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The Fox Guards the Henhouse: Saccharin's Discoverer Decides It is Safe to Eat

FDA History 05
by Harvey W. Wiley, M.D., the very first commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), then known as the “US Bureau of Chemistry.”

     It has often been said that, to make discoveries, one must be ignorant. 
  This opinion, mistaken in itself, nevertheless conceals a truth. It means that 
  it is better to know nothing than to keep in mind fixed ideas based on 
  theories whose confirmation we constantly seek, neglecting meanwhile 
  everything that fails to agree with them. * * *
     "Men who have excessive faith in their theories or ideas are not only ill 
  prepared for making discoveries; they also make very poor observations. Of 
  necessity they observe with a preconceived idea, and when they devise an 
  experiment, they can see, in its results, only a confirmation of their theory. 
  In this way they distort observation and often neglect very important facts 
  because they do not further their aim. This is what made us say elsewhere that 
  we must never make experiments to confirm our ideas, but simply to control 
  them; which means, in other terms, that one must accept the results of 
  experiments as they come, with all their unexpectedness and irregularity.
     "But it happens further quite naturally that men who believe too firmly in 
  their theories, do not believe enough in the theories of others. So the 
  dominant idea of these despisers of their fellows is to find others' theories 
  faulty and to try to contradict them. The difficulty, for science, is still 
  the same. They make experiments only to destroy a theory, instead of to seek 
  the truth. At the same time, they make poor observations, because they choose 
  among the results of their experiments only what suits their object, 
  neglecting whatever is unrelated to it, and carefully setting aside everything 
  which might tend toward the idea they wish to combat. By these two opposite 
  roads, men are thus led to the same result, that is, to falsify science and 
  the facts." 
   From Experimental Medicine, by Claude Bernard, pages 37 and 38.

