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gredients of this butterine may be reckoned about as follows: 40 pounds fine creamery butter, 25 cents per pound, $10; 50 pounds leaf lard, 6 cents per pound, $3; 5 pounds stearine, 8 cents per pound, 40 cents; labor, salt, and sundries, $1.60. Total cost of 100 pounds, say $15, or 15 cents per pound average cost. Sold by the manufacturer at 20 cents per pound, it gives him a profit of five cents on every pound made; and retailed by the grocer at 25 cents per pound it gives him a profit of $5 on every 100 pounds sold. The other grades are scaled in about the same proportions, the lowest priced article of butter being 13 cents per pound. All the processes under which the butterine is made are covered by United States patents.
“In one factory which I visited,” said this gentleman, Hon. Joseph Sampson of Storm Lake, Iowa, “I found that the owner had been obliged to change his engine three times during the present year with a view to increasing the capacity for greater production of his • fine creamery butter.' At first he only had a capacity of 10,000 pounds per day, he said, but now, he added, with a self-satisfied air, “I can make 55,000 pounds per day; and if I had orders enough I could make more by running night and day.' I accompanied him into his refrigerator and shipping room and saw the 'butter' ready for shipment in all sorts of packages, ranging from the five-pound box for select family use up to the fifty-six pound tub. designed for the pineries of Wisconsin and the mining camps of Colorado and Montana. • How do you brand it?' I asked him. “Oh,' was the reply, "anything a man pleases. Any. thing we are asked to put on we put on to suit the fancy of the customer. When I wanted to see the lard hashing machines in the upper rooms of his factory, he smiled and shrugged his :shoulders, and declined to accompany me to the place where the lard was getting its initiatory baptism of chemicals.”
All the manufacturers he visited frankly admitted that when the butter left their factories it lost its identity, and was sold by retailers everywhere for first-class creamery butter. In his quest he learned also that many grocers engaged in the traffic made it a practice to keep low grade, rancid dairy butter in stock, side by side with the oleomargarine product, and ask their customers to try the samples and judge which was the best. This, he said, was a favorite trick in the Chicago retail trade.
OLEOMARGARINE NOT WHOLESOME. “Soon after I made my first annual report,” said State Dairy Commissioner Brown, speak. ing of his recent report, which is regarded as a very valuable contribution to what may be termed the literature of oleomargarine, “and when I had become thoroughly awake to the magnitude and the iniquity of the traffic in counterfeit butter, and the evils it gave rise to through. out the State, I determined to institute a thorough investigation with a view of satisfying my. self upon what I regard as the main question, Whether olcomargarine is wholesome or not. It was obvious to me that if it was wholesome as an article of food, the only legislation that could long endure would doubtless be as to regulations for its sale ; but if unwholesome, that its sale could be absolutely prohibited. When I began this investigation, I secured the ser. vices of Drs. Elwyn Waller and Edward D. Martin, of the School of Mines, Columbia College, both chemists of established reputation and acknowledged skill. Their labors, together with those of other gentlemen, including Dr. R. D. Clark of Albany, who assisted them, have been extended over a period of about eight months, and have resulted in proving, beyond the perad. venture of a doubt, that the product so largely sold here and elsewhere for human food is unwholesome. They established, by a series of experiments on oleomargarine manufactured in accordance with the formulas laid down in the patents, and with fresh beef fat as the chief constituent, that these artificial butters are so decidedly insoluble and indigestible as to be utterly unfit for human food. One of their experiments, which is described and illustrated in the report, was in artificial digestion. I am not enough of a chemist to give you a technical description of the process, but I can tell you that samples of the counterfeit butter that were subjected to the fluid representing the gastric juices, retained their consistency and solidity for
hours longer than samples of pure dairy butter that were similarly treated. This is not the result of one experiment, but of many, and in some cases the sham butter retained its form and consistency for two hours or more after the ger uine article had dissolved. I must refer you to the report for a more detailed description of these interesting experiments, and only desire to say that as the result of our investigations we find that these artificial butters are unwholesome upon four different grounds:
« First-On account of their indigestibility.
“Third-On account of the strong probability, amounting to a moral certainty, that the bacteria contained in the raw animal fat (where the fat comes from animals that have died without the intervention of the butcher) are not destroyed by the processes of manufacture, and that disease may ensue from its use as human food.
