Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

"This is another luminous example of the overwhelming mass of testimony antagonistic to the use of alum in baking powder which fills the Mason report. Professor Vaughan does not state that he has ever found unchanged alum in bread made with alum baking powder; he does not even claim that the amount of bread eaten at a single meal could possibly contain 5 grains of alum, or if it did that one could eat that amount of alum in 3 or 4 slices of bread without detecting the taste of alum, and hence rejecting the bread."

Of many other witnesses the memorial declares, in its criticisms of their individual testimony, that their statements are indefinite and are not based upon experimental knowledge or exact knowledge of any kind, and that they merely express opinions without indicating any basis for their opinions which would entitle them to serious weight. Attention is repeatedly called to the fact that witnesses who testified that alum baking powder is injurious were not questioned as to the physiological effects of cream of tartar baking powder. Even in the case of testimony based upon experiments, alleged omissions are pointed out which are declared to make the results inconclusive. For instance, the following comment is made upon the experiments of Professor Munroe (pp. 35, 36 of Digest). "He believes that hydrate of alumina will exert a harmful effect. He has, however, made no experiments himself, and hence expresses only an opinion. Later on Professor Munroe made bread with alum baking powder, extracted the bread with dilute hydrochloric acid, dialyzed the liquid and found compounds of aluminum in the dialyzates. As he did not make a blank test with the flour alone and did not determine the amounts of soluble salts of alumina present his experiments are not positive, for the soluble salts of alumina which he found may have come from the flour and not from the baking powder. It is a well-known fact that many samples of flour contain alumina. His inference that because a substance goes into solution in a 0.2 per cent solution of hydrochloric acid it will dissolve in the juices of the stomach, and that the alumina so dissolved will pass into the blood by osmosis, require experimental demonstrations on living animals or human beings and can not be proved by inference. Professor Munroe's statements and experiments are inconclusive."

Regarding the experiments of Dr. Mott, which consisted of feeding dogs with "biscuits made with immense quantities of alum baking powder," the memorial says: "Without going into a criticism of Dr. Mott's work, it is sufficient to state it is entirely contradicted and overthrown by the investigations of Professors Smith and Flint."

*

Professor Mallet's work is declared to be practically valueless because it avoids the real question. "He ate hydrate of alumina prepared in the laboratory, and not in the condition in which it exists in bread made with alum baking powder. ** He practically admits that the amount of hydrate of alumina in a loaf of bread had no effect upon him when taken at a single dose. His experiments were performed only on himself. He did not make, as he would doubtless have done had he been making an independent scientific investigation, a study of the effects on himself of the residue from cream of tartar baking powder. Perhaps Mr. Hoagland, of the Royal Baking Powder Company, had no interest in the sensations that Professor Mallet might have experienced * had he taken 50 grains of Rochelle salts several times a day."

* *

The memorial also calls attention to the fact that Professor Mallet has not experimented since 1888, and declares that the manufacture of alum baking powders has been greatly improved since that time. The exsiccated soda alum now used in making alum baking powder was not perfected in 1888. Professor Mallet did not make any experiments to show that unchanged alum is left in bread made with alum baking powders. He did not undertake to show by experiment that food prepared with alum baking powder is unwholesome. His experiments, from which he infers that aluminum hydroxide impairs digestion, are contradicted by the experimental work of Professors Smith and Flint. (Memorial, 41-52.)

The memorial declares that the chairman of the Senate Committe on Manufactures failed to reply to a request on behalf of the American Baking Powder Association for a hearing before the committee, yet after this request was sent "testimony was taken or letters solicited and printed from 28 persons hostile to the use of alum in baking powder." The memorial also says:

"The committee states that for 12 months a most searching investigation has been made; and that its time were worse than wasted if it were not prepared to make specific recommendations, based upon the evidence which it has taken where such evidence is conclusive. Therefore, so far as the use of alum in the manufacture of a food product, such as baking powder, is concerned, the committee, in view of the overwhelming mass of evidence antagonistic to its use,

recommends that its use in food products and baking powders be prohibited by law.'