   In the enactment of the Food Law the Congress plainly provided the mechanism 
of its enforcement. There was no provision in the law for any additional 
machinery. It was evident that the Bureau of Chemistry was the dominant factor 
in bringing offenders of the law before the Courts. Those who "felt the halter 
draw" had "no good opinion of the law" as the poet has pertinently and wittily 
said. The elimination of the Bureau was therefore the thing of prime importance. 
The President of the United States seems to have taken the initiative in this 
   President Roosevelt wrote to the various universities to secure a chemist, 
not to replace me, but to be placed in such a position as to counteract all my 
activities. Accordingly on the recommendation of President Angell of Ann Arbor 
the President issued an order permitting Dr. Frederick L. Dunlap to be 
appointed, without Civil Service examination, as associate chemist in the Bureau 
of Chemistry without being subject to the orders of the Chief of that Bureau, 
but reporting directly to the Secretary. (Moss Committee, page 921.)
   In order to make this point perfectly clear I quote the following from page 
849, Moss Committee:
   MR. MOSS: " It is also stated in the record that a board of food and drug 
inspection was organized to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on matters 
concerning which the Pure-food law says he must make a decision."
   SECRETARY WILSON: "That is substantially correct."
   MR. MOSS: " These two boards were created by executive order?"
   MR. MOSS: "Then the powers and the duties of either one of the boards were 
fixed by executive order and not by statute?"
   SECRETARY WILSON: "That is right. I do not think there was any special order 
sent to me to do that, but President Roosevelt appealed to the presidents of the
big universities to get an additional chemist put on there and that brought Dr. 
Dunlap from Ann Arbor. So I doubt if I had a special order, although there was a 
very clear understanding what was to be done."
   MR. MOSS: "The question I had in mind was that the Board of Food and Drug 
Inspection was not created by statute but was created by executive order."
   SECRETARY WILSON: "That is what I was doubting. It was not created by 
statute. I created it for the purpose of getting information and all that, but 
of the three gentlemen on the board, two were in the Department, and in bringing 
in Dr. Dunlap, an additional chemist, made the third one, so technically there 
was no general order of the President to do that, but there was a clear 
understanding that it would be done. "
   We should not forget that in the legislation of Congress specific duties are 
often assigned to particular units of administration of a character which does 
not permit of executive interference. I may cite in this connection the 
activities of the Comptroller of the Treasury. To the Comptroller of the 
Treasury is assigned by Congress certain specific duties. Even the President of 
the United States can not legally interfere with the Comptroller's prerogatives. 
The story is told of a case in the Grant administration where the decision of 
the Comptroller was particularly objectionable to certain citizens. They went to 
the President and asked him to rescind the comptroller's opinion. President 
Grant, who believed in obeying the law, replied that he could not legally alter 
a comptroller's decision. He said:
     "If I thought it was a very bad decision I might change comptrollers and 
  get one who would decide the way I think he should. In this case there does 
  not seem to be any exigency demanding any such action." 
   The Bureau of Chemistry had specific duties assigned to it. Theoretically 
these duties could not be repealed by executive order. Practically in this case 
they were, but, of course, illegally. The proper way was to follow the 
suggestion of Grant, and remove the Chief of the Bureau and put Dunlap in his 
   Soon after the episode of the whisky conference, on February 22, 1907, was 
ended the Secretary of Agriculture walked into my office one morning in company 
with a young man whom I had never before seen, and introduced him as Professor 
F. L. Dunlap, your associate.
  I said:
     "Mr. Secretary, my what?"
  He said:
     "Your associate. I have appointed an associate in the Bureau of Chemistry 
  who will be entirely independent of the Chief and who will report directly to 
  me. During the absence of the Chief he will be acting chief of the Bureau." 
   I was astounded and dumbfounded at this action. He handed me at the same time 
the letter in which he had established this office and described the duties of 
the officer. Whatever qualification Dr. Dunlap had for the office to which he 
was appointed does not appear. In the first place he was to take the office of 
Acting Chief in my absence, a position which was filled most ably by Dr. W. A 
Bigelow, my principal assistant in the Bureau. Dr. Bigelow had rare judgment and 
discrimination. I depended upon him largely for the control of the personnel of 
the Bureau. He was efficient, firm, just and capable. He had grown up in the 
Bureau from a humble position to be, for several years, my first assistant.
   There was no one else so capable as he to discharge the duties of Chief in my 
absence. This action of the Secretary was a direct insult to one of the most 
able men with whom I have ever worked. At the same time he put in charge of the 
Bureau during the absence of the Chief a person who knew nothing of its 
personnel, nothing of its activities, nothing of its duties either under the 
food law or otherwise, and wholly unskilled and untrained in the control of a 
large Bureau of several hundred members, as was the Bureau of Chemistry at that 
time. This was an astounding action. At the same time I was informed that the 
Secretary had organized a Board of Food and Drug Inspection. Such a board was 
not authorized by law nor by any action of Congress, nor by any appropriation 
made by Congress. Its purpose was to take away from the Bureau all its power and 
activities under the Food Law. This body was composed of the Chief of the Bureau 
as Chairman, with Dr. F. L. Dunlap and Mr. George P. McCabe as its other two 
members. As long as Dr. Dunlap acted with Mr. McCabe--and that was always--all 
decisions in regard to food adulteration, placed by law in the hands of the 
Bureau of Chemistry, were approved or disapproved by the other two members of 
the Board. This was a complete paralysis of the law. This Board was appointed by 
General Order III, on April 25, 1907. The time that elapsed from February 22d, 
when the whisky case was erroneously decided by the Solicitor, to April 25th, 
1907, was only a little over two months. This order was issued before the final 
decision on the whisky question by the Attorney-General was published. The order 
reads as follows:
  United States Department of Agriculture,
  Office of the Secretary,
  Washington, D. C., April 25, 1907.
     There is hereby created in the Department of Agriculture a Board of Food 
  and Drug Inspection. The members of this board will be Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, 
  Chief, Bureau of Chemistry, chairman; Dr. Frederick L. Dunlap, associate 
  chemist, Bureau of Chemistry; and Mr. George P. McCabe, Solicitor of the 
  Department of Agriculture. The board will consider all questions arising in 
  the enforcement of the food and drugs act of June 30, 1906, upon which the 
  decision of the Secretary of Agriculture is necessary, and will report its 
  findings to the Secretary for his consideration and decision. All 
  correspondence involving interpretations of the law and questions arising 
  under the law not theretofore passed upon by the Secretary of Agriculture 
  shall be considered by the board. The board is directed to hold frequent 
  meetings, at stated times, in order that findings may be reported promptly.
     "In addition to the above duties, the Board of Food and Drug Inspection 
  shall conduct all hearings based upon alleged violations of the food and drugs 
  act of June 30, 1906, as provided by regulation 5 of the rules and regulations 
  for the enforcement of the food and drugs act approved October 17, 1906.
     (Signed) JAMES WILSON, Secretary of Agriculture.
  (Expenditures in Department of Agriculture, Hearings July-August, 1911, page 
   First you will note that this Board was created in the Department of 
Agriculture and not in the Bureau of Chemistry.
   The result of the appointment of a board of Food and Drug Inspection was that 
the functions of the Bureau as defined by the law were entirely paralyzed. The 
Solicitor of the Department was made, by General Order No. 140, the supreme 
arbiter in all cases. In all of the decisions which he rendered, without 
exception, the Secretary of Agriculture supported him.
   Encouraged by the success of the first effort to evade the provisions of the
law through the appointment of the Board of Food and Drug Inspection, the time 
was propitious to push the matter further. The services of President Roosevelt 
in securing the appointment of a chemist who would sympathize with the efforts 
to defeat the purpose of the law had made that result possible. There was still 
needed some further encouragement to attack the activities of the Bureau in the 
matter of what was injurious to health. Up to this time the decisions of the 
Bureau on these points had been respected. To eliminate the Bureau completely, 
some plan had to be devised to counteract the decisions reached. A remarkable 
incident made it possible to use the President of the United States in the 
accomplishment of this purpose. As an eye and ear witness of the event about to 
be described I am able now to set down exactly what occurred.
   Adulterators of our foods who were using benzoate of soda particularly in 
ketchup, and saccharin particularly in canned corn, had visited President 
Roosevelt and urged him to curb the activities of the Bureau of Chemistry in its 
opposition to these practices. They had spent the greater part of the day in the 
President's office. He promised to take these matters into consideration the 
very next day and asked these protestants to stay over. He invited the Secretary 
of Agriculture and the Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry to come to his office at 
ten o'clock on the day following and listen to the protests of the gentlemen 
mentioned above.
   At the appointed hour we all met in the President's office, or as I recall, 
in that part of his office where Cabinet meetings were usually held. When all 
were assembled he asked the protestants to repeat in the presence of the 
Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry the demands 
which they had made upon him the day before. The three chief protestants were 
Curtice Brothers of Rochester, N. Y., Williams Brothers of Detroit, Michigan, 
and Sherman Brothers of New York, represented by James S. Sherman, M.C., who was 
near his election as Vice-President of the United States in 1908. There were a 
number of lawyers and others closely related to the protestants, making a very 
goodly number in all. They were loath to repeat the charges but Mr. Roosevelt 
insisted that they should do so. Whereupon the representative of the ketchup 
industries spoke. He told the well-known "sob" story of how the business of 
putting up ketchup would be utterly destroyed if the decisions of the Bureau
banning benzoate were carried into effect. It was a touching and pathetic 
recital of the ultimate confiscation of hundreds of thousands of invested 
capital. There was no way in which this disaster could be diverted except to 
overrule the conclusions of the Bureau. The Chief of the Bureau was dramatically 
set forth as a radical, impervious to reason and determined to destroy 
legitimate business. After this recital was completed, Mr. Roosevelt turned to 
Mr. Wilson and said: "What is your opinion about the propriety and desirability 
of enforcing the rulings of your Chief of Bureau?" Mr. Wilson replied:
     " The law demands that substances which are added to foods for any purpose 
  which are deleterious to health shall be forbidden. Dr. Wiley made extensive 
  investigations in feeding benzoated goods to healthy young men and in every 
  instance he found that their health was undermined." 
   The President then asked me what I thought of this ruling. I replied as 
     "Mr. President, I don't think; I know by patient experiment, that benzoate 
  of soda or benzoic acid added to human food is injurious to health." 
   On hearing this opinion the President turned to the protestants, struck the 
table in front of him a stunning blow with his fist, and showing his teeth in 
the true Rooseveltian fashion, said to the protestants:
     "This substance that you are using is injurious to health and you shall not 
  use it any longer." 
   If matters had rested there the crowning blow to the food law would have been 
prevented. Mr. Sherman, however, took the floor and said:
     "Mr. President, there was another matter that we spoke to you about 
  yesterday that is not included in what you have just said about the use of 
  benzoate. I refer to the use of saccharin in foods. My firm last year saved 
  $4,000 by sweetening canned corn with saccharin instead of sugar. We want a 
  decision from you on this question." 
   Unfortunately I did not wait for the President to ask the customary 
questions. I was entirely too precipitate in the matter. I addressed the 
President without his asking me, which is considered an offense to royalty or to 
a President. In the presence of rulers, we should always wait until we are 
spoken to before joining in the conversation. Had I followed this precept of 
respect the catastrophe which happened might have been avoided. I immediately 
said to the President:
     "Every one who ate that sweet corn was deceived. He thought he was eating 
  sugar, when in point of fact he was eating a coal tar product totally devoid 
  of food value and extremely injurious to health." 
   This answer was the basis for the complete paralysis of the Food Law. Turning 
to me in sudden anger the President changed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, and 
     "You tell me that saccharin is injurious to health?" I said, "Yes, Mr. 
  President, I do tell you that." He replied, "Dr. Rixey gives it to me every 
  day." I answered, "Mr. President, he probably thinks you may be threatened 
  with diabetes." To this he retorted, "Anybody who says saccharin is injurious 
  to health is an idiot." 
   This remark of the President broke up the meeting. Had he only extended his 
royal Excalibur I should have arisen as Sir Idiot. That distinction has not 
departed from me to this day. The thing which hurts most is that in the light of 
my long career I fear I deserved it. The next day the President issued an order 
establishing the Referee Board of Consulting Scientific Experts. In order that 
his favorite sweetener might have fair hearing he asked Dr. Ira Remsen, who held 
a medal given him by the Chicago Chemical Society as the discoverer of 
saccharin, to be chairman and to select the other members. According to the 
ordinary conception of a juror Dr. Remsen would not have been entitled to sit on 
the subject of saccharin. Such little matters as those, however, were not 
dominating with the President of the United States. As Milton describes the 
episode in the Garden of Eden--
     "Of man's first disobedience and the fruit
     Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
     Brought death into the world and all our woe" 
the creation of the Remsen Board of Consulting Scientific Experts was the cause 
of nearly all the woes that subsequently befell the Pure Food Law. Joined to the 
creation of the Board of Food and Drug Inspection there was little left of the 
method prescribed by Congress for its enforcement.
   From this time on all the interests seeking to paralyze the enforcement of 
the food and drugs act acted as one body under the leadership of the Department 
of Agriculture. The rectifiers were perhaps the best organized of the enemies of 
the pure food and drugs legislation. The interests that supported and demanded 
the use of benzoate of soda represented only a minority of the manufacturers of 
ketchup. Those who demanded the free use of sulphurous acid and sulphites were 
confined to the manufacturers of cane molasses and of dried fruits. Those who 
demanded the use of saccharin were only a very small part of the interests 
engaged in the canning and preserving of our foods. The people who were anxious 
to use alum, however, represented a great majority of baking-powders. Those 
manufacturers who made baking powder out of phosphates and tartrates were not so 
numerous and did not do so big a business as the makers of alum powders. The 
whole body of adulterators and misbranders of our foods who were depressed by 
the results of the decision of the question of what is whisky were restored to 
optimism and tremendous activity by the appointment both of the Board of Food 
and Drug Inspection and of the Remsen Board. By this time, however, public 
sentiment which had been so unanimously in favor of food and drug legislation 
was awakened to the danger which came from the betrayal of the cause of pure 
foods by these executive proclamations. The daily, weekly, and monthly press of 
the United States were almost solidly opposed to these illegal activities of the 
executive officers in charge of the pure food and drugs legislation. Not a day 
passed without numerous attacks upon this laxity of administration appearing in 
all parts of the country.
   I will return to this condition of affairs later on. The Secretary of 
Agriculture was perfectly acquainted with the incident just described in regard 
to the origin of the Remsen Board. Nevertheless, in the following statements to 
the fruit growers of California he ascribed the origin of the Remsen Board to a 
totally different cause. I quote from page 847 of the Moss Committee on 
Expenditures in the Department of Agriculture:
     I went out to the Pacific Coast, I think it was in 1907 to look at the 
  forests which had just come to our department. Telegrams began to come all 
  around me, and finally reached me that something was seriously the matter at 
  San Francisco, and I wired back that I would be there at a certain day, and I 
  went there. I found the mayor, the bankers, the business men and the farmers 
  in a very great commotion. They wanted me to talk. I said, "I do not know what 
  to say, I will listen; you talk, gentlemen." "Well," they said, "we have a 
  $15,000,000 industry here in the growing and drying of fruits. These dried 
  fruits are contracted for by the big eastern merchants. Our people borrow 
  money from the banks, and when the fruit is sold everything is straightened 
  out and things go on, but you people in Washington say we can only use 350 
  milligrams of sulphur to the kilo, and the eastern men who have contracted for 
  our fruit will not make their contracts good; they are afraid it will not 
     After listening to these good people all day I said, "I see the condition 
  you are in, gentlemen. I do not think the American Congress in making this law 
  intended to stop your business. We have not learned quite enough in Washington 
  to guide your business without destroying it; we will know better by and by, 
  but I will tell you what to do. Just go on as you used to go on and I will not 
  take any action to seize your goods or let them be seized or take any case 
  into court until we know more about the number of milligrams to the kilo, and 
  all of that. In the meanwhile I shall send a chemist from our Bureau of 
  Chemistry out here, and I want to get the best chemist in your state at your 
  State University at Berkeley, put the two together and try to get the facts," 
  and we did that. They worked that summer; and before I think they completed 
  all they would like to have done the Referee Board came * * * I think that 
  about answers the question why the Board was created. 
   When the chemists made their report, Secretary Wilson promptly refused to 
have it printed because they had found a harmless substitute for sulphur fumes.
   The hearings accorded the users of saccharin, after the report on saccharin 
by the Referee Board had been published, developed the following curious 
   The President selected the alleged discoverer of saccharin as Chairman of the 
new committee to revise the findings of the Bureau of Chemistry. This committee 
entirely reversed President Roosevelt's decision that benzoate of soda was a 
harmful substance. They did not, however, agree with him entirely in regard to 
the harmlessness of saccharin. In their report they permitted the use of a 
sufficient amount of saccharin to sweeten foods, but they were of the opinion 
that if one consumed over 3/10th of a gram of saccharin at any one time it might 
prove injurious and that also as a sweetener it was a fraud. The manufacturers 
of saccharin asked for and secured a hearing on this point. The hearing was held 
before Secretary Wilson and Secretary Nagel. Addressing the saccharin 
manufacturers, Secretary Wilson (Page 908, Moss Committee) made the following 
     I want to say frankly to you gentlemen that the Referee Board was organized 
  and put in action for the very purpose of conserving the interests of the 
  manufacturers, by insuring them a sane hearing, and, that being the case, it 
  is the best the Government can do. 
   To the users of burning sulphur he promised complete immunity until the 
Remsen Board made its decision. In point of fact, that came only after many 
years. It was never published by the Department of Agriculture. The indulgence 
has continued for twenty-two years and bids fair to go on forever. Now to the 
makers of saccharin he says the Remsen Board was created to be sure 
manufacturers get a "sane hearing." The plain inference is that the hearing 
specified in the Act is not "sane."
   Of course Secretary Wilson was right in so frankly stating the purpose for 
which the Referee Board was created. Manufacturers of adulterated goods were 
never shut out from a full and fair hearing. That was always available before 
the Courts when they were cited to appear as violators of the law. The Referee 
Board was an effective buffer for all this class of manufacturers. It prevented 
a full and fair hearing of the case before a jury and a United States Court. It 
was the most baleful influence toward the degradation of the food supply of our 
country that ever existed. The Referee Board has passed away, but the evil 
effects of its activities will be felt for all time to come. Its decisions and 
its activities are still regnant in the mal-administration of the pure-food law. 
The only hope of the future lies in the possibility of some day getting a 
Secretary of Agriculture who with one stroke of his pen will erase forever from 
the records of the Department every decision of the Referee Board and every 
regulation made in conformity therewith, and remove every administrative officer 
who willingly carries these decisions and regulations into effect.
   The officials, paid experts and aides of the low-grade manufacturers realized 
very keenly their unpopularity as reflected in the notices of their activities 
which appeared in the newspapers and magazines. This sensibility caused Dr. 
Remsen at the end of his testimony before the Moss Committee to express his 
feelings which have been recorded in another place. Prior to this he was keenly 
sensitive to what the newspapers were saying about him and his Board. On Feb. 
11th , 1910, in a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, (Moss Committee, Page 
366) he said:
     "A representative of our principal newspaper brought me yesterday an 
  inflammatory article which had been sent by the Washington correspondent. The 
  object of the article was to discount the reports of the Referee Board on the 
  sulphur question. It was venomous and inflammatory to the last degree. It also 
  took up the benzoate question with the object of showing how entirely 
  unreliable the work of our Board had been. Our bombastic friend, C. A. L. 
  Reed* of Cincinnati, was held up as a great and good man and a high authority. 
  I presume this attack has been sent all over the country. I made some comments 
  on it and the newspaper to which it was sent here declined to publish it. I 
  have no doubt as to the source of that article. It was altogether the worst 
  thing that I have seen." 
*Eminent surgeon and Past-President of the American Medical Association. Died in 
   The curious thing about all this is that the Secretary of Agriculture and his 
aides, the Remsen Board and their followers were continually insinuating that 
there was some one in Washington who inspired all these criticisms of the Remsen 
Board. They were never bold enough to come out openly and say who this person 
was. It is perfectly plain who was in their minds. The report of Dr. Bigelow, 
who was the chemist sent to California, not by Secretary Wilson, but by myself, 
was refused publication when it was completed and has never yet seen the light 
of day. Dr. Bigelow in this report showed how by dipping the freshly cut fruits 
in a weak solution of common salt and then drying them a product was produced 
equal in color to the sulphured article and far more palatable, wholesome, and 
desirable in every way.
   Large quantities of dried fruits made by this process were shipped to 
Washington, submitted to dealers and pronounced a far superior product in every 
way to the ordinary sulphured article. Also attention should here be called to 
the fact that the meat inspection law specifically denies the use of sulphur 
dioxide and sulphites in the preparation of meats on the ground that a 
preservative of this kind is injurious to health. Its use had been discarded 
practically before the regulation forbidding it was made by reason of the 
scandal of embalmed beef which stirred this country deeply during the Spanish 
War. In other words the use of any sulphur dioxide or sulphites in meat was an 
adulteration, but in dried fruits it was necessary to prevent the destruction of 
the dried fruit business, in the eyes of the Secretary of Agriculture.
   Further questioning of the Secretary threw additional light on this point:
   MR. FLOYD: You, personally, as Secretary, were made responsible, but 
President Roosevelt acted in harmony with you in establishing this referee 
   SECRETARY WILSON: We have to obey the President of the United States when he 
indicates what he wants.
   MR. FLOYD, I understand. The President, sanctioned this board?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Oh, yes. He wrote to the presidents of the great 
universities and got them to recommend men, and when the men came that he wanted 
he ordered me to appoint them, and I appointed them.
   MR. HIGGINS: Mr. Secretary, in your observation of the enforcement of this 
law, is it your opinion, based upon that observation, that it was a wise thing 
to have a referee board?
   SECRETARY WILSON: It certainly was my judgment that we should have a referee 
   MR. HIGGINS: Is that confirmed by your experience with it?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I have no reason to conclude that it was not wise.
   MR. HIGGINS: Are you familiar with the character of the gentlemen who make up 
that board and their scientific attainments?
   SECRETARY WILSON: By reputation only; I did not know them personally, any of 
   MR. HIGGINS: Have you ever imposed any restrictions on them as to the methods 
of investigation?
   SECRETARY WILSON: No. I told them frankly when they began that nobody had any 
business to interfere with them anywhere; that they were to find us the facts 
with regard to what we submitted to them; and I did not impose any restrictions 
and nobody else had any right to, unless it was the President, and I did not 
think he would.
   MR. MAYS: Did you have any doubt in your mind as to the legality of their 
appointment at the time?
   MR. FLOYD: Now, Mr. Secretary, how many of these great questions have been 
submitted to the referee board?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I suppose I could count them on my fingers.
   MR. FLOYD: The chairman tells me that that is in the record.
   SECRETARY WILSON: Very likely it is in the record.
   MR. FLOYD: Now, under the pure-food law, as I understand it, Mr. Secretary, 
the work of the Bureau of Chemistry is preliminary to a prosecution?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Oh, surely.
   MR. FLOYD: And no prosecution can be instituted against anyone in a criminal 
procedure until the Bureau of Chemistry has made an adverse finding and you have 
so certified to the district attorney?
   SECRETARY WILSON: That is the way it is done.
   MR, FLOYD: Now, I am going to ask you a question that I would ask other 
witnesses as to the effect of the decision of the referee board. In case the 
Bureau of Chemistry should make a finding adverse to the use of a certain 
commodity on the ground that it was deleterious to health and that should be 
referred to the referee board and the referee board should make a contrary 
decision, is there any way, under the regulations, to your knowledge, that the 
question at issue between the Bureau of Chemistry and the referee board could be 
taken into the courts and be settled by the courts?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Of course, I can not state intelligently with regard to how 
a thing might get into the courts, but the department would enforce the decision 
of the referee board. They would do that, I suppose
   MR. FLOYD (interposing) : If the decision of the referee board was adverse to 
that of the Bureau of Chemistry the effect of enforcing the decision of the 
referee board would be to prevent the prosecution of anyone using that 
   SECRETARY WILSON: Well, it would depend on--yes, I see your point; yes, it 
   The unanimous decision of the committee investigating the expenditures of the 
Department of Agriculture completely exonerated the accused officials and 
censured their accusers.

