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hooped half-firkins called · Delaware,' and of others in varnished iron-boand Jamestown tubs-packages that are all used by popular and reputable dairymen. Some have even gone so far as to make their product into rolls, packed in barrels, to simulate what is called roll butter. If, as they say, their dealings are honest and above board, why do they resort to such subterfuges ? The fact of the case is that the manufacturer makes a good counterfeit butter, and the grocer shoves it. Of the profits of the former I cannot speak authoritatively, but I know that the grocer makes a bigger profit than the shover of the queer,' to use the slang of the police, and runs considerable less risk.
“What we need is law requiring that oleomargarine shall be placed on the market in its true form, in which the veriest tyro could never mistake it for dairy or creamery butter. It is of a chalky white, while good butter invariably has a yellow or golden tinge all its own. Thus far most of our prosecutions have been for selling oleomargarine as butter, but the law specifi. cally forbids its sale when it is artificially colored to resemble butter, and that is the only form in which it is marketable.”
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION. The recent agitation of the oleomargarine question has had the effect of awakening Con. gress to the enormity of the traffic in imitation butter throughout the country, and already several bills intended to curb and regulate it are pending in that body. Among these is one that was introduced by Hon. A. J. Hopkins of Illinois, December 21, 1885, was read twice, referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and ordered to be printed. It is en. titled: “A bill to amend title thirty-five, entitled Internal revenue,' of the Revised Statutes of the United States,” and provides that every manufacturer of adulterated butter or cheese shall furnish to the collector of the district a sworn statement containing the address of his factory, and shall give a bond of not less than $5,000 not to attempt in any way to defraud the government of any tax on the product he manufactures; that he shall stamp all goods manu. factured by him before he offers them for sale, and before they are removed from the factory, and that he shall post in a conspicuous place a certificate, to be obtained from the Internal Revenue collector, setting forth the capacity of his manufactory. This section (No. 3,406a) concludes with these words: “And every person who manufactures adulterated butter or adulterated cheese of any description without first giving bond, as herein required shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $5,000, and imprisoned not less than three months nor more than five years. Any article or compound manufactured, in whole or in part, out of any oleaginous substances, oleomargarine, suine, butterine, beef fat, lard, neutral, vegetable oil, or other foreign substances other than that produced from unadulterated milk or cream from the same, and designed to take the place of butter or cheese, or to be sold or offered for sale as an article of food, shall be held to be adulterated butter or adulterated cheese under the meaning of this chapter, as the case may be.”
The next section provides that every manufacturer of these products shall display a sign with letters not less than three inches long, giving his full name and the nature of his busi. ness. A violation of this section entails a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500.
Section 3,406d will prove of special interest to the retail dealers who persist in violating the State law, and should this law pass, will be an effectual means of destroying the unholy traffic. It reads:
" It shall be the duty of every dealer in oleomargarine, saine, butterine, beef fat, lard. vegetable oil, or neutral or material used or to be used in manufacturing adulterated butter or adulterated cheese, on demand of any officer of internal) revenue, to render such officer a true and correct statement, under oath, of the quantity and amount of such oleomargarine, suine, butterine, beef fat, lard, vegetable oil, or neutral, or materials sold or delivered to any person named in such demand; and in case of refusal or neglect to deliver such statement, or if there is cause to believe such statement to be incorrect or fraudulent, the collector shall
make an examination of the person's books and papers in the manner provided in this title in relation to frauds and evasions.”
Another section directs that all adulterated butter and cheese shall be packed in tubs, firkins, and packages that have not theretofore been used, and the use of an old package involves a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, and imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than two years. It is provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing the sale of adulterated butter or cheese at retail by dealers who have paid the special tax as such, from boxes, tubs, or jars packed, stamped, and branded in the manner prescribed by law.
The next section provides that each manufacturer shall affix to each box, tub, or other package containing his product, a printed label bearing his name, the number and the location of his factory, and these words :
“Notice.—The manufacturer of the adulterated batter (or cheese) herein contained has complied with all the requirements of law. Every person is cautioned, under the penalty of law, not to use this box, tub, or jar (as the case may be) for adulterated butter or cheese again.” This notice to be printed in letters not less than one inch long. A neglect to comply with the provisions of this section, or the removal of a label so affixed to any package, entails a fine of $50.