"In answer to this it may be said that the committee did not make a searching examination of the baking-powder matter. Not a single one of the many opinions in favor of alum baking powder given by distinguished men at home and abroad are found in this report. The effect of Professor Austen's short statement was ludicrous in the extreme.

"From that point to the end of the report more and more space is given to the opponents of alum baking powder. Chemists who were known to be favorable to the cream of tartar powder were telegraphed for to come on at once and testify before the committee. Old reports of no value were resurrected from library dust bins and used to fill up the report, in some cases with the dates omitted, so as not to attract public attention to their antiquity. In fact, the exact experimental investigation made by Professors Flint and Smith being unanswerable, pages of mere opinions not based upon facts, experience, or experimental investigation were introduced, so as to form what might be called an "overwhelming mass of evidence," and thus delude those not familiar with chemical and physiological science into mistaking opinions for proofs. (Memorial, 39-41.)

D. The occurrence of aluminum compounds in nature.-The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association says:

"Advocates of cream of tartar baking powders state that salts of alumina are not found in plants or articles of food, but such statements are false. Kayser states that many wines contain alumina in solution, which has been dissolved during their manufacture. L'Hote also finds this to be the case. He also proved that both red grapes and their stalks contain soluble salts of alumina. The occurrence of alumina compounds in flour is so common that Wanklyn advises analysts to allow for it. Parmentier finds alumina salts in many spring waters. Yoshida proves that alumina compounds exist in peas, beans, rye, wheat, barley, millet, and buckwheat. Mushrooms, lichens, fungi, and mosses often contain considerable amounts of salts of alumina. In one moss (Lycopodium complanatum) acetate of alumina occurs in such quantities that a lye made from the plant can be used directly as a mordant in dyeing. The mountain raspberry has been found to contain an unusual amount of alumina salts. Drs. Harrington and Kinnicutt find alumina in the ash of human and cow's milk."

It is further suggested that the opinion of some witnesses against alum baking powder, that the occurrence of any element or compound in vegetation is an indication of its suitability for food, is an opinion which would lead to unfortunate results if it were consistently applied. (Memorial, 32, 33, 47.)

E. Injurious effects of cream of tartar baking powder. The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association quotes a statement made in Part 5 of Bulletin 13, "submitted to the Commissioner of Agriculture by Dr. H. W. Wiley, chief chemist of the division of chemistry," that a loaf of bread made with a tartrate powder contains an amount of salts more than equivalent to one Seidlitz powder. The memorial asserts that "eminent medical authorities claim that the continued use of small amounts of Rochelle salts is extremely harmful, and some, indeed, claim that the prevalence of Bright's disease is owing to the consumption of Rochelle salts in foods."

Dr. AUSTEN, testifying before the judiciary committee of the Georgia legislature, states that cream of tartar is made from argol, a substance deposited from grape juice during fermentation, termed chemically acid tartrate of potash. When mixed with bicarbonate of soda and a neutral substance it becomes baking powder. In making bread, a chemical action takes place which sets free carbonicacid gas and leaves tartrate of potash and soda, ordinarily known as Rochelle salts. No argument based upon the healthful nature of cream of tartar as such applies as regards the effect of Rochelle salts, the sole residuum of the baking powder which remains in the bread. Rochelle salts were formerly used frequently as a medicine, but are now less approved because of their injurious effect on the kidneys and bowels. Thus in the bulletin on "Food and Adulterants," prepared by Dr. Wiley, of the United States Department of Agriculture, it is stated that the amount of cream of tartar baking powder used becomes in the bread the equivalent of nearly an equal weight of the active ingredient of Seidlitz powders, which powders are a strong purgative. The directions for the use of tartar baking powders often called for a quantity equivalent to two Seidlitz powders or more in a loaf of bread.

It is claimed by many authorities, as stated by Dr. Austen, that the presence of considerable quantities of Rochelle salts in food stuffs is harmful to digestion. The authorities quoted are Professor William Jage, Dr. James T. Nichols, Professor Von Fehling, and Dr. Witthaus, in their respective text-books. In addition

to these authorities the witness refers to the statement of numerous physicians in New York City and Brooklyn, in the issues of the New York World of July 8 and 26, 1888. (Memorial, 27; "Some Interesting Information." 1-12.)