“Fourth-The strong probability that these counterfeit butters, when manufactured by unskilled and unscientific workmen, contain ingredients that are deleterious to public health."
“We show also in our report," continued the commissioner, " that oil made from the bodies of horses, dogs, and other animals can be so deodorized as to remove all offensiveness, and be made tasteless, and, thus disguised, the most expert chemist cannot tell whether it came from an animal that died of disease or by the hands of the butcher. An eminent chemist who experimented with lard made of fat taken by his own hands from the body of a hog that was suffering from cholera, and with that of a healthy hog that was killed in his presence, officially reported to the department: 'I am not able to distinguish the lard made from the healthy hog from that made from the hog that was suffering with cholera.' It has been established by the testimony given by oleomargarine manufacturers before the Senate committee that the oleomargarine processes use no heat greater than 140 degrees—the majority seldom use over 110 degrees—while chemists declare that bacteria existing in animal matter cannot be de. stroyed by heat of less than 212 degrees. This I mention as a proof that where diseased fat is used, as it undoubtedly is in some instances, there is imminent danger of disease. The competition in the manufacture of these counterfeits, and the low price at which they are now selling, are apt to prompt many unscrupulous manufacturers to make use of the fat of animals who die in transit or of disease, and which are cheap; and thus you see all who spread these counterfeits over their bread are endangering their health.
“One of the arguments used by the manufacturers to prove the wholesomeness of their products was the approval they received when Mege's invention was first introduced from the French health anthorities. This shred of consolation has been recently withdrawn from them, the French Government having lately revoked this approval and pronounced oleomargarine indigestible.”
“The manufacturers of oleomargarine," said a prominent member of the Butter and Cheese Exchange, “ claim that their product is wholesome, and that it is practically the same as natural butter. That claim was specifically made before the health committee of the Legislature that investigated the subject in 1884, and I was present at some of the sittings at which the the testimony proved that the claim was as fraudulent as oleomargarine itself. Here is the testimony of Charles Moses, of No. 41 First Street this city, who was a laborer in an oleomargarine factory on Grove Street. His duty was to pack the product in tubs. This factory was one of those in which imitation roll butter is made. The witness described the process of packing, which had to be done by hand, and being asked what effect this had on his hands replied:
“ It made holes in them, and they began to get sorer and sorer, and I finally lost a nail. The stuff eat right through to the bone. My hands swelled up, and the stuff that dripped through from the floor above that on which I was working wore holes in my clothes, and that on the floor eat into my boots.' This witness said that in consequence of injuries received in this way he had to go under treatment at Bellevue Hospital. He was severely cross-examined
by the shrewd lawyers employed by the oleomargarine interest, but I did not think that his testimony was impaired.
“I only quote this as proof that certain acids are used in the oleomargarine processes that are injurious to health. If they were strong enough to eat through to the bone,' as this wit. ness swore, and to eat into his boots, what must their effect be upon the human stomach ? Mind you, this man was handling the product prepared for the market. It was in one-pound and two-pound rolls (to imitate merchantable butter), each roll being wrapped in a cloth. He packed the rolls in tubs, and the mere handling of them produced the results stated.
"There is plenty of such stuff as this coming to this market from the West every day, and yet these manufacturers have the impudence to say that their product is wholesome. I tell you that there is very little honest oleomargarine made in these days. I use the word 'hon. est' advisedly, for when the product first came into vogue it was honest, inasmuch as it was sold for what it was, and not for natural butter. But of late years a class of unscrupulous men have gone into the business, which realizes enormous profits, and by using cheaper processes and material that is not fit for human food, have brought it into general disrepute.”