Section 3,406g provides that the manufacturers shall pay an Internal Revenue tax of ten cents a pound on adulterated butter and three cents a pound on adulterated cheese.
The other sections of the bill, which is voluminous, provides for the stamps to be used to distinguish the bogus from the genuine article; for the regulation of the inspection of adul. terations; for the collection of the tax; for the prevention of the use of counterfeit stamps; for the taxing of all spurious butter and cheese imported from other countries, and declares that all bogus butter and cheese on hand after the ist of April next shall be taken to have been either manufactured or imported after the passage of this chapter, and shall be stamped accordingly.
Section 3,406p is evidently intended to reach the retailers. It reads :
“Every person who purchases or receives for sale any adulterated butter or adulterated cheese which has not been branded or stamped according to law shall be liable to a penalty of $50 for each such offense.”
A leading merchant, who is a pronounced enemy to oleomargarine and all its relatives, said yesterday when a copy of this bill was shown him:
“I am glad that this subject is to come before Congress, for no interest more pressingly demands national protection at this time than that of the dairy man; but I am afraid that this law possesses too many of the faults that have rendered our State law practically inoperative, and that it will afford to the oleomargarine men the opportunity to pose before the public as martyrs. All honest men concur in denouncing the traffic in counterfeit butter, but my experience with legislators teaches me that any attempt at prohibition is generally frowned upon. How far this bill would put the Government in the attitude of acknowledging oleomargarine and its allied compounds as legitimate food products I am not prepared to say, for I have not had an opportunity to read ii carefully. I will say, however, that it seems to aim to bring about just what the leading men in dairy products have long been urging, and that is the compelling of the men who sell the stuff to sell it for what it is. If it can accomplish that purpose it will do an immense amount of good, for I am convinced that if the people, knew what they were buying they would infinitely prefer the natural product of the cow to any imitation. I think, however, that when the bill comes up for discussion, and when the national legisla. tors find how thoroughly the people are opposed to the fraudulent way in which the oleomar. garine traffic is carried on, and the injury it is doing to us at home and abroad, this or some similar measure will be adopted. It may be that they will prefer to consider the question as bearing upon the public health, and if they do take that view I think that facts relative to the materials and processes used in the manufacture of this stuff will be laid before them that will justify prompt action. You may be assured, however, that this bill will meet with a tremen. dous lobby opposition, for the oleomargarine men are rich and determined, and have their agents not only in Washington, but at the capital of every State in the Union. I think, however, that the pressure of public opinion can overcome even this organized and desperate opposition, and that if this Congress does not act, the people will take care to elect another that will."
State Dairy Commissioner Josiah K. Brown, when asked his opinion of Mr. Hopkins' bill, replied: “ The title of this act is somewhat misleading, because the compound commonly known as oleomargarine is in no sense an adulterated butter. It is simply animal fat made to imitate butter, and contains only a small percentage of butter fat.
“I am not prepared to express an opinion as to the provisions of the act, for I have merely glanced at it; but I will say that if the national Government decides to take action apon this question of the sale of sham butter, it would be wise to intrust the enforcement of the law to the Internal Revenue Department, which has the necessary machinery to undertake the work. It would be unwise, in my opinion, on the part of Congress to enact any law on this subject without careful consideration and exhaustive discussion. If I made any recommendation it would be that Congress pass a law compelling manufacturers, in case the bogus product is to be sold at all, to put before the people an article that could not by any possibility be mistaken for butter-an article that a child could recognize on sight and without explanation. It is a notorious fact that these manufacturers make and pack their product so as to imitate natural butter of all kinds, and the trade they are engaged in is a monstrous and ir:famous swindle upon the consumers.
“In this State the law takes the ground, and justly, as I can prove, that the stuff is unwholesome. Section 20 of chapter 183 reads : “This act and each section thereof is declared to be enacted to prevent deception in the sale of dairy products, and to preserve the public health, which is endangered by the manufacture of the articles or substances herein regulated or prohibited.' This is as plain English as can be desired and nobody can dispute the right of a government to protect the health of its people.”