Who certified to President Taft that Dr. Wiley was worthy of "condign 

   The activities of two Presidents, three cabinet officers, and one 
Attorney-General in promoting the efforts to exclude the Bureau of Chemistry 
from any efficient steps looking to the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act 
created a veritable storm of protest, as has already been indicated, in the 
press of the country. This protest was voiced most effectively by the attitude 
of The World's Work under the able editorship of Walter H. Page. In the issue of 
that magazine for September, 1911, the following editorial comment is found, 
under the title, "The Fight on Dr. Wiley and the Pure Food Law."
     There is no better illustration of the difficulty of really effective 
  government than the obstructions that have been put in the way of Dr. Wiley, 
  the head of the Bureau of Chemistry at Washington. So long as the Pure Food 
  and Drugs Act ran foul of only small violators, it was easy to enforce it; 
  but, as soon as it hit the vested interests of the rich and strong, the most 
  amazing series of successful. obstructions were put in the way--so amazing and 
  so successful that the story will be told with some fullness in the succeeding 
  numbers of this magazine.
     Here is a man--Dr. Harvey W. Wiley--who has given his whole working life to 
  the protection of the people from bad and poisonous food and drugs. There is 
  no more unselfish or devoted public servant. He has time and again declined 
  offers of lucrative and honorable private work. He has lived and labored for 
  this one purpose.
     It is to him that we owe the law and the agitation for its enforcement. It 
  is to him that we owe the education of the public which has brought state laws 
  and municipal ordinances for pure food and drugs. It is to him that we owe 
  such an important advance in more careful living and such a quickening of the 
  public conscience as we owe to hardly any other living man; and the whole 
  people are his debtors. He is the direct cause of a wider and safer public 
  knowledge and of more healthful habits of life.
     Still the Pure Food and Drugs Act is not yet enforced against the great 
  offenders. Dr. Wiley has had his hands tied from the time of its enactment. 
  The Board, whose duty it is to report violations of the law, consists of Dr. 
  Wiley, Dr. Dunlap, a chemist, and Mr. McCabe, the solicitor of the Department
  of Agriculture. But out of the thousands of cases of adulteration and fraud 
  that have been discovered, practically no cases against the strongest 
  corporations and groups of law-breakers have been brought to trial. Dr. Wiley 
  is a man of scientific distinction, of accuracy, and of responsibility. Yet 
  his two associates on this board, men, to say the most for them, of far less 
  ability and less distinction, have been permitted to check almost every move 
  that he has made. The aged Secretary of Agriculture has given his confidence 
  and his support to them and withdrawn it from Dr. Wiley.
     More than this--the Attorney-General, reversing an opinion prepared by one 
  of his own subordinates and accepting an opinion by Mr. McCabe, declared that 
  the referee board of distinguished chemists (the Remsen Board) was authorized 
  by the law--a very dangerous and very doubtful construction of a plain 
  statute; and this Board has been used to prevent the enforcement of the law 
  against the use of benzoate of soda. This Remsen Board has never declared that 
  benzoate of soda is a permissible preservative. It has never been asked 
  whether it can be or is extensively used to preserve rotten food. It was asked 
  only if it proved injurious to the health of strong young men when taken for a 
  time in small quantities. They found that it did these young men no 
  appreciable harm. Then this declaration was used to permit the canners and 
  packers of rotten fruits and vegetables to continue to put them up in benzoate 
  of soda. Even if benzoate of soda does no harm to health, its use in 
  disguising rotten food brings it within the proper prohibition of the law.
     This incident is a good illustration of the way in which Dr. Wiley has been 
  balked and hindered. Influences, legitimate and illegitimate, have been used 
  to prevent the enforcement of the law in its most important applications.
     Inside the Government and outside, the manufacturers of dangerous and 
  unwholesome food and drugs have carried on a continuous and effective campaign 
  against Dr. Wiley and his work. He has been practically without power to put 
  the law into effect against strong offenders. He has been humiliated by being 
  overruled by his subordinates. He has suffered from an inefficient 
  administration of the Department of which his bureau is a part; for the 
  venerable Secretary of Agriculture is too old vigorously to administer his 
  great Department. Yet Dr. Wiley, purely for patriotic reasons, has suffered 
  this hindrance and humiliation till some change might come which should 
  unshackle him.
     On the outside the bad food and drug interests--or some of them--have 
  maintained a lobby in Washington, have kept "syndicate" newspaper writers in 
  their pay to write about the unfairness and the injustice of the law and the 
  unreasonableness and "crankiness" of Dr. Wiley. One such organization--or 
  pretended organization--some time ago sent a threatening letter to all the 
  most important periodicals, saying that large advertisers would withdraw their 
  patronage if they published articles favorable to the law!
     There has been an organized fight, therefore, against the law and the man. 
  And, although the man's official power has been curtailed, he has won--won 
  such a victory for the people as will insure the continuance, with new vigor, 
  of the campaign for pure food and drugs, by national law and by local laws.
     The "charge" against Dr. Wiley that provoked this popular outburst of 
  approval, is not worth explaining. He made an arrangement to pay Dr. Rusby, a 
  distinguished specialist, a higher rate for work per day than the law 
  specified for per them payments, but less than the law permitted as a yearly 
  salary. By this arrangement the services of Dr. Rusby to the Government were 
  secured for less than if the letter of the law had been followed and he had 
  been paid the yearly salary that the law specified--since he gave and was to 
  give only a small part of his time to the work. This technical violation of 
  the letter of the law--if it were a violation of its real meaning--has long 
  been customary in many departments of the Government; for it has common sense 
  and economy to commend it.
     When the Attorney-General wrote that this offence deserved "condign 
  punishment,"--the Attorney-General--what shall be said of him with respect? 
  Surely it was a narrow and silly recommendation. He put a greater value on a 
  microscopic legal technicality than on the incalculable service of a man whose 
  work is worth more to the health and happiness of the people than the work of 
  many Presidents and Attorneys-General. Dr. Wiley's "offence" was instantly 
  forgotten by the public, which has some common sense if not much legal 
  knowledge. But the accusation was important for this reason: it showed the 
  determination of those who brought it to get rid of him.
     Now, if Dr. Wiley deserves dismissal for any sufficient reason, it is 
  proper and it is the duty of somebody to present such a reason. But to propose 
  "condign punishment" for saving the public money by following a common custom 
  of paying for professional service-that shows a personal and private purpose 
  to be rid of him.
     The upshot of it all is that Dr. Wiley has been made a sort of popular 
  hero. Now popular heroism has decided disadvantages and even dangers. It is 
  fair to Dr. Wiley to say that he has not sought such a place on the stage. He 
  has his vanities (who hasn't?) and the popular appreciation of his work is of 
  course welcomed by him, as it ought to be. But mere personal popularity and a 
  personal "fight" are likely to obscure the main matter at stake. The main 
  matter is the Pure Food and Drugs Act--not only nor mainly Dr. Wiley and his 
  personal vindication, but the firm and permanent establishment of this fact 
  and purpose: that no opposition of interested law-breakers, no personal 
  jealousies, no departmental feuds, no infirm and feeble administration of any 
  Department, no narrow legal technicalities, shall longer hinder the execution 
  of the law that guards the health of the people. This is of far greater 
  importance than anybody's tenure of office or than anybody's official "face" 
  or dignity.
     It has been made plain that the administration of the Agricultural 
  Department is feeble. Feuds and cliques are not permitted to obstruct the laws 
  in well-administered institutions. And it has again been made plain by the 
  Attorney-General that this is a "legal" administration; and, again, that the 
  President's amiable qualities lead him to patch-up and smooth-over troubles 
  that become worse with every patching and smoothing and can then be removed 
  only after public discussion and possible scandal. The incident ought and 
  seems likely to bring big results in rallying public opinion to the support of 
  the law and of its author and zealous and useful guardian. The investigation 
  by the Congressional Committee that has the subject in hand will bring out 
  facts that are likely to make the law far stronger than it has ever been. 

Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Agriculture, 1911, investigating 
charges preferred against Dr. H. W. Wiley, Representative Ralph W. Moss, 
presiding. At the right of Mr. Moss are the three of the Democratic members of 
the Committee, namely, Hon. J.C. Floyd, Hon. R.L. Doughton, Hon. D.H. Mays; 
Henry E. Davis and Hon. W.P. Hepburn, attorneys for Dr. Wiley. On the left of 
Mr. Moss are the Hon. Edwin W. Higgins, Hon. Burton L. French, and the Hon. 
Charles H. Sloan, the stenographer and H.W. Wiley.

