New York Times
PURE FOOD BILL STIRS THE
HOUSE TO INTEREST
Short-weight Packages and Doctored Cherries Shown.
BEE EMBALMED IN GLUCOSE
Ingenious Fraud of a "Honey Manufacturer — Patent Medicine Men Denounced
Special to The New York Times.
WASHINGTON, June 21. — It was late this afternoon when the Pure Food bill came up in the House, and all day there had been standing in front of the Speaker’s desk two tables covered with bottles, boxes, jars, and cans enough to suggest a wholesale grocery drummer’s layout. Hardly a member of the House failed to inspect the exhibit and try most of the articles on the scales on one of the tables. Several Senators came over from the other end of the Capitol to take a look at the exhibit.
Representative Mann of Chicago, a member of the Committee on Inter-State and Foreign Commerce, who has been especially interest in the subject of pure food, was the only speaker of the day. He spoke from his desk for nearly an hour, part of the time keeping up a running fire with interrupters from all over the House. The he went up to the exhibit, and as chief demonstrator, with Stevens of Minnesota as assistant, he gave an illustrated lecture on fraudulent foods that continued until adjournment at 6 o’clock.
To Tax Patent Medicines
Mr. Mann denounced sharply the way in which members of the Proprietary Association advertise their medicines, and more vigorously the method they have of including intoxicants and poisons under names of harmless ingredients. He said that he would put in The Record, but would not take time then to read several instances where death had been caused by taking such patent medicines, and referred to material which had been furnished him by Samuel Hopkins Adams, who has been making a crusade in a New York periodical against patent medicines.
"The proprietary Medicine Association is powerful because it is the greatest advertiser in the country," he said. "It is endeavoring in every way possible to prevent from going into the bill the provision requiring the members to print on the label on the outside the exact contents of the package and to say whether it contains opium, cocaine, acetanylide, or any of those poisons.
"We have been urged to support the Senate bill because it is stronger than ours, and prevents the use of opium, when as a matter of fact it doesn’t contain a line on the subject. I have received letters from physicians in my city urging me to support the Senate bill on that ground. Only this morning I received a letter from the Secretary of the American Medical Association taking the same ground. The method of this is perfectly obvious. It is plain what is behind this widespread movement. The Proprietary Association has in some manner falsified the situation about this bill and given the country the impression that the Senate bill had the clause and the House bill has it not, whereas, it is in the House bill, which puts in the clause the Senate left out.
"The great mass of our foods are not adulterated," Mr. Mann went on, "and since the pure food agitation began there has been a marked reduction in the quality of adulteration and the number of cases. Yet everywhere the honest dealer is met with competition by adulterated or short weight goods."
Pepper of Tapioca
He cited the case of an extract maker in Ohio who advertised that with his extracts any liquor that is drunk could be make much cheaper than in the natural way. Then he told about a "pepper filler" that is used so extensively that it is quoted in five-ton lots.
"Even the whole pepper berries are made out of tapioca and colored with lamp black," he declared.
The he read an advertisement of "Mocha and Java coffee at 22 cents a pound — value 30 cents — blended of old Government Java and Arabian Mocha."
"More than 25 per cent of the coffee sold in the United States is sold as Mocha and Java," Mr. Mann continued. "There were over a billion pounds of coffee imported into the country last year. Only 2,000,000 pounds were Mocha and only a little over 10,000,000 pounds were Java, but that less than 13,000,000 of mocha and Java beat all records, for out of it was sold more than 250,000,000 pounds at prices as high as if sold under its proper name. Most of the Mocha and Java coffee sold here comes from Brazil, but some of it is made out of sawdust and some of it out of bread. Of course ground coffee is adulterated in many ways.
"Since this bill was reported there have been an number of amendments suggested to the committee and urged by members of the House. There was a striking similarity in some of these amendments, which suggested a common origin. They were finally traced to the Columbia Egg and Provision Company of New York City, which is in the business of importing rotten eggs preserved in boric acid. These people say they want a fair pure food bill, but they want Section 14 of this bill eliminated entirely. This is the section which will put a stop to their business. They want a pure food law, but not one which will apply to the business of importing rotten eggs."
"What do they use such eggs for?" he was asked.
"Partly to color oleomargarine and partly in confectionery and bakers’ articles," replied Mr. Mann.
Then he exhibited a bottle of luscious looking red cherries. "These were picked green," he said, "and all their color taken out with acid. Then they were colored with analine dye and preserved in something that is called maraschino."
He showed a piece of cloth of a brilliant scarlet color that he said had been colored with the dye taken from a similar bottle.
"I don’t know if it would kill anybody to eat all of these cherries at once or not," he said. "I believe they are usually taken one at a time.
Then he showed a can of genuine olive
(2) brand, and description, and sold at the same price, but containing in fact cotton-seed oil. The counterfeit sample, he said came from the Union League Club of Philadelphia.
The next exhibit was a bottle of sulphide of soda and red coal-tar dye, which, under the euphonious name of "Freezem," is advertised as a preservative which will do away with the necessity of cold storage.
There was an unusually large attendance in the House while this was going on, and tow or three times when Mr. Mann seemed to have reached the end of his lecture there were emphatic cries of "Go on! Go on!"
A sample of "honey" evoked from Man an enthusiastic tribute to the inventive genius of the man who put it up. It was a bottle labeled "Pure Honey."
"Here is where the ingenuity of man reaches a high point," said Mr. Mann. "This stuff is composed of glucose. It never saw the side of a bee hive, and came only from a glucose factory. Who would have supposed that ingenuity would go so far?"
The he showed three cans of tomatoes, each bought for a three-pound can, and no two of them weighed the same. One was 11 ˝ ounces short, one 6 ˝, and one 5 ˝. This was to illustrate the necessity for the provision of the bill requiring the contents to be given on the label by weight or measure. He said he had been buying this sort of stuff for a long time, and had found that not a grocery clerk knew that the sizes of the cans were not actual. Clerks always speak of "three-pound cans" as if they believe that such cans can actually contain three pounds. There is a regular business in short-weight good, Mr. Man declared.
The demonstration will go on to-morrow.