dressed trout, over 85 percent of the total United States production. In many of these establishments the operation is completely integrated, from the hatching of the trout eggs to the packaging of the frozen fish. Some of the larger establishments prepare their own specialized feeding formulas containing various medications to produce the largest fish in the shortest possible time. Periodic inspections and sample examinations are included in the District workplans to assure that the marketed fish are free from drug residues and have been produced under satisfactory sanitary conditions.

As might be expected, the drug industry is relatively small in this area where agriculture plays such a predominant role. In recent years, however, three fairly large establishments manufacturing drugs and devices for human use have been built. Since attention to these firms plus the many smaller drug businesses is not a heavy workload, the District has been able to provide analytical support to other Districts which have workloads in excess of their manpower resources. This has been an excellent program for all Districts, since the Denver chemists have a greater opportunity to develop their expertise while helping the other Districts get their work done.

In addition to the traditional FDA activities, Denver District also includes a Product Safety Unit which investigates injuries associated with various household products. These include such diverse articles as power tools, home vaporizers, small household appliances, and other things used in or around the home. Occasionally the products are rather exotic, such as a brass Mongolian food cooker which was potentially dangerous because of high lead content in the solder used to put it together and because it was designed to burn charcoal indoors, where there is a possibility of asphyxiation from carbon monoxide. Since there is no Federal law covering the safety of such articles, the findings of the Product Safety Unit are utilized to bring about voluntary correction of hazards.

In the 1910 Annual Report, Dr. Wiley was concerned about chemicals in food, pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables, bacterial contamination of eggs and milk products, and drugs that did not meet standards. These potential health hazards, in somewhat different forms, still command the attention of FDA and the public. In cooperation with State and local agencies and with the assistance of industry associations and consumer organizations, Denver District will continue to seek solutions to these and other problems of consumer protection.

(9) Dwarted by the gigantic cooking kettles in a Colorado brewery, a District Inspector visually examines hops for the presence of molds that may produce mycotoxin. (10) District Director Lofsvold (tar left) confers with State officials and a District staff member (left to right): Merle Morrish, Chiet, Division of Inspection and Consumer Services, Colorado Department of Agriculture; Robert Swan, Feed Specialist, Wyoming Department of Agriculture; John W. Gilmore, Supervisory Inspector, Denver District; Waldo Anderson, Supervisor, Feed and Fertilizer Section, Division of Inspection and Consumer Services, Colorado Department of Agriculture. (11) A District Inspector takes a sample of corn silage from a Colorado feed mill silage storage area. The sample will be tested for the presence of pesticide residues. The silage is stored under the plastic in order to keep it from drying out while partial fermentation takes place. (12) Colors which will be used in manufacturing candy are checked for FDA certification by a District Inspector in the raw storage area of a Colorado candy plant. (13) It may look like an art critic examining an avant-garde sculpture, but in reality it's a District Inspector checking cheese vat agitators for cleanliness in an Idaho dairy products processing plant. (14) A huge tank used for mixing drugs in a District veterinary drug plant is checked by an inspector for any residues of previous drugs. (15) The owner of this Idaho trout farm discusses operations of the plant with a District Inspector (in coveralls). Employees in the background are seining fish before sorting them into water bins (left). (16) A District Inspector checks recording thermometers at a powdered milk plant. The cylindrical pipes in the background are condensers.

A Twilight

for Persistent Pesticides

the Secretary last April, summarized tributable to the use of pesticides, its report and made 14 recommen

it nevertheless recommended, among dations calling for, among other other things, that "the accretion of

things, increased cooperation and residues in the environment be conby Lessel L. Ramsey coordination among DHEW and the trolled by orderly reduction in the

Departments of Agriculture and In- use of persistent pesticides" and that terior in dealing with problems "elimination of the use of persistent caused by the use of pesticides and toxic pesticides should be the goal.” for further integration of the various Immediately following the release pesticide activities within DHEW of this report, a Senate Subcomitself. The Commission also recom- mittee headed by Senator Abraham mended that DDT and DDD be re- A. Ribicoff held congressional hearstricted within two years to only ings over a period of about one year those uses essential to human health on the Federal Government's role in or welfare and suggested restricted controlling environmental contamiuse of other pesticides that remain nation. The emphasis in the hearpersistent in the environment longings was on the use of pesticides. after use.

Although the Ribicoff Committee The Chairman of the Commis- “found no reliable evidence to sugsion is Dr. Emil M. Mrak, Chan- gest that the benefit-risk equation cellor Emeritus of the University of was presently unbalanced in any California at Davis. Part II of the significant way,” it warned that Commission's report consists of re- more information is needed to guarview of over 5,000 references to antee future balance of the benefitscientific research and full presenta- risk equation and to assure public tion of the findings of several sub- confidence. committees and panels appointed The growing concern among toxito study various aspects of the cologists and public health officials problem.

plus the mounting pressure of public The significance of the Commis- opinion stimulated by special in

sion report and Secretary Finch's terest groups such as the Environseries of far-reaching rec- announcement of departmental mental Defense Fund, the Sierra

ommendations that would plans should be considered against Club, and the National Audubon Mimpose tighter governmen- the background of major develop- Society led to a number of actions to tal controls over and restrict the ments in the pesticides area begin- restrict the usage of DDT in 1968 use of the so-called persistent pesti- ning in 1962.

and 1969. Arizona imposed a onecides was released in mid-Novem- The general public did not appear year ban on DDT and Michigan ber by Secretary Robert H. Finch to be concerned, or even aware of took action to drastically restrict of the Department of Health, Edu- a pesticide problem until the publi- DDT usage. In several other States, cation, and Welfare upon the is- cation in 1962 of a book called bills have been introduced in the suance of Part I of a report by Silent Spring by the late biologist legislatures and public hearings the Secretary's Commission on Pes- Rachel Carson. This book has been held. Several bills to ban DDT have ticides and Their Relationship to translated into several languages also been introduced into the ConEnvironmental Health.

and has had worldwide readership. gress. Early in 1969 Sweden imIn releasing the recommenda- It and the wide concern it caused posed a two-year ban on DDT, tions, Secretary Finch also influenced President Kennedy in ap- effective January 1, 1970, and nounced departmental plans to im- pointment of a President's Science among the reasons cited was the plement some of them, including Advisory Committee which issued finding

finding of significant residues in fish revision of an existing agreement a report entitled "Use of Pesticides" from the Baltic Sea. with two other Government depart- on May 15, 1963. Although this Early in 1969 the National Canments.

report recognized the gains in food cer Institute released a preliminary The Commission, appointed by production and disease control at- report from a study made by the

an

« ForrigeFortsett »