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In 1886 the Congress was forced to fall in line with the 32 States which had passed anticolor laws. In that year it passed the Grout bill, taxing artificially colored oleomargarine 10 cents per pound and uncolored oleomargarine one fourth cent per pound.
Evasions of this law became rampant when it was learned that the use of palm oil in oleomargarine would give the compound a yellow color. When American Agriculture turned against the manufacturers for using a foreign oil, they con: ceived a concoction of sulfur and cottonseed oil to achieve the desired effect. It was then necessary to enact a more stringent color law in 1931 to stamp out these abuses.
In the light of such a history of fraud and deceit it scarcely seems credible that the Congress would countenance the removal of these taxes--the only method by which effective control may be maintained, the public protected, and the farmer insured of a market for his product.
We sincerely trust that this committee will exercise sufficient understanding and breadth of vision to perceive the irreparable harm that would be inflicted upon a large segment of our farm economy by this legisaltive experiment—the repeal measure here proposed.
B. B. DERRICK, Secretary-Treasurer.
FORT COLLINS, Colo., May 13, 1948, Senator EUGENE D. MILLIKIN, Chairman, Finance Committee, United States Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MILLIKIN : You have among your many duties a very far-reaching responsibility thrust upon you and your Finance Committee members in the recent legislative move to pass the oleo law. As a long resident of Colorado, a graduate of its State college at Fort Collins, and for some 8 years its director of extension service, working in every part on agricultural development and farm home improvements, I may have accumulated sufficient background upon this very much discussed question to warrent consideration.
The arguments on both sides are long and many, to be sure. The essentials are, I believe, that of avoiding insofar as possible substitution of one type of food product unknowingly for another. One, the oleo with its many and varied fat derivatives and its added synthetic vitamin A and color is made to simulate the other, butter, a strictly milk product. The one-quarter cent per pound on the uncolored and 10 cents per pound on the colored with attendant license fees, are simply controls in this protection required against unknowing substitution and fraud. Ordinary labeling does not suffice in this highly profitable substitution program. The introduction of synthetic vitamin A to oleomargarine on the same basis as butter, the duplications of churning procedures used for butter, simulating of flavors and fat processing all to the end of taking the place of butter, make these controls in our opinion absolutely essential until better controls are brought to bear.
The citizenry of this Nation are dependent upon a sound, well-balanced agriculture. This program extends far beyond dairying.
Break down the protection on butterfat in the form of butter, then "filled" milk, ice cream, cheese and synthetic substitutions in these dairy products are sure to follow in rapid sucession. Every milk product is closely interrelated and any distress on one is soon felt in all others.
May I mention two more closely related experience of background on the above. On leaving State college my first work was that of assisting the internal revenue agent, Mr. Love, of Denver, in tracking down the remaining moonshiners of oleomargarine (those who color and sell as butter). They were the last of desperate violators in Colorado. Next we protected with legislation against "filled milk” substitution. My hope from all this background would be not to see opened this field.for substitution on these widely produced farm products in that our agricultural economy will suffer and no one in particular will benefit beyond the processors, chemical houses, and vendors of these synthetics.
For the good of all I will be grateful if some contribution to these problems may have been made in the above. Good luck. Sincerely yours,
MCDONALD COOPERATIVE DAIRY CO.,
Flint 3, Mich., May 27, 1948. Senator EUGENE D. MILLÍKIN,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Oleo legislation will change. American agriculture so that we will be a cereal-eating people rather than a meat-eating people. With the reduction in soil fertility it is questionable what the nutritive value of the cereal will be. Naturally this will not happen overnight, but it is definitely in the picture if dairy producers are to be discouraged by the passing of oleo legislation.
It seems to me that you must have heard all of the pros and cons of this ques tion by now. To me your problem is one of weighing the evidence and putting the emphasis on the right arguments.
Dairying is the backbone of American agriculture. To me, anything that hurts dairying hurts agriculture. Anything that hurts the farmer as much as this legislation is bad for the United States.
