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attached to such terms, is absolutely wrong and unjust in every respect. Until the public realizes its mistake in this respect and consents to accept such articles for what they are, it will be very difficult indeed to prevent merchants from trying to cover up their true character.
LABELS AND ADVERTISING.
From what has been said it should be clearly evident that the main trouble to be cared for in supervising the sale of articles of food, is false representation of the true character, nature and composition thereof. In the last analysis, the Food and Drug Acts, owe their existence to an endeavor to see to it that the purchaser gets what he pays for and is not given that which he not only does not want but which is of inferior value to that for which he presumes he is paying. There is a current opinion that the question of the healthfulness of foods should be emphasized by this department. Whereas this is true to a certain extent, the department feels that it has little jurisdiction in the matter as to whether or not a more or less healthful or wholesome article is offered for sale. It simply concerns itself, first, last, and always, with the exertion of every means at its command to compel merchants not to misrepresent articles of food in any way, shape or manner. For instance, it is no concern of the department as to whether a man wishes to purchase fresh butter, renovated butter, or oleomargarine, but the department intends to see to it that persons get what they ask for and do not pay the price of fresh creamery butter for renovated.
In order to assure to the consumer the privilege of exercising his judgment in making purchases, several laws have been adopted by the Federal and State Government and also by the Interstate Commerce Commission, to the effect that such products as oleomargarine, renovated butter, cold storage eggs, etc., shall be labeled plainly and unmistakably, not only in the original packages in which they come into any particular store but also in the refrigerator, in the
show case, on the counter, in the display window or wherever they happen to be exposed or offered for sale. To see to it that such labeling is properly and legally performed, comes under the jurisdiction of the work and authority of this department. But it must be remembered that inspectors cannot be in every store, restaurant, and hotel at every hour of the day. If, therefore, false labeling or fraudulent advertising is practiced, the consumer should immediately notify this department of such facts and failing so to do should not complain if he is occasionally imposed upon. In the last analysis, however stringent the food laws may be, however exact labeling and advertising requirements are, and however large the number of inspectors at work, the final act of any specific imposition or false representation to a particular purchaser, rests upon him alone for its fulfllment. A little care and observation on the part of the purchaser, will go a long way toward the gradual elimination of false labeling and fraudulent advertising. Nothing will deter such practices as rapidly as the open and manifest disapproval of them by public opinion. To the public, the merchant must look for his trade and for the means of gaining his livelihool. How that trade shall be conducted, how far the merchant may go, in nefarious practices, rests on the public alone. The offering for sale of fresh grass butter at 45c per pound in the month of January, when there is no fresh grass butter on the market and when the price of fresh butter averages 70c. a pound, should be warning sufficient. Neither should newspaper advertisements, offering strictly fresh eggs at 50c. per dozen when the market price is 80c. per dozen, hoodwink an individual into thinking that he is actually getting strictly fresh eggs at a bargain. Instances of this nature are not uncommon and it behooves the consumer to exercise vigilant care against them.
Obviously, the whole subject of food control and its accompanying inspection work, is inextricably interwoven with the personal problems of providing for the household
and the table. Herein enters a purely personal element, the question of personal taste and preferences. How far food control work influences these things cannot be measured in accurate terms. How far the aims of this work should be is another unsolved problem. The opportunities for service and for improvement are limitless in their ramifications. The amount of energy, time and money that can be spent in the control of food articles is likewise beyond measure. The whole question simply resolves itself into how much of the exercises of personal functions, the public wishes to delegate to official action. There is a point, however, of diminishing returns to the individual in this respect and it would seem to be for the best interest of all parties concerned, not to infringe in any way, shape or manner upon the privacy of household and family affairs' but simply to see to it that all foods are offered or exposed for sale in their true character and their true nature and to leave the rest to individual initiative.
Early in October of 1917 the Federal Food Administration requested this department to make a survey of the conditions under which bread was sold, especially to find to what extent it was sold without a wrapper, also what percentage would weigh up to the net weight marked upon the wrapper, and the price charged for the same.
In accordance with this request inspectors were detailed to the principal cities of the State to find out from bakers, wholesalers and retailers to what extent the bread would come up to the requirements printed on the wrapper. Three hundred and twelve inspections were made and in only a very few cases did the goods come up to the weight printed on the wrappers.
The rapid increase in the price of four had caused a diminution in the size of the loaves, and in many cases they were still using their old wrappers, but in nearly every
instance agreed to obtain new wrappers to meet changed conditions as soon as possible.
We are confident that this survey was of very material advantage to the purchasers of bread.
LICENSING OF MANUFACTURERS, DEALERS AND USERS OF OLEOMARGARINE OR RENOVATED
BUTTER Chapter 264, Public Acts of 1917, provides that no person shall manufacture, sell, offer or expose for sale, or have in his possession, with intent to sell or use, oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter unless annually licensed by the Dairy and Food Commissioner. Applications for such licenses shall be accompanied by the following fee payable to the Treasurer of the State:
For making oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter, twenty-five dollars;
For selling oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter in quantities of more than ten pounds, five dollars;
For selling oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter at retail, in quantities of not more than ten pounds, two dollars;
For the use of oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter by an hotel, restaurant or dining room, one dollar.
This law has had a very beneficial effect on the control of the above mentioned products, but I would recommend that the license fees be increased as follows:
For making oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter, fifty dollars;
For selling oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter in quantities of more than ten pounds, twenty-five dollars;
For selling oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter at retail, in quantities of not more
than ten pounds, ten dollars;
For the use of oleomargarine, butterine or renovated butter by a bakery, hotel, restaurant or dining room, five dollars.
Oleomargarine is an imitation product susceptible to fraud and deception, and it should be under close supervision. The license fee should be adequate to cover all expense incident thereto. A higher license would also be treated with more respect, as we find that not only the licensee but even Court officials feel that it is only a matter of small concern where there is such a small license fee charged.
Two thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight inspections of stores, hotels and restaurants under the new license law have been made, and a large number of violations were found. Many of these, however, were through ignorance of the law, and it has been the policy of this department to educate dealers and users to a full meaning of the law for the first year rather than to wage a vigorous campaign of prosecution.
We are now well started on the second year of this license law, and there is at this time a close survey being made of the manner in which wholesalers, retailers and users are observing this new law, and while we find a great many slow to renew licenses, yet town and city prosecutors are loathe to bring action on so-called "first offenses". Many of them, however, have issued letters of warning to persons or firms who have been found by our inspectors violating the oleomargarine law, stating that unless they complied immediately and renewed their license at the proper time they would be prosecuted to the extent of the law.
There has been no attempt by this department to discredit the use of imitation butter, but as in the case of other food products it must be sold under the supervision provided by the statutes.