THE LAWS OF THE DIFFERENT STATES. The last annual report of Dairy Commissioner J. K. Brown, of New York, contains a succinct presentation of the status of dairy products in all the leading States of the Union. He has not confined himself to New York in his researches, but has obtained information on this vital and important subject from all parts of the country. While Commissioner Brown is understood to hold strong prohibition views, the portion of his report bearing upon his recommendations has not yet been made public; and whether he will recommend a more stringent law or not cannot now be definitely asserted. The facts he gives relative to the laws in other States, however, are well worthy of reproduction here.
Of the thirty-eight States in the Union, all but ten have laws governing the manufacture and sale of sham butter. These are Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, none of which rank very high among the butter-producing States. Of the Territories, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are as yet unprotected by laws against the swindle. In all the other States and Territories there are laws guarding one or all of the branches of dairy production. In California, where the butter produced in factories and creameries, not counting that made by the farmers, amounted in 1880 to 2,074,344 pounds, manufacturers and dealers in oleomargarine are required to brand the article with its proper name. The law also requires hotel keepers, restaurant keepers, and others who feed the public for pay to keep posted up in three conspicuous places a notification to customers that their bread must be buttered with oleomargarine. Any caterer who sets out oleomargarine without such notification is subject to fine or imprisonment.
Colorado is also well protected. A fine or imprisonment is the penalty for selling adulter. ated milk or that from which the cream has been taken or from which the strippings have been withheld. Dealers may, however, sell skimmed milk if they inform their customers of the fact that it has been skimmed. Protection against oleomargarine is sought to be secured by imposing a license of $1,000 on any one proposing to manufacture it, and one of $500 on the seller. A penalty of from $50 to $500 is attached to the manufacture or selling of oleomargarine as butter.
Indiana has had long standing in its Revised Statutes a law against selling impure milk or milk from cows to which anything but wholesome and natural food is given. The old law also prohibits the use of deleterious substances for coloring butter and cheese, the penalties ranging from $50 to $500. In 1883 the subject of oleomargarine was taken up by the Legislature, and a law was passed requiring oleomargarine, in whatever shape it is offered for sale, to be branded as oleomargarine, and fines from $10 to $50 are imposed for failure to comply with the law.
Iowa imposes heavy penalties for adulterating milk, requires oleomargarine to be branded or stamped with its proper name, and prohibits the offering for sale of skimmed-milk, cheese or any cheese containing an admixture of oleomargarine or other substance, unless the adulterated product is plainly stamped with words setting forth just what it is.
Maine prohibits the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine, and imposes a fine of $100 for the first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense.
Massachusetts seems not to have awakened to the subject of imitation butter, but it has provisions for heavy fines for selling adulterated milk.
Michigan has about the same prohibitory law that obtains in Maine. An act of 1885 forbids oleomargarine altogether, under a penalty of from $200 to $500, with imprisonment not to exceed one year.
In Minnesota a penalty of from $2 to $200 is imposed for selling impure milk, while oleomargarine is altogether prohibited, the penalty of violating the law being from $100 to $500. The prohibitory law in Minnesota was also passed in 1885. The Maryland law is substantially the same as the Iowa law, requiring any imitation of butter to be branded with its proper name. The penalties in Maryland are somewhat heavier then they are in Iowa.
Missouri has taken the same extreme measure that prevails in Maine, Michigan, and Minnesota, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of imitation butter, but it emphasizes its ob. ection to the substance by imposing a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for violating the law.
In Connecticut and Delaware the law is substantially the same. It aims to put imitation batter on its merits, and that is all that is demanded by dealers in legitimate dairy products. In Connecticut, however, the dealer is required to post a notice in his place of business anbouncing that he sells oleomargarine. In Delaware any substance offered for sale as butter that it is not real butter must be marked artificial butter. The fine for violation of the law in Connecticut is only $7 or imprisonment for from ten to thirty days, but in Delaware the fine is $50, with imprisonment till the same is paid.