   The editor of The World's Work did not have to wait long to know the 
conclusions reached by the committee investigating the expenses of the 
Department of Agriculture. The report was issued early in 1912. It was a 
complete vindication of the Bureau of Chemistry and a complete reversal of the 
penalties which the personnel board had inflicted, or tried to inflict on the 
Chief of the Bureau and his assistants. Before the committee's report was 
published, however, the President of the United States, who had been asked to 
approve the dismissal of the Chief of the Bureau, wrote the following letter to 
the Secretary of Agriculture (Page 2 of the Report):
     "The truth is, the limitations upon the bureau chiefs and heads of 
  departments to exact per diem compensation for the employment of experts in 
  such cases as this is of doubtful legislative policy. Here is the pure-food 
  act, which is of the highest importance to enforce and in respect to which the 
  interests opposed to its enforcement are likely to have all the money at their 
  command needed to secure the most effective expert evidence. The Government 
  ought not to be at a disadvantage in this regard, and one can not withhold 
  one's sympathy with an earnest effort on the part of Dr. Wiley to pay proper 
  compensation and secure expert assistance in the enforcement of so important a 
  statute, certainly in the beginning, when questions arising under it are of 
  capital importance to the public." 
   Other high lights of the report of the committee are summarized below:
     "The committee on expenditures in the Department of Agriculture beg leave 
  to submit the following report of the recent hearings commonly referred to as 
  the "Wiley Investigation." This inquiry was instituted on information that an 
  alleged conspiracy had been entered into between certain high officials of the 
  Bureau of Chemistry and Dr. H. H. Rusby whereby Dr. Rusby was to be paid a 
  compensation for his services at a higher rate than authorized by law. * * * 
  In the discharge of its duties under the rules of the House, your committee 
  made a patient and careful investigation of the whole controversy. * * * Your 
  committee regards the "Wiley Investigation," so-called, only an incident in 
  its broader inquiry into the organization and administrative routine of the 
  Bureau of Chemistry and the Referee Board. * * * We failed to find from the 
  evidence in the whole case that there existed any secret agreement or that the 
  terms of compensation or rates to be paid Dr. Rusby were withheld from the 
  Secretary designedly or otherwise. * * * We therefore find from the evidence 
  adduced that the charges of conspiracy have not been established, but, on the 
  contrary, that the accused officials were actuated throughout solely by desire 
  to procure for the Bureau of Chemistry an efficient assistant in the person of 
  Dr. H. H. Rusby under terms and conditions which those officials believed to 
  be in entire accord with the law, regulations, and practice of the Department 
  of Agriculture. * * *
     "The record shows that three members of the Referee Board were in 
  attendance at the trial at Indianapolis, Indiana, in the capacity of witnesses 
  at the instance and on behalf of the plaintiffs in the suit to which Curtice 
  Brothers and Williams Brothers, who are interested in the sale of food stuffs 
  to which soda benzoate has been added as a preservative, and that the expenses 
  of these witnesses were paid by the Department of Agriculture. In the opinion 
  of your committee the payment of these expenses by the Department of 
  Agriculture was wholly without warrant of law. * * *
     "Your committee does not question the motives or the sincerity of the 
  Secretary of Agriculture, whose long service as the head of the Department of 
  Agriculture has been of signal service to the American people. From the 
  beginning, however, the honorable Secretary has apparently assumed that his 
  duties in the proper enforcement of the pure-food laws are judicial in 
  character, whereas in fact they are wholly administrative and ministerial. 
  This misconstruction of the law is fundamental and has resulted in a complex 
  organization within the Department of Agriculture, in the creation of offices 
  and boards to which have been given, through Executive order, power to 
  overrule or annul the findings of the Bureau of Chemistry.
     "The statute created the Bureau of Chemistry as an agency to collect 
  evidence of violations of the food and drug act and to submit this evidence 
  duly verified to the Department of Justice for judicial action. The Secretary 
  of Agriculture is the officer whose duty it is to transmit this evidence from 
  the Bureau of Chemistry to the Department of Justice. Added to this simple 
  duty is the more responsible obligation delegated to him by the three 
  Secretaries to review the findings of the Bureau of Chemistry by granting a 
  hearing to parties from whom samples were collected and in the light of these 
  hearings, of deciding whether or not the findings of the bureau are free from 
     "This construction of the law, which, in the opinion of your committee, is 
  the correct one, places the judicial determination of all disputes in the 
  courts, where the standard of purity in foods must finally be established. It 
  also makes it the imperative duty of district attorneys to proceed against all 
  violators of the law on receipt of certified record of cases prepared by the 
  Bureau of Chemistry; but if we accept this construction of the law in its full 
  meaning, it is apparent that at the time of the taking effect of this law the 
  prompt prosecution of every infraction, whether of major or minor importance, 
  was an impossibility, as such a course would have utterly congested the 
  business of the courts. * * *
     "Thus the administration of the law began with a policy of negotiation and 
  compromise between the Secretary and the purveyors of our national food 
  supplies. * * *
     "The strength of the statute and the jurisdiction of the courts cannot be 
  affected by the executive orders of the Secretary of Agriculture, though they 
  be issued in obedience to the suggestion of the President of the United 
     These respective duties of the Secretary and Bureau are enumerated 
  separately in the statute and whatever other duties either may be charged with 
  in the administration of the Act come by virtue of the rules and regulations 
  established by the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Treasury, 
  and the Secretary of Commerce and Labor. * * *
     "The Act of Congress approved March 4, 1907, contains this provision, 'and 
  hereafter the Secretary of Agriculture is hereby authorized to make such 
  appointments, promotions, and changes in salaries, to be paid out of the lump 
  sum of the several bureaus, divisions and offices of the Department as may be 
  for the best interest of the service.' In view of these provisions of law your 
  committee is of the opinion that there may be authority under the law for the 
  creation and maintenance of such Board (Referee Board) to aid the Secretary in 
  the discharge of any duty enjoined on him in his official capacity; but raises 
  the question as to its legality on the sole ground that the determination of 
  the general questions submitted by the Secretary to the Referee Board is not 
  enjoined upon him under the law.
     "We have here presented the very crux of the controversy which has been 
  waged over the terms of the pure-food law, and which, fortunately for your 
  committee, has been recently discussed (by the Supreme Court) in a decision of 
  the United States vs. Morgan, et al. * * * The weight of this decision clearly 
  denies to the Department of Agriculture any judicial authority. * * * We have 
  thus presented another weighty question to be considered in this connection as 
  to the necessity, wisdom, or sound policy of maintaining such a board at a 
  heavy expense to the Government when the work done by it is largely a 
  duplication of work performed, or which might be performed by the Bureau of 
  Chemistry. The functions of this board as at present constituted are purely 
  advisory. Their decisions have no legal or binding effect upon any body. The 
  Secretary can follow or ignore their recommendations as he sees fit. * * * The 
  Honorable Secretary of Agriculture seems to have regarded the findings of this 
  board as conclusive in all cases over the opinions and findings of the Bureau 
  of Chemistry, the tribunal which by express terms of statute is vested with 
  authority to determine the questions of adulteration and misbranding within 
  the meaning of the act. In the practice of the Department, the Bureau of 
  Chemistry has been restrained from examining any specimens of foods and drugs 
  under any general subject which is submitted to the Referee Board during the 
  time of examination of such questions by such Board; and if such general 
  subject is submitted to the Referee Board before the Bureau of Chemistry has 
  made any examination of specimens to determine the question of adulteration 
  and misbranding, then the Bureau is not permitted by the Secretary to make any 
  such examination until the Board shall have made its report.
     "It has resulted in another remarkable situation, namely, that under the 
  practice of the Department the decisions of the Bureau of Chemistry, if in 
  opposition to the findings and opinions of the Referee Board cannot be 
  referred to the Courts and thus permit a judicial decision to be made as is 
  comprehended under the plain provisions of the law. It would thus happen that 
  if the Bureau of Chemistry were right and the Referee Board were in error that 
  violations of the law would receive protection through the proposed 
  enforcement of the law; because the effect of such a policy is to give this 
  advisory Board, created by Executive order paramount authority over the Bureau 
  of Chemistry and lodges in the personal advisers of the Secretary the power to 
  annul the decisions of the Bureau within the Department of Agriculture which 
  was created by law." 
   These luminous opinions of the committee investigating the expenditures of 
the Department of Agriculture show that not a dollar of the money expended by 
the Referee Board was legally expended. At the time this investigation took 
place the total expenditures made by the Referee Board of the money appropriated 
by Congress to enforce the Food and Drugs Act amounted to over $175,000. Every 
dollar of this money was expended in protecting and promoting violations of the 
law. It seems strange in view of these findings which were approved by the House 
of Representatives that no effort was made to impeach the Secretary of 
Agriculture and the President of the United States who had thus perverted money 
appropriated for a particular use to activities totally repugnant to the purpose 
of the appropriation. The following violations of law were permitted and 
protected by this crime, namely, the use of benzoate of soda as a preservative 
of foods, the use of sulphur dioxide and sulphites as bleaching agents and food 
preservatives, the use of saccharin as a sweetener in foods up to an amount not 
exceeding three-tenths of a gram, and the free and unrestricted use of alum in 
food products. It is a striking comment also on the attitude of Congress and the 
people at large that no steps have ever been taken from 1911 to 1928 to correct 
these outrages on the Americaia people and to attempt to restore the law to its 
power and purpose as enacted. Administration after administration has come and 
gone and these abuses still persist.
   After considering all the evidence adduced over a period of six weeks the 
House committee on expenditures unanimously declared the Referee Board to be an 
illegal organization. It had a very good reason for doing so even before the 
evidence was considered. The matter had been decided by an assistant to 
Attorney-General Wickersham in a report from the Department of Justice dated 
March 31, 1909. This was fully two years and more before the decision of the 
investigating committee was rendered. This report of the Department of Justice 
was signed by J. A. Fowler, assistant to the Attorney-General. It is printed in 
full in the proceedings of the committee, pages 205 and following. 
Attorney-General Fowler called attention to the fact that at the time the 
committees of the House and the Senate met for final conference on the food and 
drugs bill, the House bill contained a provision authorizing the appointment of 
a committee of five experts to consider questions of deleterious or injurious 
substances in foods, and to establish food standards. The Senate bill did not 
contain a provision of this kind but did contain a statement of the duties of 
the Bureau of Chemistry to perform these functions. The Senate conferees 
insisted on the elimination of the House provision for a special board and this 
was acceded to by the conferees from the House. When the conference report was 
presented to the two houses Mr. Mann, manager for the House made the following 
statement in answer to a question by Mr. Pollard:
   MR. POLLARD: Was there any change made in the provision of the House bill 
wherein we provided that a board, of five inspectors should be selected to pass 
upon the wholesomeness or deleteriousness of the foods?
   MR. MANN: That provision was in Section 9, directing the Secretary of 
Agriculture to determine standards and the entire section goes out. As I stated 
in the House when the bill was before the House, it is the courts which must 
determine in the end as to the question of the wholesomeness or the 
deleteriousness of preservatives or of any article of food. * * * The Senate 
conferees were unalterably opposed to that provision and as it was not an 
essential provision of the law we gave way on that provision in order to save 
the rest of the bill practically intact as the House had enacted it. (Record 
59th Congress, First Session, Page 9738, Expenditures in the Department of 
Agriculture, page 269.)
   MR. FOWLER: "This statute authorizes the prescribing of such regulations as 
are consistent with law, and for the reason above stated I regard the 
appointment of this Board of Referees as inconsistent with law.
   Senator McCumber also commented in the Senate on this same subject, as 
     "Now what have we eliminated from this bill? Senators will remember that 
  the House measure provided for the fixing of standards and it called to the 
  assistance of the Secretary of Agriculture certain experts who were to aid him 
  in determining what the standards should be and also provided that the 
  standards so established by them should be for the guidance of the court. The 
  Senate has always contended that the power to fix standards should not be 
  given to any man and the House conferees receded from that portion of the 
  House amendment and it goes out." 
   In spite of this clear intention of Congress the Solicitor of the Department 
of Agriculture wrote an opinion to the effect that the appointment of the 
Referee Board was legal and this opinion was adopted by Attorney-General 
Wickersham as a choice between the opinion of the Solicitor of the Department of 
Agriculture and the opinion of his own assistant in the Department of Justice.
   With the promulgation of the opinion of the Attorney-General, the effacement 
of the Bureau of Chemistry from any further participation in the enforcement of 
the food and drugs act was completed. Even the Board of Food and Drug Inspection 
was deprived of its office of confirming or overturning the decisions of the 
Bureau of Chemistry. Under General Order No. 140 the Solicitor of the Department 
was made the sole arbiter of the recommendations which should go to the 
Secretary in regard to whether or not an article was misbranded or adulterated. 
General Order No. 140 is found on page 10 of the report of the committee. The 
committee expressed the following opinion thereon:
     "Under the terms of this order all the evidence in all cases examined in 
  the Bureau of Chemistry, together with such summaries as the solicitor may 
  prescribe is referred to the solicitor to determine whether or not a prima 
  facie case has been made. * * * We are at a loss to understand what favorable 
  results can come from the preparation of such summaries in the Bureau of 
  Chemistry and their further study in the solicitor's office." 
   The committee realized that this was the consummation of the plan of the 
solicitor. It totally disregarded the provisions of the food law as to the 
methods of its execution. It placed the solicitor, not mentioned nor recognized 
in the law, in the place of the Bureau of Chemistry as the sole arbiter of all 
processes looking to the enforcement of the act. With this final blow at the 
vitality of the law its enforcement passed entirely into the hands of the 
enemies of the law. The public which it was intended to protect was left without 
any redress. The result was a wild orgy of adulteration and misbranding, paid 
for by the money of tax-payers appropriated for the enforcement of the law. The 
members of the Referee Board became experts paid by the Government to protect 
the interests of adulterators and misbranders. Their eff orts in this direction 
were put into effect by the Solicitor of the Department. All the fruits gained 
by the victory in the enactment Of the legislation were thus sacrificed by the 
direct negation of the law's demands. The fai-reaching effects of this crime 
against law I have tried to set down in as small a space as possible to do 
justice to the story.
   If an expert dietitian and physiologist should take up for study a report on 
metabolism made by a scientific authority, he would expect first of all that the 
composition and weight of food ingested should be accurately stated. Without 
knowing the amount of intake, data respecting the outgo have no significance. In 
Bulletin 84, Part 4, Benzoate of Soda, containing the experimental data of the 
Bureau of Chemistry, it will be noticed that careful analytical examinations 
were made of all the foods ingested and the quantities of each kind of food for 
each subject is accurately stated. The data in this investigation therefore 
obtained by the examination and analyses of the feces and urine have a direct 
significance. In the experiments on the same subject conducted by the Referee 
Board no attempt was made to have complete analyseg of the foods administered 
nor the quantities thereof eaten. It was all left to the experimentees 
themselves. This is forcibly brought out by the statement of Dr. Chittenden on 
page 17 of Report No. 88 of the Referee Board. He says:
     First, the subjects were not restricted to a limited dietary, but on the 
  contrary were allowed reasonable freedom of choice, both as to character and 
  quantity of the daily food. 1n other words, there was no interference with the 
  normal desires of the individual but each subject was allowed full latitude in 
  the exercise of his personal likes and dislikes. To be sure each day a 
  definite menu was arranged for all three meals, but this was sufficiently 
  generous in character to admit of choice; further' after a short time 
  sufficient knowledge was acquired of the special tastes of the subjects, so 
  thdt a daily dietary could easily be provided quite satisfactory to all. By 
  this method of procedure there was no violation of that physiological good 
  sense so essential in experiments of this character. 
   In the experiments of the Bureau of Chemistry no such latitude was permitted. 
In the fore period in each case sufficient quantities of the diet prescribed, 
which was a thoroughly wholesome and well-balanced one, were used to establish 
an even daily weight of each one. This quantity was given to the subject each 
day, during the experimental administration of the drug. If during the 
administration of the benzoic acid the subject would not feel like eating his 
whole meal, the amount he did not eat was weighed and deducted. This failure of 
appetite, if no other cause could be found for it, was an indication of the 
effects produced by the administered preservative. I suppose this method of 
procedure would be designated by members of the Referee Board as "physiological" 
   The records printed in Report No. 88 indicate the wildest riot in diet ever 
recorded in a physiological investigation. Enormous differences in the amount of 
food consumed are recorded in that report. In the evidence before the court in 
the Indiana case, page 33, this matter was brought to the attention of Dr. 
Remsen in the following question:
     Now, Doctor, in order to conduct an examination of that. kind, an 
  investigation that was of any very great value, oughtn't every article of food 
  that was given to the subject to be analyzed, some part of it, so as to know
  what it contained?
     A. I suppose there are other ways of getting at that besides analyzing it. 
  You can often form generally an opinion of the character of the food you are 
  giving or examining without analyzing.
     Q. Are there not variations, for instance in breads?
     A. There are variations, undoubtedly.
     Q. And they are variations of wide extent, are they not, doctor?
     A. Well, wide--depends on the meaning of the word wide. That is a technical 
  question that I should want to refer to the experts of this Board.
     Q. You would not be prepared to say what would be a normal range in the 
  quantity of nitrogen that would be found?
     A. Not I, no. I could get the information very readily. One moment--my 
  impression is that there were analyses of some foods made--very many. 
   Some time in the remote future when all personal matters have passed away and 
an expert chemist and physiologist calmly reviews the data obtained by the 
Bureau of Chemistry and the data obtained by the Referee Board on the same 
subject, they will show a comparison of values of the two investigations which I 
am quite content to leave to the judgment of the unbiased future.
   As has been clearly illustrated, the Remsen Board was appointed to protect 
manufacturing interests. The Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry under his oath was 
trying to protect the neglected American consumer. One would have thought that 
in selecting five eminent scientific men that at least some one of them might 
have revolted from the purpose to which he was assigned. The quotation from 
Claude Bernard discloses most emphatically the proper psychological attitude of 
the true investigator when he undertakes his task.
   The Supreme Court has ruled that the user of a deleterious product in foods 
must justify that use. Prof. A. J. Carlson* sees a scientific reason therefor:--
     Modern chemistry has opened up another avenue of poisoning the human system 
  through the field of food preservatives and food substitutes. We have the 
  problem of the harmfulness or the harmlessness of the various baking powders, 
  of benzoic acid as a permissible food preservative, of saccharin as a 
  substitute for sugar, etc. Many of the experiments purporting to prove the
  permissibility or harmlessness of the substance or preservative, even those 
  carried out by competent scientists, seem to me wholly inadequate. I have in 
  mind, as an example, the experiments and finding of the Remsen Consulting 
  Board, on the question of saccharin in foods. Under the direction of this 
  board, composed of leading biochemists and chemists, varying quantities of 
  saccharin were fed to a small number of healthy young men, daily, for periods 
  up to nine months. The board concluded that the daily ingestion of this food 
  substitute below a certain quantity (0.3 gram per day) is without injurious 
  effects; above this saccharin produces injury. This conclusion became guide to 
  federal legislation and regulation. Was the above conclusion warranted by the 
  experiments performed? We think not. All the experiments proved was that the 
  substance (saccharin) when taken by healthy young men over this period did not 
  produce any injury that the commission could detect by the tests used. Society 
  is composed of individuals other than healthy young men, and nine months is a 
  short period in the span of human life. There are many deviations of 
  physiological processes that can not be detected by body weight, food intake, 
  or the chemical examination of the urine. Most of the organs in the body can 
  be injured a great deal before we become actually sick. It would seem a safer 
  principle for governments and society to insist that the burden of proof of 
  harmlessness falls on the manufacturer or the introducer of the new food 
  substitutes rather than on society, and the test of the harmfulness or 
  harmlessness should involve all phyidological processes of man. 
*Prof. A. J. Carlson, Science, April 6, 1928, page 358.
   One of the most remarkable episodes in the activities of the Remsen Board was 
in connection with the Convention of State, Dairy and Food Officials in their 
annual meeting in Denver, in 1909. The previous meeting of this official body 
was held at Mackinac Island in 1908. At this meeting vigorous protests against 
the mutilation of the food law by the creation of the Remsen Board were voiced 
in the resolutions adopted by the convention. These resolutions reflected 
severely upon the attitude of the Secretary of Agriculture and other officials 
of the Department in accepting the decisions of this Board which were held to be 
contrary to law. The Secretary of Agriculture was indignant at this feature of 
the meeting in 1908. It is evident that he did not want a repetition of it to 
occur in 1909. Previous to the date of the meeting George P. MeCabe, Solicitor, 
made an official trip to the Central West, which, according to the testimony 
given, was for the purpose of interviewing prospective delegates to Denver and 
urging them to vote to support the policies of the Department of Agriculture. As 
related in the testimony in the Moss Committee on the expenditures of the 
Department of Agriculture, Mr. McCabe was somewhat hazy as to the purposes of 
this trip and as to exactly when it was made. Only two years had passed, but 
they seemed to have had a remarkable effect upon his memory. Under the urgent 
questioning of members of the Committee and in a burst of loyalty to his chief 
he finally told the whole story.
   To strengthen still further the administration lines in the forthcoming 
convention, the Secretary of Agriculture requested the members of the Referee 
Board also to attend this convention. In addition to this urgent request of the 
Secretary, the President of the forthcoming convention, the Hon. J. Q. Emery, 
Food and Drug Commissioner of Wisconsin, invited the members of the Referee 
Board to attend the convention and justify, if they could, the conclusions 
already reached in the benzoate of soda question. It was particularly desirable, 
also, to hear their opinions on the saccharin question, inasmuch as that was the 
chief motive of the appointment of the Remsen Board. The attitude of Dr. Remsen, 
the Chairman of that Board, and the part played by it in the Denver convention 
are luminously set forth in the testimony of the Moss committee which follows. 
The memory of Mr. McCabe, as I have said, was somewhat short, andthis seemed to 
be the case with the memory of Dr. Dunlap. He was specially sent by the 
Secretary of Agriculture to acquaint Dr. Remsen with his plans for controlling 
the Denver convention. Dr. Dunlap's memory in regard to the plan which he 
discussed with Dr. Remsen was quite as hazy as was Mr. McCabe's memory in regard 
to his trip to interview the delegates to the Denver convention. One of the most 
striking features in connection with this event was the fact that special 
commissions were issued to the members of the Remsen Board to cover their 
expenses in connection with this trip. It was shown by the questioning of the 
committee that there was cloubt as to the legality of these expenses under the 
general proclamation establishing the Remsen Board. That no question might arise 
with the disbursing officers, this special dispensation was given. The reading 
of the testimony will be sufficient to illustrate the other points in regard to 
the appearance of the Remsen Board at Denver. Following this are quotations from 
the Denver press at the time the meeting was in session. The pages of the 
testimony are given in each selection.