With regard to the wholesomeness of butterine and other sham butters, an essential point, there are wide differences of opinion. Leading chemists pronounced oleomargarine, when it was first introduced, as wholesome, but it is a question whether they would commit themselves to a similar opinion with regard to the product as at present sold, in view of the tremendous com. petition among manufacturers and the temptation to use materials that are impure and cheap. Col. Robert M. Littler, secretary of the National Butter, Cheese, and Egg Association, said recently: “Anybody who says that butterine is healthful and wholesome either does not know what he is talking about or else lies. Why are there so many tapeworms and so many cases of Bright's disease since butterine came into use? The embryo tapeworm exists very freely in leaf lard. This lard must be cooked if you want to destroy the animalculæ. It is not cooked; it is only warmed in the manufacture of butterine. I can show any one, by the use of the microscope, the animalculæ. When a hog has them bad it is called measly. No matter how carefully it may be prepared, butterine contains acids that are not to be found in butter. There is a very easy way of proving this. Put calomel into butterine and you have corrosive sublimate. The Lord only knows how many people have been mysteriously poisoned by taking a dose of calo. mel after they have eaten butterine. In many instances the process of deodorizing lard ren. ders the product a deadly poison, and the only reason why fatal results do not immediately follow is because it is taken in such small quantities.
RUINING THE EXPORT TRADE. The following from The New York Star of January 5, 1886, comes from one of the leading butter merchants of the country, and is the expression of the views of a practical man of busi. ness who has been prominently identified with the anti-oleomargarine movement since its inception :
“You can hardly mention an interest in our country,” said ex-President James H. Seymour, of the Mercantile Exchange, who is also well known in the butter trade, “ that is not protected, save that of the farmer. The only tariff protection that agriculture receives is the duty on wool, and that applies to comparatively few farmers. Iron, silk, and dozens of other articles that could be mentioned are protected by heavy impositions on foreign goods, but what the farmer produces is unprotected. The dairy interest is one of the largest and most important industries of our country, and represents a large portion of the income of a majority of our farmers, especially in the State of New York, which cannot compete with the West in the pro. duction of grain; and yet our national rulers seem loath to take any action looking to its production. It seems to me that if this traffic in counterfeit butter, not only at home but in foreign lands, where it makes the name of America a byword and a reproach, were properly
represented in Congress, prompt action for its suppression or regulation would speedily follow.
“I believe that the consumption of butter to-day is 30 per cent. less than it would be but for the almost universal sale of these counterfeit, deleterious products of the oleomargarine factories. I believe also that large numbers of dwellers in cities abstain from the use of butter entirely for fear of getting hold of the bogus stuff, and I know personally of several families at whose table butter no longer appears.
“In years gone by American butter maintained a deservedly high reputation in Germany, and was largely exported to that country, but since the advent of oleomargarine (or butterine as it is called now, since its original name has grown into well-deserved disrepute) the German authorities, who keep a close watch on the food products sold to the people, and visit adulteration with severe punishment, have issued orders that no American butter shall be received in future until after it has undergone a thorough chemical test to establish its genuineness and purity. This is in one sense a compliment to the skill and ingenuity of the oleomargarine manufacturers, for it shows they turn out a product calculated to deceive even the best experts ; but the mercantile community, the basis of whose foreign trade is their unblemished honor and their reputation for fair dealing, view this new order with sorrow. They cannot blame the German authorities, for their action was brought about by the importation of thousands of pounds of sham butter or oleomargarine oil out of which to make it, and was taken purely in self-defense. But they do blame their own government for failing to so regulate this nefarious traffic as to prevent the possibility of such wholesale swindles.
“So long as this stuff, made of the refuse of the stables and the shambles and of other materials that make one shudder to think of, is manufactured in the West-and I believe that the greater proportion of the most worthless grades of oleomargarine comes from that section -is shipped to this market as butter, I cannot see how the legitimate trade can be protected. It comes in quantities over the railroads, paying freight as butter, and, in spite of the law pro. hibiting its sale, gets into the hands of conscienceless retailers and then figures on the tables of our citizens as dairy or creamery butter. The manufacturers shield themselves from the penalties of the law by selling the product under its own name, but they know as well as I do that it cannot be sold in this city except as natural butter. Is not this offering a premium for crime? The retailers, when arrested and arraigned in court, always deny that they rep. resented the article as butter, butin nine cases out of ten the proof that they did is produced, and this fact the manufacturers must know.
“What we need is a national law regulating this traffic, and if we get the law we want to see it enforced. Prohibition of the manufacture of oleomargarine is, I think, out of the ques. tion, but it is generally conceded that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce; and an act of this nature would come within its province.”