I know that your committee is busy, but I do hope that they weigh the evidence carefully, and not be swayed by the $6,000,000 propaganda campaign that has been running for the past 12 months. Yours very truly,
McDONALD COOPERATIVE DAIRY Co.,
CINCINNATI, OHIO, May 18, 1948. Chairman EUGENE D. MILLIKIN,
Senate Committee on Finance: Understand Joseph Fichtner, master of Ohio Grange, indicated that we Ohio margarine manufacturers are opposed to H. R. 2245 because of the present Ohio law. Certainly we favor immediate enactment of H. R. 2245 and Ohioans are using every bit of initiative to repeal Ohió prohibition against manufacture and sale of yellow margarine. Witness had no right or authority to reflect our views in any way on this matter and we desire this telegram be inserted in the record.
J. P. WHITEHURST,
NILËS, Mich., May 19, 1948. Hon. EUGENE D. MILLIKIN,
Senate Office Building: Milk producers in every State will deeply deplore their inability to present their cause because of short time allotted them for hearing on oleo issue we honestly request that hearings be continued until a fair presentation of the issue can be made.
W. G. ARMSTRONG, Master, Michigan State Grange.
MILK DRIVERS AND DAIRY EMPLOYEES UNION, LOCAL No. 471,
Minneapolis 14, Minn., May 14, 1948. Senator EUGENE MILLIKEN, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. O. DEAR SIR: I have been informed by the Secretary of our Midstates East Coast Dairy Workers Conference, Mr. Frank Gillespie, Chicago, Ill., that, because of time limits placed on the oleomargarine hearing before the committee, it will be impossible to appear before your committee to present our views. Therefore, I am submitting them in writing to you.
We are not opposed to the sale of oleomargarine, but we are opposed to oleomargarine being colored the same as butter. Our position is based on the following facts as we see them:
1. The consuming public should be able to detect oleomargarine from butter without a laboratory test.
2. If oleomargarine is colored like butter, it invites fraud, particularly in public eating places and bulk sales.
3. Successful imitation would seriously damage the future of dairy workers and dairy farmers in our State.
4. Oleomargarine today is sold at an exorbitant price, based on the cost of ingredients and the labor costs in processing. ! 5. Successful imitation by oleomargarine would principally benefit approximately 24 large business combines, and would injure the consuming public and the millions of dairy workers and dairy farmers alike.
I am enclosing a copy of a resolution adopted by a Statewide Dairy Workers Conference on May 4; and on their behalf I am urging you and your committee to consider our views on this subject. Very truly yours,
GENE LARSON, Chairman, Minnesota Conference of Dairy Workers.
| Adopted at Stewards' Conference, Hotel Dyckman, Minneapolis, May 4, 1948
Whereas, the dairy industry is the basic industry of our State, and
Whereas, butter is a staple and healthful food product, essential to the American table menu, and
Whereas, there is no substitute with the same health-giving ingredients, and
Whereas, today certain interests are sponsoring a bill in Congress permitting oleomargarine manufacturers to color oleomargarine to imitate butter, and
Whereas, we do not oppose the sale of oleomargarine if not colored like butter, but do oppose oleomargarine. being colored to immitate butter, therefore, be it
Resolved, That each delegate write to their Senators, asking them to vote “no” on the bill permitting oleomargarine to be colored the same as butter : be it further resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to Senator Eugene Millikin, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
MILWAUKEE COOPERATIVE MILK PRODUCERS,
Milwaukee 5, Wis., May 12, 1948. Hon. EUGENE D. MILLIKIN, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee,
312 Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MILLIKIN: Thank you for your wire of May 11. I am sorry that you have to limit the oleomargarine tax bill hearing to 2 days, for I do not think that adequate testimony can be given in so short a time. However, I am submitting the following statement as you suggested, and trust that it will get consideration by your committee :
Urban consumers should be interested in close regulation, if not a prohibitive tax, on all imitations of dairy products for their own protection and the protection of the people who will follow them.
History is replete with examples of what happened to civilization when land has been eroded and blown away by the wind because the soil has not been protected. The best protection for soil is grass which keeps water from washing it away and wind from blowing it. In order to induce farmers to keep more land in grass, a fair price for livestock products must be paid and butter cannot be produced in competition with vegetable oil and oils imported from the Orient.