Dr. Remsen's Testimony
   Page 257.
   MR. FLOYD: What is saccharin, Doctor?
   DR. REMSEN: I can explain that if you want a scientific lecture. I happen to 
be the discoverer of that substance. I could not explain it in a few words very 
   MR. FLOYD: Did you say you were the inventor of saccharin?
   DR. REMSEN: No; I would not say I was the inventor. The substance was 
discovered in the laboratory under my direction in an investigation carried out 
way back, over 30 years ago. A young man was associated with me in the work, and 
his name is generally connected with "saccharin." That man is Mr. Fahlberg.
   MR. FLOYD: Is it a patent?
   DR. REMSEN: He patented it. I did not. Incidentally he made a good deal of 
money out of it. I did not.
   MR. FLOYD: For what reason, if to your knowledge, was saccharin referred to 
your board for investigation?
   DR. REMSEN: I have no idea why it was referred except the general idea that 
in every case it was desired to know whether the substance mentioned in the 
reference is or is not harmful That is the main point.
   MR. FLOYD: When used in food?
   DR. REMSEN: When used in food; yes.
   MR. FLOYD: Is saccharin a food within itself or is it a preservative used in 
foods? I do not want you to go into a long scientific explanation, of course.
   DR. REMSEN: It is not a food; it is to a slight extent a preservative. But 
the purpose for which it is used is as a sweetening agent. It is about 500 times 
sweeter than ordinary sugar and can be made at a rate which renders sweetness 
per unit very much cheaper than ordinary sugar.
   MR. MAYS: Is it harmful?
   DR. REMSEN: That was the question.
   MR. MAYS: And have you decided it?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes; we have made our report.
   MR. FLOYD: Their opinion is printed in the record.
   DR. REMSEN: I may say also that it is used as a medicine in diabetes. I 
believe it is very useful in that disease, as diabetic patients cannot take 
sugar, but can take saccharin and thrive under it.
   MR. FLOYD: Do you know whether any members of the board selected by you 
previous to their appointment had taken any special interest in or expressed any 
opinion of chemical preservatives of food?
   DR. REMSEN: I can not answer that question fully, but I can give an answer to 
the best of my knowledge. They had all been interested in the general problem of 
the use of preservatives. Two of them--possibly only one; I know Dr. Chittenden 
was interested in the effect of saltpeter on meat and was engaged in an 
investigation on that subject until quite recently. He also, I believe, although 
I am not sure about that--I have seen this in the newspapers and have not 
followed it in detail otherwise--was interested at one time in the investigation 
of the effects of borax* or boracic acid as a preservative. I think Dr. Long was 
on that same committee that investigated saltpeter. I am not sure.
*Dr. Chittenden appeared before a legislative committee and declared borax a 
harmless preservative.
   MR. FLOYD: Did you attend the convention of State and National dairy and food 
departments at Denver, in 1909?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes, sir; on the way back from California I stopped there.
   Page 262-263.
   MR. FLOYD: Did you attend on your own volition, or were you directed by the 
department to attend?
   DR. REMSEN: I was not directed; I was requested.
   MR. FLOYD: You were requested to attend?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes.
   MR. FLOYD: How long did you remain at Denver during that convention?
   DR. REMSEN: Two or three days; I am not sure just exactly how long.
   MR. FLOYD: What was the purpose of that convention, and what were the 
questions discussed there? Did they relate to pure foods?
   DR. REMSEN: Well, I do not know much about the association. I do know that I 
was asked by the president of the association to give an address on the subject 
of the work of the referee board, I think, or, at least it had reference to the 
benzoate question, and after finding I could stop there conveniently on the way 
from California and that the other members of the board could do the same, I 
accepted the invitation. The association discussed all sorts of questions 
pertaining to things of which I have no knowledge, but I do know that they took 
up this benzoate question in rather an active way, and I suppose it was felt by 
the Secretary that it was desirable to have some one there to explain what it 
all meant. They seemed to be going on the wrong track, so far as we could 
gather. They got some wrong impressions of the thing and the nature of the work, 
or what we were appointed for, or what we were doing, and it did seem wise not 
to let them go too far that way without some explanation from us, which we gave 
in a dignifled way, I think I can safely say.
   MR. FLOYD: And the expenses of yourself and the other members of the board 
for this trip to California and this trip to the convention in Denver were paid 
by the department?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes. Of course, the trip to the convention amounted to very 
little. That was simply stopping over.
   MR. FLOYD: You state that you addressed the convention yourself. Did any of 
the other members of the board address the convention, and if so, who?
   DR. REMSEN: Dr. Chittenden, Dr. Long and Dr. Herter all addressed the 
convention, at the request of the president of the association, Mr. Emery.
   MR. FLOYD: I will ask you to state if in the address you made before the 
convention on the question of benzoate of soda you made a defense of the use of 
benzoate of soda?
   DR. REMSEN: No, sir.
   MR. FLOYD: You just discussed the findings?
   DR.. REMSEN: I discussed the general method of procedure which we had 
followed. I have nothing to do with the use of benzoate of soda. We were not 
asked to decide whether it was,a good thing to use or not, and we have never 
expressed ourselves upon that point.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Your expenses at Denver were also paid by the Department of 
   DR. REMSEN: We went, as I said yesterday, to California for an important 
purpose, looking into the sulphuring process, and on our way back we stopped 
there. We did make a little effort to time our trip back so that we could attend 
the meeting, because we had been asked to give addresses. We were asked by the 
president of the association. We stayed there possibly three days. I am not sure 
whether it was two or three, but not more than three. The slight expense of the 
board during that period in the way of traveling expenses was paid by the--
   THE CHAIRMAN (interposing): You gave an address there?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes.
   THE CHAIRMAN: And the purpose of that address was to explain and defend the 
report you had made to the Secretary of Agriculture?
   DR. REMSEN: I did not defend the work. I didn't think that was my business. 
The report had been made. But I did do this: I explained, somewhat as I have 
explained to this committee, how the board came into existence, and very little 
else. I don't think that the address was ever published. Then, I may say, that 
after that the work of the board was attacked very violently by Dr. Reed, of 
Cincinnati, which was most astonishing to me. After that attack I felt it my 
duty to respond, which I did in measured manner, and I didn't say anything I 
would not repeat. I will add that to what I said yesterday, because I made 
really two addresses there. The other members of the board I think did not 
answer the attack. I think they were satisfied with my answer.
   THE CHAIRMAN: In making either one of those addresses did you go beyond the 
official work of your board and defend the use of benzoate of soda as a 
preservative of food?
   DR. REMSEN: No, Sir.
   Dr. Reed's address was solely in the interest of public health. The criticism 
he made of the Remsen Board was for its open support of adding benzoate of soda 
and saccharin to foods. If it was "violent" it was because of Dr. Reed's 
indignation that a law passed, as the Supreme Court has said, for the protection 
of public health, was so flagrantly flouted by the Remsen Board in the two cases 
then decided, namely, benzoate of soda and saccharin.