66

The New York World of July 26, 1888, contained an article on this subject, with the head lines Dynamite outdone. The dangerous combination of cream of tartar and soda." The article consisted chiefly of interviews by a reporter with well-known physicians. The writer concluded that these physicians generally "join in denouncing the much used Rochelle salts powders, which are to a great extent responsible for the kidney troubles and dyspepsia which afflict the American people." The authorities quoted in this article are as follows: Dr. David A. Gorton; Dr. E. H. Bartley, chief chemist of the Brooklyn board of health; Dr. Frank A. West, professor of materia medica in the Long Island college hospital; Dr. W. H. Farrington, the house physician at the Astor House: Dr. William H. Dustman; Dr. W.J. Purcell, of the New York board of health; Dr. Moreau Morris, of the New York board of health: Dr. J. T. Nagle, chief of the New York bureau of vital statistics; Dr. Phillip E. Donlin, ex-deputy coroner of New York, and Dr. Robert L. Dickinson.

The general agreement among these physicians was that Rochelle salts, which are the residuum left by the action of cream of tartar baking powders, are likely, if used regularly in moderate quantities, unduly to irritate the coating of the stomach and of the whole alimentary tract, acting as a laxative at first, but ultimately tending to cause constipation, and that less serious effects would be produced upon the kidneys.

*

66

*

*

The most detailed statement is that of Dr. E. H. Bartley, who says: • Whenever cream of tartar is used in the kitchen it is changed chemically and becomes Rochelle salts. Rochelle salts are a cathartic, a medicine which so irritates the stomach and intestines that nature sets up an inflammation and a sickness to expel it from the system. This expulsion takes the form of cramps, diarrhea, and dysentery. Besides this the salt produces indigestion, dyspepsia, and constipation. Whenever there is a tendency to kidney disorders it aggravates them, and in many of these instances aids in starting the latent disease. Each baking powder of this class prescribes an ounce of powder to a quart of flour. When this is baked it makes a 2-pound loaf, which contains one-half of an ounce of Rochelle salts. Well-to-do people eat on an average half a pound of bread, and working men 2 pounds per diem. The former, therefore, take into their system a quarter of an ounce, and the latter an ounce of Rochelle salts every day. The former certainly injure themselves, while the latter are ruining their systems. This probably is a powerful factor in causing the great mortality in sickness among working people.'

99 *

*

*

Dr. Frank A. West, professor of materia medica in the Long Island College Hospital, says that when Rochelle salts are introduced into the system in food they have to be eliminated either through the bowels or kidneys, and this would produce a highly irritating effect if kept up for any time.

Dr. Farrington, house physician of the Astor House, says that a baking powder which produces Rochelle salts would cause irritation of the intestinal canal, which, after a time, would cause obstinate constipation. The daily use of Rochelle salts for a considerable time would be likely to result in chronic dyspepsia, and would certainly injure the tissues as well as the mucous membrane.

Dr. David A. Gorton says that the daily consumption of Rochelle salts in ordinary food would in time produce a very injurious effect on the coatings of the tomach and bowels and on the kidneys. It would produce serious chronic dyspepsia and chronic gastritis.

Dr. Moreau Morris, of the New York board of health, says that Rochelle salts should never be used except by a physician's advice. Its continued use induces a very unhealthy condition of the stomach, and especially of the bowels, and finally produces constipation of an aggravated type.

Dr. W. J. Purcell, of the New York board of health, says that physicians seldom if ever use Rochelle salts to-day for laxative purposes, because if used persistently they produce an irritation of the bowels which becomes chronic, and which almost invariably results in serious and chronic constipation.

Dr. Robert L. Dickinson says that the effect upon children would undoubtedly be far more serious than upon adults, but even upon an adult the effect would be to produce diarrhea, colic, and a very much disordered condition of the stomach and bowels. "It would unquestionably produce a chronic gastric catarrh, if not gastritis. It would also affect the kidneys by increasing the amount of solid matter to be excreted by them. According to Bartholow, the best authority we have, the continued use of alkalis would produce the effect of a heart poison by lowering the blood pressure, the temperature, and the action of the heart. Such effects

are often seen in patients who have been actively treated for acute rheumatism by this very remedy." (Memorial, 27, 38, 39; "Some Interesting Information," 14-17.)