When the 10-cent tax on colored oleo was levied it was thought that this tax would keep colored oleo from being sold, but that is not the case today, for oleo can be produced so much cheaper than butter that the manufacturers could .color their product and pay the tax and still make plenty of money.
The question, I think, before Congress is whether it ought to preserve the soil that we have left (and we do not have too much left in some of our States, because of soil depletion) by inducing farmers to keep more land in grass, which 'they will not do unless they get fair returns from the products of the animals that eat the grass. Congress by such action, would protect all of the people, and on those grounds I say that a prohibitive tax on colored oleo is justified, and not from the narrow standpoint of helping the farmer. In other words, taxing oleo so that butter may bring fair enough returns so that farmers will keep livestock in large number is the sound ground for taxing dairy imitations.
Congress should bear in mind that removing the tax on colored oleo will open the door to any number of frauds in the manufacture and sale of foods. There is no question that if colored oleo is tax-free, vegetable fats will be used to make cheese, ice cream, and used with skim milk and probably water to take the place of fluid milk. Sincerely yours,
CHARLES DINEEN, Secretary.
MINNESOTA DAIRY INDUSTRY COMMITTEE,
St. Paul 8, Minn., May 5, 1948. Senator EUGENE D. MILLIKIN,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MILLIKIN : There has been referred to your committee the bill repealing the regulatory measures controlling the sale and manufacture of oleomargarine. Few people understand the fundamental importance of this measure to every citizen of our United States. The dairy cow is the only machine that has been given us to transform the grasses of our pasture, the legumes and other hay and rough forage crops of the farm into milk, the most vital and nutritious food given man by Divine Providence and an essential to man's well-being from the cradle to the grave.
The present regulatory measures controlling the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine were passed, not as an industry protection measure, but to protect the general public from fraud. I enclose excerpts crop the First Biennial Report of the Dairy Commissioner of the State of Minnesota made 62 years ago. You will see from this report that as long ago as 62 years, oleo manufacturers attempted to sell oleo, not as oleo, but as butter, and for the price of butter. I also enclose a pamphlet published by the National Cooperative Milk Producers Federation entitled “Nine Reasons Why the Federal Oleo Laws Should Be Retained."
We believe that a study of the prices that have been charged for yellow colored oleomargarine within the past few weeks in Washington will show that they are considerably above what the price would be were only the 10-cent tax added to the price of uncolored oleomargarine. In other words, our belief is that the consumer is being greatly misled in the belief that he is going to get cheaper oleomargarine or only have a slight additional price added if the present control measures are repealed. Oleo propagandists and those who delude themselves with the thought that they will be saving anything if the 10-cent tax on colored oleo'margarine is removed, certainly will believe Grimm's Fairy Tales. It just won't happen that way.
Dairy farmers today are facing a critical situation with costs constantly increasing and supply this year at least 5 percent below last year and on the down trend. Butter is an essential part of the dairy industry and its place cannot be taken by the sale of market milk or other products. Farms producing butterfat in many cases are not located near consuming populations. Butter is a concentrated form of dairy food which can be shipped practically anywhere in the United States for 2 cents per pound. On the other hand, many remote localities could not possibly ship market milk or cream. Furthermore, cows produce approximately twice as much milk in the pasture months of May and June as they do, for instance, in November and December. It is absolutely necessary for the welfare of the dairy industry and the consumer to have a means of storing production during the summer months of large production for use in the months when production is cut in half, and butter is the best means of doing this.
Furthermore, two-thirds of the value of the milk is in the solids, not fat. Last year 1,000,000,000 pounds of dry milk were sold in the United States, most of which did not contain butterfat. If there is not a ready market for the butterfat, this most important food product will not be available for the public.
In our opinion, your committee faces one of the gravest responsibilities that has ever faced the Congress so far as agriculture is concerned. It is estimated that in 1947 68 percent of the cows and heifers slaughtered in the United States under Federal inspection came from dairy herds. Around 40 percent of the total beef produced in the United States in Federal-inspected packing plants in 1947 came from dairy herds. No more vital problem confronts the people of the United States than that of soil conservation. The dairy cow is indispensable in maintaining fertility in our soil and the production of food. If the proposals of the oleo lobby are accepted by the Congress, the dairy industry of this country has probably received a fatal blow. It will not be immediate because of present world food conditions. It will, however, be almost inevitable.