Who led the fight against the Remsen Board at the Denver Convention

   Page 292-293.
   MR. HIGGINS: Did you desire to make any other statement that has not been 
covered by the questions that have been asked?
   DR. REMSEN: There is just one point that I should like to refer to, that has 
not been brought out in the examination. This board has been aware for some time 
that there is some influence at work to undermine it and discredit it. We do not 
pretend to know and have not discovered what the source of that influence is; 
but it is perfectly clear that that influence is at work.
   MR. HIGGIN: How does it manifest itself?
   DR. REMSEN: Newspaper articles. So far as I know the newspapers almost 
without exception are opposed to the Remsen Board. Why, I am sure I don't know. 
The Remsen Board is an innocent board and does not quite like to be considered 
guilty before it has been tried, at all events. I have noticed that within the 
last month nearly every reference to the Remsen Board that has appeared in the 
papers has put the board in a bad light, and anybody reading those articles day 
after day would get the impression that Remsen and his whole tribe ought to 
disappear from the face of the earth. Sometimes friends of mine come up to me 
with long faces and say, "Remsen, it is too bad about this matter." I say, 
"What's the matter?" They say, "Haven't you seen that article about your board?" 
I say, "Oh, no, and don't show it to me; I have seen enough." Now, those 
articles would not appear day after day, at least I can not imagine they would 
appear, without there being some influence at work to inspire them. I merely 
make this statement to show my state of mind. I am getting, as I have confessed, 
somewhat thicker skinned, and I rather rejoice that I have been through this 
experience because I think on the whole a thick skin is worth something.
   The attack upon the Remsen Board by the public press was nation-wide. The 
only people who were pleased with it, aside from the high officials of the 
Government, were the adulterators and misbranders of our foods. At the hotel in 
Denver I saw a most remarkable phenomenon. There was gathered at Danver a strong 
lobby of the supporters of the Remsen Board. At the head of this lobby, which 
apparently numbered 100 at least, was Warwick M. Hough, chief attorney for the 
rectifiers. There seemed to be little enthusiasm among the people of Denver for 
the Secretary of Agriculture, his solicitor, and the members of the Remsen 
Board. There was, however, tremendous enthusiasm of the lobby above referred to 
for all of these individuals. After adjournment of the afternoon session I saw 
this lobby gathered around the members. of the Remsen Board and Warwick M. 
Hough's arm was lovingly encircling the shoulders of Dr. Ira M. Remsen, eminent 
chemist and president of Johns Hopkins University, and according to his own 
statement, discoverer of saccharin. Although each member of the Remsen Board was 
personally known to me except Dr. Alonzo Taylor and Dr. C. A. Herter, not one of 
them spoke to me during the three or four days they were in Denver except Dr. 
Herter. He came up and introduced himself to me and attempted to make some 
apology for his part in the activities of the Remsen Board. He realized very 
keenly the condition they were in, in espousing the cause of adulteration, 
becoming the paid agents of the adulterators, and incurring the universal 
condemnation of the press and the people of the country. Dr. Herter was then a 
very sick man. In a few months from that date he died. I have often wondered 
with what misgivings he approached his end and what feelings the other members 
of the Board must have had when they realized the universal condemnation which 
was heaped upon them. I doubt if any reference is ever made in the biographies 
of these men, as they pass away one by one and their deeds while living are 
recorded, to the service they rendered their country as members of this Board.
   Page 293-294.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Might not the fact that you gave certain testimony and the fact 
that you appeared at the Denver convention making speeches there be at the 
bottom of some of this influence that you are speaking about as being inimical 
to the Remsen Board?
   DR. REMSEN: I am sure I don't know, but I can say that it was found that the 
influence, whatever it was, was at work long before the Denver meeting.
   THE CHAIRMAN: When the Remsen Board was appointed of course no one expected 
that it was going to do anything more than give advice to the Secretary of 
Agriculture in his official duties, and yet, according to your testimony, the 
Department of Agriculture has suggested to different members to appear in court 
and give testimony, has paid their expenses at that trial, when the effect would 
be to affect the decision of the courts in the State of Indiana.
   DR. REMSEN: Well, it might affect the decision of the court in so far as it 
would enable them better to get at the truth, which I suppose was the object of 
the court.
   THE CHAIRMAN: That may be the object of the court, but it surely was not the 
object of the creation of this referee board, was it?
   DR. REMSEN: Of course the referee board was never defined exactly--exactly 
what it should do.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Well, let us define it. Do you understand it now to be part of 
the purpose of the referee board to in fluence the decisions of the courts of 
this country?
   DR. REMSEN: Why, no; in no sense, except--
   MR. HIGGINS: Except so far as the truth is concerned?
   DR. REMSEN: Except so far as the truth is concerned by telling the facts, and 
if I am asked to do so I should do so, so far as it would influence the action 
of the court I should think it would be proper for the board to do so.
   THE CHAIRMAN: However, I believe you admit that your official report is not 
   DR. REMSEN: Yes, sir.
   THE CHAIRMAN: And it is voluntary with you whether you should appear and give 
this testimony?
   DR. REMSEN: I think I could have been subpoenaed. I am not sure.
   THE CHAIRMAN: And you referred the matter to your superior and it was upon 
his advice that you gave this testimony?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes.
   THE CHAIRMAN: That is the point I wanted to get at, and that you advised Dr. 
Chittenden also to give his testimony?
   DR. REMSEN: Yes; I did the second time.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Yes; and that Dr. Chittenden's expenew were paid by the 
Department of Agriculture?
   DR. REMSEN: I believe so. I am not entirely clear about that.
   MR. HIGGINS: And the Indiana courts had the benefit of the decision which 
your board had reached as the result of its scientific investigations as to the 
effect of benzoate of soda?
   DR. REMSEN: That was the effect of our appearance, that is all. We did not 
argue the case, of course.
   Page 858.
   To Secretary Wilson:
   THE CHAIRMAN: You are speaking there about the Board of Food and Drug 
Inspection; you are referring to some advice to be given to Dr. Taylor about 
some testimony to be given at Indianapolis, Ind., and you state there: "I shall 
consult with our people on the Board of Food and Drug Inspection (that is, 
Dunlap and McCabe)." What meaning do you attach to that language--if you dare to 
attach any?
   SECRETARY WILSON: There is no hesitation in my mind in telling you all that 
was in my mind there.
   THE CHARMAN: I recognize the fact that you need not answer unless you wish.
   SECRETARY WILSON: Oh, I am going to answer it, My answer is this: You are 
pretty well aware that there was friction between those men, there. You have got 
that pretty much every bit in your testimony. It would have been an insult to 
Dr. Wiley to have consulted him in regard to anything concerning benzoate of 
   SECRETARY WILSON: Because he despised it, and everything connected with it, 
and believed that a big mistake had been made, and a big mistake had been made 
by ever getting the Referee Board; that is why. I do not gratuitously offer 
insults to any of my people.