The exports of oleomargarine have increased rapidly since its introduction, so that where they only reached one-half of the exports of the genuine dairy product in 1880 they now about double them. The annual average of decrease in the exports of butter between 1880 and 1885 was 9,510,706 pounds, while those of oleomargarine have shown an annual average increase of 2,647,000 pounds. The figures appended show the recorded exports of butter and oleomar. garine for the years named, but there is reason to believe that a considerable amount of the latter was exported as butter.
Butter. Oleo. Total.
39,236,650 20,000,000 59,236,650 4881
31,560,500 26,300,000 57,800, 500 1882 ...
14,794,300 22,000,000 36,794,300 1883 ...
.. 12,348,640 23,400,000 35,748,640 · 1884 .........
20,627,374 39,322,841 59,9505215 1885 ......
.... 21,683, 148 37,882,155 59,565,303 . By these figures it will be seen that while the exports of butter decreased 18,609,276 pounds
in 1884 and 17,553,502 pounds in 1885 (as compared with the exports of 1880), the increase in the exports of oleomargarine (comparing the years 1880 and 1885) was 17,882,155 pounds, and in the last two years the exports of the bogus article have almost doubled those of the genuine. The loss to the foreign trade of the United States by the substitution of oleomar. garine for butter is not shown by quantities, but by values. In 1885 the aggregate value of the exports of butter and oleomargarine was $8,095,278, that of butter being $3,643,646 and oleomargarine $4,451,632. If butter had taken the place of oleomargarine in the exportation the aggregate value would have been about $10,000,000. Upon the assumption that the ex. ports of butter were decreased in proportion to the amount of oleomargarine exported, the loss to the butter makers was $6,357,000 and to the foreign trade $1,915,000.
Mr. C. L. Smith, of Rice & Smith, well-known exporters of butter, called upon Assistant Dairy Commissioner Van Valkenburgh early in January, and asked him for copies of the laws of the State of New York covering the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine and its com. pounds. He explained that he had been requested by a member of the English Parliament to for. ward him these laws and such other information regarding counterfeit butter as he could obtain, his object being to prepare an act prohibiting the importation of the product into Great Britain.
In connection with this, the following extract from the London Lancet, an eminent author. ity on questions of public health, may not prove uninteresting :
“Owing to the large importation of butterine and the sale of this article as butter, it is im. possible to produce, import, and sell pure butter at a profit. Butterine can be sold at £3 135 (about $17.50) per hundred weight (112 pounds), while imported butter sells at £5 9s (about $26.50) per hundred weight. There may not be much difference in the nutritive value of these two fatty articles of food, if digested and assimilated, but there can be no doubt of the dietetic value of the une over the other.”
Commenting upon this, the Chicago Dairyman says: “There can be no doubt that the large importations have depressed the market in England and Ireland to an extent that is seri. ously oppressive to the dairy farmers, who find their receipts for October butter ruinously small. The foreign market and the English dairymen are not the only parties suffering from this product and its fraudulent sale; for on this side a similar decline has been experienced, and dairy products rule at prices that are very discouraging. There can be no doubt that, put upon the market without disguise, in fair competition with honest goods, butterine would find its level and straight butter prove remunerative. The consumer is also interested in obtaining a pure article of butter, and none can be pure that is not the product of the dairy; but it is a serious question whether hog fat or beef fat made into butterine is a suitable substance for hu. man food. It is also a question whether the process of manufacture, the treatment with acids, while it renders the stuff pleasant to the sight and agreeable to the taste and smell, does not also make it indigestible and unfit for human food.”
WHAT REPUTABLE RETAILERS SAY. The retail traffic in oleomargarine, so far as New York city is concerned, is confined mainly to a class of cheap grocers, who are allured by the tempting profit in its sale to risk the pun. ishment for violating the law. Appended are the views of a few well-known retailers :
"We have never sold oleomargarine in our store,” said Mr. Callahan, of Callahan & Kerp, the Vesey street grocers, “ although since the introduction of the article we have been almost daily importuned to do so. When the counterfeit stuff first came into general use, several years ago, an agent representing a certain manufacturer called upon us with samples of his wares. We smelled and tasted them, and found them to be very clever imitations of butter, but at the same time we declined to enter into the traffic, although at that period there was no special law prohibiting it. Our position in the matter was that, as legitimate traders, we could not afford to deal in imitations of any sort, knowing them to be imitations. The agent declared that a majority of the leading dealers in our line of business were selling the article and