In Illinois there is a general law relative to the adulteration of food or drink, which contains a provision that where oleomargarine is mixed with pure butter the seller is required to inform the buyer of the fact, and he must also inform him in what proportion the two sub. stances are mixed. Offenses against the law increase for repetitions till a fine of $2,000 is im. posed for the third repetition. This law was passed in 1881. Another act was passed in 1883 requiring operators in butter and cheese on the co-operative factory plan to give bonds in the sum of $6,000 that accurate reports will be made the first of each month, a copy of each to be filed with the clerk of the town in which the factory is situated. According to the best information to be obtained this law is practically a dead letter, for Chicago turns out a great pro. portion of the oleomargarine products that flood the country. There is a movement among merchants and dairymen to make this subject a political issue, and the next election may greatly depend upon the attitude of legislative candidates on the bogus butter question.
Nebraska contents herself for the present with guarding against the use of impure inilk. In New Hampshire an attempt has been made to throw the responsibility for using oleomargarine on the consumer. The law requires it to be colored pink, and then it leaves everybody at liberty to buy the substance or leave it alone. In case of prosecution for selling imitation butter of the same color as natural butter, or under any other color than pink, an analysis of the substance is admissible in court as evidence. Ohio, by a law of last year, prohibits the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine as butter, but permits it to be dealt in as beef suet. Oregon has a law similar to a bill that was at one time before the Legislature of this State. It requires the public to be notified at every point of contact with oleomargarine that the substance is oleomargarine. It must in the first place be branded for market, then a notice must be posted up by hotel, restaurant, and boarding-house keepers that the substance is used by them instead of good butter, and lastly, the bill of fare, if a bill of fare is used, must state that the lubricator on the table is oleomargarine, if such be the fact.
In 1883 Pennsylvania started out to protect its citizens against oleomargarine, its Legislature enacting a law requiring the imitation article to be branded for what it was. This precaution proving unavailing, in 1885 a prohibitory act was passed. This law has recently been sustained by the Supreme Court of the State in the case of the People against Wallace.
In Rhode Island stamping with the proper name is required, and each seller of oleomar. garine is required to deliver to the purchaser a label setting forth the true nature of the sub. stance he has bought. In Tennessee the only requirement is that imitation butter shall b made and sold for what it is. The Territories of Arizona and Dakota have similar laws on this subject, traffic in the substance being allowed only on condition that it is properly labeled. The Arizona law requires the dealer to post up a notice that he has notice that he has oleomargarine for sale, and he must, as in Rhode Island, deliver to the purchaser an oleomargarine label with the package, when that article is bought in preference to genuine butter. The laws of New Jersey are like the present New York State laws.
Florida has made it a misdemeanor for hotel and boarding house keepers to offer their guests imitation butter, and affixes a penalty of $100 for each offense against the law. There seems to be no provision in that State permitting the use of oleomargarine as such.
THE DEMORALIZING EFFECT UPON TRADE. “There is a phase of this traffic in counterfeit butter,” said a leading merchant, “that has scarcely been touched upon, so far as I have seen, in any of the exposures that have been re. cently made, and that is, its demoralizing effect upon trade. There can be no doubt that the law prohibits the sale of these counterfeits as genuine butter, and yet we hear every day of the arrest of grocers or their employees for selling them. Grant, if you please, that the constitutionality of the law is questioned, is it not on the statute books, and should it not be obeyed until the question is definitely decided ? If a law is bad and iniquitous in its workings, the surest way to secure its repeal is to enforce it. But these dealers, who sell this product, knowing it to be counterfeit, for real butter, are guilty of a crime, and the manufacturers who furnish them with the stuff, well knowing that it cannot be sold for what it is, are morally responsible for their violation of the law. In many of these cases the proprietor of the stores. escapes punishment because he was not present when the sale was made. Is not the selling of the goods in his store presumptive evidence that he instructed his clerk to sell them? What can you expect of young business men who are taught at the very outset of their career that deceit and fraud are a part of their duty to their employers ? Can you look to them in their future lives to be honest and honorable ?”
The Western Plowman, a conservative agricultural journal, says:
“ The failure to stop the sale of oleomargarine does not proceed from any fault in the laws, but from the indifference or sanction of the people. The only executive of municipal laws under our form of government is public opinion. If the people sanction. a law and are thor.