   Page 868-869.
   THE CHAIRMAN: I understand also, Mr. Secretary, that you have referred the 
report of the Bureau of Chemistry on the copper question to the Referee Board 
without publication?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Oh, yes; I remember now. I had two bureaus considering the 
sulphate of copper, and there was a man in the Plant Industry named Woods who 
had done a most remarkable lot of work with sulphate of copper. He found by 
taking a little bag of sulphate of copper and going into a large reservoir that 
had green scum over it, if he would sail around for an hour and drag that bag 
after him he would kill every single particle of that green scum there; and he 
went to a number of States in the country, and he went to Panama and cleaned up 
every one of the reservoirs they had. He and the doctor did not come within 
gunshot of agreeing on sulphate of copper. In a case of that kind, Mr. Chairman, 
one must go slow when they have two scientists in two different lines and they 
do not quite agree. It is not best to bring any arbitrary rulings in there, but 
wait and see if we can not get more light.
   THE CHAIRMAN: It is a matter of fact, however, the Bureau of Chemistry did 
make a report upon copper, and it has not been published?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Yes; and that is the reason, Mr. Chairman; that is the 
   THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Secretary, will you be willing to have prepared and 
inserted in the record at this point a complete list of the investigations of 
the Bureau of Chemistry which you have refused or have failed for any reason to 
have published?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I could do that; yes; I could do that.
   (Manuscripts relating to subjects involved in the enforcement of the food and 
drugs act, approved June 30, 1906, submitted for publication by the Bureau of 
Chemistry, but not published:)
   Corn Sirup as a Synonym for Glucose. Submitted as Food Inspection Decision 
83, November, 1907.
   Investigations of a Substitute (weak brine) for Sulphur Dioxide in Drying 
Fruits, by W. D. Bigelow.
   Sanitary Conditions of Canneries, Based on the Results of Inspection. By A. 
W. Bitting, February, 1908.
   Influence of Food Preservatives and Artificial Colors on Digestion and 
     VI. Sulphate of Copper. By H. W. Wiley and others, April, 1908.
     VII. Potassium Nitrate. By H. W. Wiley and others. April, 1908.
   The Bleaching of Flour. By H. W. Wiley, February, 1909.
   Influence of Food Preservatives and Artificial Colors on Digestion and 
     IV. Benzoic Acid and Benzoates. By H. W. Wiley and others. Submitted for 
  reprint, June, 1909.
   Medicated Soft Drinks. By L. F. Kebler and others. July, 1909.
   Drug Legislation in the United States:
     II. Indexed Digest of Drug Legislation. By C. H. Greathouse. October, 1909.
   Food Legislation During the Year Ended June 30, 1909. January, 1910.
   Estimation of Glycerin in Meat Preparations. By C. R Cook. March, 1910.
   Technical Drug Studies. By L. F. Kebler and others. April, 1910.
   Experiments on the Spoilage of Tomato Ketchup. By A. W. Bitting. January, 
   The Influence of Environment on the Sugar Content of Cantaloupes. By M. N. 
Straughn and C. G. Church. May, 1911.
   A Bacteriological Study of Eggs in the Shell and of Frozen and Desiccated 
Eggs. By G. W. Stiles. May, 1911.
   The Arsenic Content of Shellac. June, 1911.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Is it the policy of the Department of Agriture, Mr. Secretary, 
to suppress or refuse publication of the reports which the Bureau of Chemistry 
may make to you on any questions which are referred to the Referee Board, until, 
after the board has made its final report?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I may have done that. I think probably there is 
justification for having anything which treats with benzoate of soda handled in 
that way. I believe that is the question, is it? Benzoate of soda is a question 
that was referred to the Referee Board. I think I would not favor printing 
anything in the department until we heard from them.
   THE CHAIRMAN: As a matter of fact, whether the findings of the Referee Board 
govern your action, or whether the findings of the Bureau of Chemistry govern 
your action, is a question which you yourself decide within your own diseretion, 
is it not?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Surely. You have to have a secretary there who must decide.
   THE CHAIRMAN: In other words, the decisions of the Referee Board have no 
value whatever until approved by you? I am speaking now legally, and as to its 
influence upon the administration of the pure food law.
   Page 865-866.
   THE CHAIRMAN: It is true, is it not, Mr. Secretary, that money which you 
allot to the Referee Board is drawn from money appropriated for the Bureau of 
Chemistry, and that this allotment is anticipated in the estimates which you 
   SECRETARY WILSON: Yes; anticipated and understood by the Committee on 
Agriculture when they appropriate the money.
   THE CHAIRMAN: And for that reason you do not consult with the chief of bureau 
in regard to making that particular allotment? Is that true?
   SECRETARY WILSON: The chiefs of the bureaus are always consulted. Dr. Wiley, 
the chief of that bureau, is a little touchy on anything of that kind, and one 
has to bethink himself quite often about getting along smoothly in this world, 
you know.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Has Dr. Wiley ever recommended that any money be allotted to 
the Referee Board from the appropriation under his department?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I think I would not want to hurt his feelings by ever 
mentioning it at all.
   We had a referee board, and I think a pretty expensive referee board, you 
will confess. We had gone after big men, and it was costing a good deal of 
money, and those people met there at Mackinac Island and got themselves outside 
of sympathy with the department along those lines, attacked me personally, 
misrepresented things, and I thought the amount of effort the United States was 
making and the amount of money it was expending to get facts from the greatest 
chemists in the land made it worthwhile for us to get those big men there before 
that class of men and let them see them and let them hear them. I did not think 
they comprehended the difference there was between a small chemist and a big 
one. That was the one thing in my mind. They were in California studying the 
drying of foods with sulphur, and the arrangement was that they should stop over 
at Denver on the way back. I was going to the forests, and I arranged and it was 
my plan to stop there on my way to the forests. I went into the forests from 
Denver and stayed a month. Those were the plans. There is nothing I care to 
conceal here, noththing. Those were the plans and we talked them over, and 
everyone of them addressed that convention, everyone of them, and I think those 
people got new light from those men.
   THE CHAIRMAN: I wish to refer to you page 338 of the hearings of August 3, to 
correspondence between yourself and Dr. Remsen. Dr. Remsen says, in this letter: 
"It is clear from the newspaper reports that there is 'pernicious activity' 
somewhere." In your reply you say: "The pernicious activity you speak of is 
quite evident." Will you kindly tell the committee what you referred to as 
"pernicious activity"?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Yes. The activity of people attacking that Remsen Board. 
That is just what it was.
   THE CHAIRMAN: It was correspondence between you and the chairman of the 
board. Of course, if this "pernicious activity" is without the Department of 
Agriculture it would not be proper for us to go into it. But if it is within the 
Department of Agriculture, it would seem to me proper for us to know what you 
referred to as "pernicious activity."
   SECRETARY WILSON: If you have been watching the public press you have 
discovered that there has been a good deal of criticism. If you have been 
watching the proceedings of Congress you will no doubt have seen there has been 
a desperate effort made there for the purpose of destroying the Remsen Board, 
and things of that kind. That is what I had reference to.
   THE CHAIRMAN: In your letter of April 19, 1909, you say further: "Things will 
come to a head before a great while, I think, along this line." Would you care 
to explain what that means?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I thought the work of that board, as it was being done and 
reported, would settle all those questions.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Do you consider, or did you consider at the time, that the 
attendance of members of the Remsen Board and Solicitor McCabe at this Denver 
convention, which we were speaking about heretofore, was in line with their 
official duties?
   SECRETARY WILSON: Yes; it was a kind of public trial we were having, really, 
of the Remsen Board.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Their attendance being in the line of their official duty, will 
you explain why you issued to each one of them a special authorization for 
traveling expenses to attend this particular convention, when each one of them 
had an annual authorization for travel anywhere in the United States upon 
official business?
   SECRETARY WILSON: If you have evidence of that special authorization, you had 
better call my attention to it.
   THE CHAIRMAN: Very well, I will be glad to do that.
   (Reads letter from Secretary Wilson to Dr. Remsen, dated August 6, 1909, 
wherein it is stated that authorization No. 1163 is amended so as to permit Dr. 
Remsen and his assistants to attend the Denver convention.)
   SECRETARY WILSON: I guess that is correct. What do you want to know about it?
   THE CHAIRMAN: I want to know, if this attendance was in line with their 
official duties, as stated here, why it was necessary they should have special 
authorization when they had a regular authorization?
   SECRETARY WILSON: I 'Presume they had some doubts about stopping off at 
Denver being in their original authorization. If they had, then I gave them all 
the authorization they would need.
   THE CHAIRMAN: If there were any doubt it would be doubt as to whether or not 
that came within their official duties?
   THE CHAIRMAN: Do you hold that you have executive authority to add to the 
official duties of the Remsen Board other than that prescribed in the order 
creating them?
   SECRETARY WILSON: To this extent, yes.
   THE CHAIRMAN: To that extent you have?
   One of the most detestable features of the persecution of those delegates to 
the Denver Convention of 1909 who opposed the decision of the Remsen Board was 
the dismissal of Floyd Robison. This action was investigated by the Moss 
Committee. Mr. Robison was one of a group of state chemists who were 
occasionally requested to cooperate with the officials of the Bureau of 
Chemistry in enforcing the Food Law. (Pages 522-524.)