F. All baking powders injurious.-Dr. WILEY, chief chemist of the Agricultural Department, is opposed to all baking powders of every description. He believes that the introduction of mineral matters of that kind into the food is injurious, even if one can not put his finger on a specific instance. What makes men grow old is the hardening of their arteries, due to a deposit of mineral matter; if the arteries can be kept elastic, one will live to a green old age. The reason so many men who live by their brains fall down at their desks is because the coatings of their arteries become encrusted. When a small artery in the brain becomes encrusted that is the end of one's activity. Physicians advise the avoidance of mineral matters as far as possible. (Senate Committee, 33, 34.)

In a quotation from an address by the Hon. LEVI WELLS, State dairy and purefood commissioner of Pennsylvania, before the national meeting of dairy and food commissioners at Chicago, October, 1899, it is declared that all baking powders are somewhat objectionable because of the salts which they leave in the food; whether the residuum be Rochelle salts, as in the cream of tartar baking powders, or whether it be something else, the result of an alum or an alum-phospate powder. (Memorial, 29, 30.)

PROPOSED LEGISLATION.

A. General principles.-Dr. PENNIMAN says baking powders must be put in a separate class; they are not taken directly as a food or medicine, and he recalls no other instance in which a chemical process is introduced into everyone's kitchen to effect a certain chemical result. The only question is: Does it accomplish that result with due regard to the health of the consumer? (Senate Committee, 21.) Dr. WILEY believes that alum is injurious, but he does not intend to be the judge of another man's diet. He is opposed to prohibitive legislation, and asks simply that all substances used in food be plainly marked on the label, to let each man judge for himself. In reply to a question from Mr. Higgins, Dr. Wiley says he would approve a provision that in the case of baking powder the residuum left in the bread should be stated on the label. (Senate committee, 34,35.)

The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association declares that manufacturers of alum baking powders do not oppose honest, fair pure-food legislation, and are not in favor of any kind of fraud or deception. They do object to any legislation which is intended to benefit a rival industry at the expense of theirs, and which is promoted by manufactured testimony and by the opinions of scientific men which are not supported by experiments or facts. (Memorial, p. 42.) B. Action of State legislatures.-The Richmond Chamber of Commerce declares it to be a striking proof of the weakness of the complaint against alum baking powders that the States of Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey have all refused to pass bills restricting their use. These States made careful investigations, while the one State that accepted the measure, Missouri, made no such investigation. A bill, which was an exact copy of the act passed by the Missouri legislature in 1899, was introduced into the legislature of Virginia in 1900. The committee of the Virginia senate to which the bill was referred and the Chamber of Commerce of Richmond each made an investigation and reached the conclusion that the proposed measure was unjust in its restrictions on the use of alum baking powders. Among the reasons set forth for this conclusion in the pamphlet of the chamber of commerce are these: That abundant testimony has been given before various bodies and in various publications that alum baking powder is not injurious to health; that the death rate in Richmond is lower since alum baking powder has been used than before; that the report of the Mason committee contained only ex parte evidence on this subject, and that alum baking powder is much cheaper than cream of tartar baking powder.

The chamber of commerce lays especial stress on the fact that the Missouri act had been passed without due consideration, and that after an extended trial in a test case a Missouri judge expressed the conviction that alum baking powder was harmless. (Pamphlet issued by Richmond Chamber of Commerce.)

C. Senate bill 3618.-The memorial of the American Baking Powder Association calls attention to the fact that Senate bill 3618, introduced March 15, 1900, makes it the duty of the Secretary of Agriculture to fix standards of food and to determine the wholesomeness of substances added to foods; his decision to fix the standards which the United States court must recognize. These provisions would put the alum baking powder industry at the mercy of the Secretary of Agriculture, who, though a perfectly reliable official, the memorial says, may be affected by

misleading statements and by an unfounded prejudice against alum baking powders. It is unjust that a great industry should be placed at the mercy of any one individual without even a chance of recourse to the courts. (Memorial, pp. 1, 2.) Mr. HIGGINS states that the American Baking Powder Association heartily approves of correct pure-food legislation, and is not hostile to the principles of Senate bill 3618, but considers that section 7 is unwise in its provisions and would unjustly injure the alum baking powder industry. The association desires the standards and wholesomeness of baking powder to be decided in the courts, and not by the Secretary of Agriculture. If section 7 be retained, the association asks that baking powders be excluded from its provisions and made the subject of a separate provision. (Senate committee, 18.)