Anything interfering with the profitable production of butter would immediately upset the balance in the large markets around our cities where there is almost twice as much milk to dispose of in the summer months and there must be an outlet for this butterfat in a form which can be stored, or the price of milk must be raised, as the dairy farmer cannot possibly continue to operate with any less yearly return than he is now receiving. Again, without question, if the price of butterfat is reduced, which it will be if oleomargarine tax and regulatory measures are repealed, the price of fluid milk will inevitably need to be raised if it is to be produced by dairy farmers.
You have never heard dairymen object to other spreads for bread, provided the public knows just what they are, even if they are called “butter"; for instance, peanut butter, apple butter, and plum butter are all good spreads for bread, and the dairymen never object to the use of the term "butter.” There is nothing to prevent the oleomargarine manufacturers either selling oleomargarine uncolored, or using a distinctive color which would let the product be sold for just what it is. On the other hand, in order to imitate butter and deprive the farmers of the market which they have had since Bible times for yellow butter, the oleomargarine manufacturers are using diacetyl, which imparts a characteristic butter flavor to oleomargarine. A preservative is permitted to be used in the manufacture of oleomargarine. Neither of these chemicals can be used in butter. There is absolutely no reason to use these products except to deceive the consumer. As stated at the beginning of this letter, this bill involves the fertility of our soil, the supply of the greatest of all foods, and the welfare of a large segment of the agricultural population of the United States.
Finally, why do the oleo propagandists insist on the yellow color? They advance all sorts of arguments. Judging the future by the past, there is only one answer and that is so that it may be manufactured, sold, and consumed in imitation of butter. We urge that the present regulatory measures be retained unless the manufacturers of oleo will agree to adopt some distinctive color other than yellow, or so identify their product that it can be neither manufactured, sold, nor consumed as anything but exactly what it is. If the oleo manufacturers will agree to do this, the dairy industry will, in my opinion, go right along with them, asking the repeal of the present regulatory and tax measures. Sincerely yours,
W. S. MOSCRIP, President, Minnesota Dairy Industry Committee.
EXCERPTS FROM THE FIRST BIENNIAL REPORT OF THE DAIRY COMMISSIONER OF THE
STATE OF MINNESOTA
The First Biennial Report of the Dairy Commissioner deals to a considerable extent with oleomargarine because the law was created to regulate that product. The report states that “these goods were not presented to the people as substitutes for butter and offered upon their merits, and sold for their value, but as to the best of butter, and for the highest value of that article."
It further declared that “Minnesota is the first to establish a standard against the most unblushing fraud in food that has ever been practiced in this country. Its benefits are many, and, let us hope, will be the awakening of the public mind to the enormity of the frauds in the foods and drinks of the American people, and a united and determined effort to remove them.”
The report laments the plight of the people who patronize public eating establishments. It comments upon the tremendous sale of oleomargarine to large users. “Their customers were mostly restaurant, boarding house keepers, and hotels who bought it by the tub. This class of purchasers knew they were buying bogus butter—the contents were made into little round pats and placed by each boarder's plate.”
Perhaps the case of Butler v. Chambers (36 M. 69; 30 N. W. 308) decided in November 1886 and which established the powers and scope of the Minnesota law can illustrate the extent of the fraud being practiced by oleomargarine dealers.
The case decides the constitutionality of section 4, chapter 149, laws of 1885. This section reads as follows: “No person shall manufacture out of any oleaginous substance or substances, or any compound of the same, or any compound other than that produced from unadulterated milk, or cream from the same, any article designed to take the place of butter or cheese, produced from pure, unadulterated milk, or cream from the same, or shall sell, or offer for sale, the same as an article of food. This shall not apply to pure skim milk cheese, made from pure skim milk.
“The defendant contends that these provisions fall within the general police powers of the State, and are therefore valid. Chapter 133, Laws of 1881, 'An