   MR. Moss: Were there any charges filed against you?
   DR. ROBISON: None.
   MR. Moss: Have you the letter of dismissal with you?
   DR. ROBISON: I have.
   MR. Moss: Please read it to the committee.
   (I will quote only last line of this letter.)
   DR. ROBISON (reading): "He is removed from the department for the good of the 
service. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture."
   Dr. Robison appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture for reasons which led to 
such drastic action. The Secretary, in his reply, under date of July 25, 1911, 
     "* * * At the meeting of the Association of State and National Food and 
  Dairy Departments at Denver, in July, 1909, you attracted attention by taking 
  a strong and public position against the policies of the department and of the 
  administration. You appeared in the Federal court in Indianapolis in 
  opposition to the policies of the administration with regard to the reports of 
  the Referee Board on benzoate of soda and the report of the three secretaries 
  with regard to it. * * * I have approved your dismissal for the good of the 
  service. There are no charges against you; we make none. I recognize the fact 
  that you have a perfect right to occupy any position you see fit. with regard 
  to the policies of the administration or of the department, but I do not think 
  you should draw salary while you are taking this stand." 
   Question by MR. MOSS: Were you a delegate to the Denver convention?
   DR. ROBISON: I was.
   MR. MOSS: Whom did you represent?
   DR. ROBISON: The State of Michigan.
   MR. MOSS: Who paid your expenses for attending that convention?
   DR. ROBISON: The State of Michigan.
   MR. MOSS: Were you drawing any salary from the Government at that time?
   DR. ROBISON: I was not.
   MR. MOSS: Did you draw any money, either directly or in. directly, from the 
National Government for your attendance at the convention or for your expenses?
   DR. ROBISON: I did not.
   MR. MOSS: What position did you hold at the Denver convention?
   DR. ROBISON: I held the position of chairman of the committee of eleven State 
food chemists appointed by the president of the Association of State and 
National Food and Dairy Departments.
   MR. MOSS: Did you make any report?
   DR. ROBISON: As chairman of the committee, I did.
   MR. MOSS: Will you read into the record that report?
   DR. ROBISON: I will read the final recommendation:
     "'Your committee therefore respectfully suggests to this association the 
  wisdom of asking the President of the United States and the honorable 
  Secretary of Agriculture to institute investigations along some such broader 
  lines as indicated above." 
   MR. MOSS: Did you make any address to the Denver convention in which you 
referred to the Remsen Board one way or the other?
   DR. ROBISON: I did not.
   MR. MOSS: Did you receive any information from Secretary Wilson or any person 
representing him as to the policy of the Department of Agriculture?
   DR. ROBISON: I received none.
   MR. MOSS: Did you make any address to the convention advocating or opposing 
the use of benzoate of soda?
   DR. ROBISON: I did not.
   MR. MOSS: In your capacity as delegate did you cast a vote for president of 
that association?
   DR. ROBISON: I did. I voted for Mr. Bird, the commissioner of the State of 
   MR. MOSS: Did Mr. Bird receive the support of the Department of Agriculture?
   DR. ROBISON: He did not.
   MR. MOSS: So far as you know, then, did you appear in opposition to the 
Department of Agriculture in any other manner except casting your personal vote 
for the president of the association?
   DR. ROBISON: I did not.
   MR. MOSS: At whose request did you appear at Indianapolis to give testimony 
at that trial?
   DR. ROBISON: At the request of the Board of Health of the State of Indiana.
   MR. MOSS: Were you paid any fee?
   DR. ROBISON: I received no fee.
   MR. MOSS: In your testimony, did you give your original work as a chemist?
   DR. ROBISON: I testified according to the truth as, I understood it to be and 
had found it from my own investigations, and according to my oath, and without 
any regard in any capacity to any other policy.
   MR. MOSS: Were you warned in any way by the Department of Agriculture not to 
do this?
   DR. ROBISON: I was not.

     Replying to President Emery, Secretary Wilson said:
     "I came out here to listen, and I glean from the address of your president 
  that the Department of Agriculture, which I thought had been doing much, has 
  been doing nothing. Now let me tell you some of the things that it has done 
  within the last year.or so."
     The Secretary then enumerated some of the achievements of the department.
     "Now with regard to a few preservatives, there is, a difference of opinion 
  among the chemists of the world. One of these questions is benzoate of soda.
     "The manufacturers of the United States went to the President when the use 
  of this was prohibited and asked for fair play. Finally he concluded to ask 
  the presidents of the great universities to appoint some men to conduct an 
  investigation who were competent to do the work. Under his authority I 
  appointed five such gentlemen, who, I believe, are the best chemists in the 
  United States, if not in the whole world.
     "President Emery has attacked their report. Now I have but one request. You 
  have arranged a place upon your program to have the Referee Board here on 
  Thursday to be heard. All I ask is that the hearing be a full and fair one."
     With representatives of interests aggregating more than $500,000,000 
  present to enter protest against a tentative "model" food law bill, which will 
  probably be presented to the pure food convention for endorsement, the 
  committee which drafted.the bill met last night at the Brown and gave the 
  manufacturers' side a hearing.
           (The Daily News, Denver, Colo., Aug. 25, 1909.)
     The morning session was quite as pungent, although in another way. The 
  convention was called to order at 10 o'clock and Gov. John F. Shafroth made an 
  address of welcome. He complimented both Secretary Wilson and Dr. H. W. Wiley, 
  Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry at Washington, upon the work they have done 
  for the country. He termed Secretary Wilson "the greatest Secretary of 
  Agriculture the country has ever known," and the remark was greeted with 
  enthusiastic cheers. He favored a uniformity in the state and national food 
  laws and finished with an eulogy of Colorado's growth and development.
     "We held that if the National Government should indorse benzoic acid it 
  would thus license one of the preservatives which encourages the same 
  conditions in fruit and vegetable manufacture as were abolished in the 
  meat-packing establishments by the national meat inspection law.
     In view of this position we appealed to President Roosevelt in the latter 
  part of his term to appoint another committee to investigate the findings of 
  the Remsen Board. This request was referred by President Roosevelt to 
  Secretary of Agriculture Wilson, who reported back to the President against 
  granting that request.
     Secretary Wilson's remarks were greeted with cheers, yet before he had 
  stepped from the platform President Emery angrily said: "This Referee Board 
  was asked to come to this convention by the executive committee, and the 
  insinuation that it is not to be given fair play comes with poor grace. The 
  report went to the Secretary of Agriculture and he sent it back without 
  comment. We took it that it did not meet his approval.
     Secretary Wilson asked a moment to answer, and said dryly:
     "You gentlemen up Mackinac way took it upon yourselves to condemn us down 
  at Washington unheard, and so we figured you were not the material from which 
  judges of the Supreme Court can be made."
     R. W. Dunlap, of Ohio, is the only commissioner in the United States who is 
  elected by the people instead of being, appointed. Commissioner Dunlap was 
  elected by 12,000 majority, and is one of the most popular officials in Ohio.
          (From Denver Republican, Aug. 25, 1909.)
     After apparently having been whipped upon every question brought up during 
  the pure food convention until there was no further fight left in them, the 
  opposers of Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson's policies developed a 
  remarkable strength in the battle for the electiort of the association's 
  officers and put up one of the hottest contests ever seen during a convention 
  meeting in this city. George L. Flanders, of New York, was elected president. 
  New Orleans was chosen as the next place of meeting.
     The thirteenth annual convention of the National Association of State Food 
  and Dairy Departments developed at its termination yesterday afternoon into a 
  political struggle for the officers for next year, in which the Wilson, or 
  administration, crowd won the presidency by three votes and lost all but one 
  of the other officers. Had not Secretary Wilson been in Denver on the spot the 
  administration would have been badly defeated not only on the election of the 
  president but on many other questions as well. It was his political power and 
  prestige as a member of the President's Cabinet and his experience in 
  political campaigns that won the support of the convention for the 
  administration. He seconded the nomination of Flanders. Supporters of 
  President J. Q. Emery and Dr. Charles Reed, of Cincinnati, the opponents of 
  benzoate of soda and of the administration, were quite free to call Secretary 
  Wilson's crowd apolitical "ring" and a "clique." Certainlyitwas largely by a 
  political trick that. the election of George L. Flanders, of New York, was 
  secured and the defeat of A. C. Bird, of Michigan, was encompassed. George P. 
  McCabe, Solicitor of the Department of Agriculture, and director of the battle 
  for Secretary Wilson, was very busy just before the vote was taken and the 
  votes upon the other officers looked as if he had made some advantageous 
  trades for Flanders. This did not prevent Mr. McCabe's defeat for the office 
  of executive committeeman, A. N. Cook, of South Dakota, winning against him. 

Left to right: Dr. W. D. Bigelow, my first assistant in the Bureau of Chemistry; 
Dr. Harry E. Barnard, formerly Food Commissioner of Indiana; Dr. Harvey W. 
Wiley, former Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry; Mr. I. L. Miller, present Food 
Commissioner of Indiana; Dr. Robert M. Allen, former Food Commissioner of Ken. 
tucky; Mr. W. C. Geagley, Sec.-Treas. Association of Dairy, Food and Drug 
Officials of the United States

     Field Marshal McCabe became busy in his travels about the convention room, 
  and when the vote was finally taken it was 57 to 54 in favor of Flanders, or 
  the Wilson administration had only one state the best of the argument. The 
  fact that the Secretary took the floor to second Flanders' nomination 
  personally operated greatly for the latter's benefit, it is said.
     When the vote was taken on the other officers the Wilson slate was broken 
  so badly that the pieces could not be found.
          (Denver Republican, Aug. 28, 1909.)
     After one of the stormiest sessions any convention of any kind ever had in 
  Colorado, in which a great national organization at times took the aspect of a 
  bitter political ward meeting, and in which politics was played every moment 
  of the time, Dr. George L. Flanders, of New York, Secretary Wilson's 
  candidate, yesterday was elected president of the Association of State and 
  National Food and Dairy Departments, adding another point to the Secretary's 
  sweeping victory in the benzoate of soda battle. 

State Dairy and Food Commissioner of Michigan
     The Secretary of Agriculture led the fray in person. Flanders defeated A. 
  C. Bird, State Dairy and Food Commissioner of Michigan, Wiley's candidate, by 
  a vote of 57 to 54. Thirty-six states voted, each state having three votes. 
  The vote by states was: Flanders 18, Bird 18, but the Department of 
  Agriculture had three votes, and these three votes went to Flanders.
     The votes by states on the presidency was as follows: Flanders--Arizona, 
  California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, 
  Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, 
  Department of Agriculture, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, three votes each, 
  total 19; total votes, 57.
     Bird--Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, 
  Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, 
  Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, total 18; total votes, 
          (The Daily News, Denver, Colo., Aug. 28, 1909.) 

Food Commissioner of Texas, in attendance at Denver Convention
   Thus ended that most turbulent exhibition of disreputable politics ever 
witnessed in a so-called scientific convention in any country. It was the vote 
of the Department of Agriculture that elected Mr. Flanders. The Bureau of 
Chemistry took no part in this discreditable affair. The Health Office of the 
District of Columbia through Dr. Woodward cast its three votes in favor of the 
candidate of the food adulterators. The eminent members of the Referee Board 
must have been amazed at the character of their enthusiastic admirers. It was an 
astounding apotheosis of the Unholy.


Dr. Andrew Saul

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