Mr. S. H. STEELE, vice-president of the General Chemical Company, says he is in full sympathy with pure-food legislation, but questions whether Congress can fairly discharge its duty by delegating to one man or set of men absolute power to establish what is or is not wholesome, as in section 7 of Senate bill 3618. Mr. Steele considers that this would be an unconstitutional delegation of the lawmaking power, and suggests that the clause providing for forfeiture of deleterious substances is a deprivation of property without due process of law. Aside from constitutional considerations, Mr. Steele says that it is contrary to the spirit of fairness and justice that one man should be empowered to determine what is a crime. He suggests an amendment making the conclusions of the Secretary of Agriculture admissible as evidence, with whatever weight the jury and court may see fit to assign them, but not conclusive. (Senate committee, 3, 4.)

Mr. UDELL objects to section 7 on the ground that it is not made compulsory upon the Secretary of Agriculture to accept the opinion of the 12 experts provided for, but that it still rests absolutely with him to decide. He says this bill is a direct assault upon the business of his company. (Senate committee, 11, 13.)

Mr. THOMPSON says the American Baking Powder Association does not object to pure-food legislation for the benefit of the public health, but does object to being subjected to a few men who may have a theory, and, acting upon that theory, may destroy the alum baking powder business. The association desires a chance in the courts to have full testimony on both sides. (Senate committee, 28.)

Mr. EDWARDS also objects to the provision of Senate bill 3618 giving the Secretary of Agriculture power to declare whether alum baking powder is wholesome or not. Declaring it unwholesome, he says, would mean the irretrievable ruin of all the alum baking powder companies. Mr. Edwards considers the mode of selecting the commission of experts provided by the bill to be too vague. He asks that section 7 be stricken from the bill, or that baking powders be excepted. (Senate committee, 8-10.)

Mr. CHARLES E. JAQUES, of Chicago, a manufacturer of alum baking powder, says he is in favor of pure-food legislation, but sees the product he manufactures endangered by Senate bill 3618, particularly by section 7, because there is a prejudice throughout the country, created by advertising, against baking powders containing alum. On account of that prejudice he is very much opposed to leaving his future business career in the hands of a commission. The manufacturers have the right to go into court to state their case, and carry it up to the final court of appeals if necessary. (Senate committee, 27.)

Mr. COYNE asks that the inalienable right to earn an honest living be preserved, and that the courts and right of trial by jury remain open to the manufacturers of alum baking powder. (Senate committee, 26.)

Mr. DAVIS does not wish any commission or set of men to destroy his business because it is their opinion he is wrong. He objects to the Secretary of Agriculture having charge of the matter, because there is a prejudice built up in the public mind, which it is impossible to eradicate, that alum is unhealthful. He thinks a chemist is incapable of deciding; it is necessary to have physiologists who understand the channels of digestion. He believes it is incumbent on the United States Government to make a physiological examination of the materials available for baking powder. Mr. Davis says there are men in the South who manufacture baking powder containing 17 per cent of carbonic-acid gas, and there is a firm in Rhode Island which has come out recently with a baking powder containing 10 per cent of carbonic-acid gas, and presents logical arguments why 10 per cent is as desirable as 17 per cent. If the gentlemen in the Department of Agriculture should decide 12, 13, or 14 per cent to be the proper thing, the men in Providence would have lost $300,000 or $400,000, and the men in the Sout would have lost their business, amounting to $1,000,000 or more. (Senate committee, 24, 25.)

Mr. ACH believes that lodging so much power in the hands of one individual or coterie, as contemplated by section 7, would subject them to such temptation as

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »