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State is better able to deal in an intelligent manner with this subject than is Dr. Browning, and the fact that California stands at the head of the column of States for the number of deaths from this preventable disease should bring every one of us to the meeting.
Dr. W. F. Snow, head of the Department of Hygiene of Stanford University, has been invited to give an illustrated lecture on some subject relating to public sanitation, and will, no doubt, respond. Other subjects may be introduced, but these will be enough to show that the committee is preparing a feast. Kindly accept this as a personal invitation to be there.
Dr. F. K. Ainsworth, Chief Surgeon of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and a member of the State Board of Health, has kindly arranged for half-fare rates on the Southern Pacific Railroad for all city and county health officers and members of boards of health who wish to attend the meeting. Any of these wishing to attend the meeting will notify N. K. Foster, Secretary of the Association, at Sacramento, of their intention to attend, giving their address. These will be forwarded to Dr. Ainsworth, who will send an order for the reduced rates direct to the party. The time limit will be three days prior and three days after the meeting.
THE NEW PURE FOOD AND DRUG LAW. While it is true that the State Food and Drug Laboratory will not be legally established until January 1, 1908, public interest in the work is manifested by the large number of letters received and the samples submitted for examination and analysis. The most notable recognition of the Laboratory and its importance was shown by the Honorable Secretary of Agriculture, James Wilson, upon his recent visit to California. The Secretary personally requested the coöperation of the Laboratory with the Bureau of Chemistry, United States Department of Agriculture, in connection with its investigation on sulphuring of dried fruits, which is still in progress.
It would appear that this is an opportune time to draw public attention to the McCartney Pure Food and Drug Law passed at the last session of the Legislature and to go into effect on January 1st, next. This thought has been emphasized by some statements appearing in one of the San Francisco journals to the effect that California should take part in the great pure food and drug movement which is agitating the country from one end to the other.
Full and complete copies of the new law may be had upon application either to Dr. N. K. Foster, Secretary of the State Board of Health, Sacramento, or to Prof. M. E. Jaffa, Berkeley.
It might be stated at the outset that every Californian should congratulate himself on the passage of such a law as we now have, and there are many reasons for this.
The State Board of Health and others have been working for years for the enactment of laws which would protect both the consumer and producer. Not only has this been accomplished by the McCartney Act, but by its provisions this State will work in perfect harmony with the Federal authorities in their administration of the National Pure Food and Drug Law of June 30, 1906. Such coöperation is absolutely necessary and highly essential for the success of the pure food and drug movement, and bringing about the best conditions for all concerned. It must not be forgotten that by such action we shall have the maxi
mum results with the minimum expenditure for the enforcement of the law, which is for preventing the manufacture, sale or transportation of adulterated, mislabeled or misbranded foods, liquors or drugs, and regulating the traffic therein; providing penalties, establishing a laboratory for foods, liquors and drugs, and making an appropriation therefor.
In accordance with the provisions of the new law the examination and analysis of foods and drugs will be made under the supervision of the State Board of Health, which has established its laboratory at the University of California. All can be assured that as far as the analysis and examination of foods and drugs are concerned a broad, liberal and just policy will be pursued with reference to both the producer and consumer.
The law will insure to the consumer articles of food in accordance with the labels thereon; in other words, all foods or food materials will have to be honestly labeled and free from adulterants or preservatives of an injurious kind.
We are very fortunate in that we do not have to make any standard or render any decisions regarding labels, brands, etc., as shown by Section 3 of the Act, which reads: "The standard of purity of foods and liquors shall be that proclaimed by the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture.” Not only is this with reference to foods, but it also applies to our medicines and drugs. The exact ingredients of any compounded medicine must be stated on the label.
Naturally this will result in a smaller consumption of many of the patent medicines and other nostrums. For instance, when mothers know that certain soothing syrups contain opium, they will be very loth to administer the same to crying babies. Again, there are a large number of patent medicines which in the past have contained a high percentage of alcohol, fully as much, in some cases, as whisky. The Federal law has already accomplished much in stopping such pernicious practices.
The Act is very broad in its scope, as is provided by Section 2, which reads: “The term food, as used in this Act, shall include all articles used for food, drink, liquor, confectionery or condiments by man or other animals, whether simple, mixed or compounded."
It is thus seen that the food inspection is not confined to the food of man, and it may be stated that the State Laboratory will devote all the attention possible to the end that the cattle and poultry men can feel assured of what they purchase. This policy will be carried out in regard to simple and mixed foods.
The two main lines of work to be taken up by the State Laboratory with reference to food for man and other animals will be, first, the examination for preservatives and coloring matter prohibited by law, and second, the examination of foods for the purpose of ascertaining if they are honestly labeled.
It has been said that the administration of the new law would be broad and liberal, and it may also be stated that the State Board of Health does not intend to confine its labors to merely police work. The investigational and educational side of the question will receive a fair share of attention. That there is a wide field for such efforts is evidenced by many existing conditions, and a few illustrations will fully bear out this point.
Some years ago the trade demanded a dark colored wine,—why? Not because it tasted any better, but only because it looked better. In many cases the natural color of the grapes was not deep enough. The winemen, therefore, in order to satisfy the consumer, added a coloring matter. The law stepped in and prohibited the use of the artificial materials for coloring wines. What is the result? Why, to-day the consumer is perfectly satisfied with a lighter colored wine, he having been educated to the use of such.
Again, the fruitmen, especially those who dry fruits, will have to educate the public to consume fruit not sulphured to the extent to which they have been accustomed. A slight sulphuring of fruit will. not materially affect it, but the amount of sulphur often used to produce the golden-colored apricot or peach, or the absolutely white apple from immature fruit is detrimental to the health of the consumer. The latter wants golden yellow fruit and is willing to pay the highest price for it. When the public is educated to undertand that the brown fruit has a finer flavor and is more wholesome the producer and packer will be encouraged to use their best efforts to put dried fruit upon the market containing the least possible amount of sulphur. Similarly as regards dried or desiccated vegetables.
The poultry-raiser also suffers from the whim and fancies of the consumer. This is well illustrated by the fact that the ruling market price for brown-shelled eggs is lower than that for the white-shelled. There is absolutely no reason for such discrimination. A complete and careful investigation, including both chemical and physical analyses, failed to indicate any difference between the nutritive value of the brown- and the white-shelled eggs.
When the public on the Pacific Coast shall be educated to a thorough appreciation of these facts, then will the raisers of poultry laying brown-shelled eggs receive the same encouragement accorded the raisers of poultry laying white-shelled eggs.
In conclusion, it might be well to reiterate that the main object of the law is not to harass or hamper any well-intentioned producer or manufacturer. It is designed to protect the honest manufacturer from the competition of the dishonest one, to insure to the consumer pure, wholesome foods, and to educate and enlighten all sides on the question of pure foods and drugs.
M. E. JAFFA.
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.
SACRAMENTO, SEPTEMBER, 1907.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH. MARTIN REGENSBURGER, M.D., President,
F. K. AINSWORTH, M.D.
San Francisco San Francisco A. C. HART, M.D.
Sacramento WALLACE A. BRIGGS, M.D., Vice-President,
O. STANSBURY, M.D.
N. K. FOSTER, M.D., Secretary Sacramento
STATE BUREAU OF VITAL STATISTICS. N. K. FOSTER, M.D., State Registrar. Sacramento | GEORGE D. LESLIE, Statistician..----- Sacramento
STATE HYGIENIC LABORATORY. ARCHIBALD R. WARD, D.V.M., Director..
University of California, Berkeley
PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION MEETINGS. The following program has been issued by the California Public Health Association for the meeting at Woodland on October 25th: 11:00 A, M. Address by President,
Dr. A. E. OSBORNE, Santa Clara, Cal. 11:30 A. M. Experiences of a Health Officer,
Dr. J. B. WRIGHT, San José, Cal.
(Director Pure Food Laboratory.)
Dr. W. F. SNOW, Stanford University.
Dr. C. C. BROWNING, Monrovia, Cal. All health officers and members of boards of health wishing to attend should send their names and official position to the Secretary, Dr N. K. Foster, at Sacramento, who will forward them to Dr. F. K. Ainsworth, Chief Surgeon of the Southern Pacific Railroad, who will furnish half-fare rates, good for five days before and five days after the meeting. With an excellent program and cheap rates this should be the fullest meeting we have ever had.
The Health Officers of Southern California held a meeting and banquet at the Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, September 28th, and organized with the following officers : Dr. C. C. Valle, of San Diego, President; Dr. Stanley P. Black, of Pasadena, Vice-President; Dr. W. W. Roblee, of Riverside, Secretary and Treasurer.
Every one interested in public health matters is admitted to membership.
During the session, which began at 10 o'clock, papers relating to milk were read by Dr. A. E. Rishel, chief inspector of the Bureau of Animal Industry; George W. Hood, milk inspector; E. H. Miller, city chemist of Los Angeles; Dr. L. M. Powers, health officer of Los Angeles; Dr. George H. Kress, of the California State Medical Society; and Dr. Stanley P. Black, of Pasadena.
As the health officers of the south are in no way behind in the usual energy shown in that part of the State, this association will be a power for good. They will work now with organization instead of as individuals, laws will be drawn that are uniform, and mutual assistance rendered in the enforcement. The semi-annual meetings will be a means of bringing the health officers into closer relations with each other, and with better acquaintance and the discussions of topics of interest to all, each one will be stronger and better equipped for his work.
The third semi-annual session of the Central California Health Officers' Association met in the rooms of the Board of Health in Fresno, October 8th. The program was short, but more than made up in quality if it lacked anything in quantity.
The first paper was on Vaccination, by Dr. S. W. R. Langdon, Health Officer of Stockton. He traced the terrible path of smallpox from the earliest historical times, and told of the millions who died yearly. This was contrasted with the time succeeding the introduction of vaccination, when, in well-vaccinated countries, smallpox almost entirely disappeared.
Dr. T. M. Hayden, Health Officer of Fresno, presented a paper on Milk. The doctor contends, and rightly, that the human mother should furnish a proper supply of milk for her own young, but as she does not, it is no less than criminal to furnish the child a supply full of filth from the stable. He outlined rules that would give better results and lessen the morbidity and mortality of the State.
The discussion of the papers was interesting and showed the deep interest taken in the questions by the health officers.
The San Joaquin Valley Medical Association voted to make the Central California Health Officers' Association an auxiliary of its society and devote a part of each meeting to hearing its papers. This will broaden its influence and be the means of closer union of health officers and physicians.
ANTI-PLAGUE OPERATIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO. Herewith are presented extracts from recent reports of the antiplague operations in San Francisco, showing the work done in districts for the weeks specified:
WORK DONE IN DISTRICTS.
Week ended October 5, 1907–
Number of sick inspected, 48; plague, 0; suspicious, 18; negative, 30.