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Anyone who wants to learn these facts in an unbiased way has ready access to them. Because of such facts, you will find unprejudiced scientific organizations and scientists writing and saying that margarine, as it is made and sold in this country today is a fine, wholesome, nutritious product; and, if you compare it with butter, margarine, and butter are nutritionally equivalent.
Just to mention a few outstanding scientific organizations, I could refer to the published statements of the American Medical Association, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, and the Committee of Public Health Relations of the New York Academy of Medicine. All these organizations attest to the nutritional value of margarine.
The United States Federal Security Agency, during the war years, in its attempt to popularize nutrition, understanding of nutrition, in other words, emphasized the need of seven basic food classes. It included butter and fortified margarine in the same group, attributing equal value to each. Margarine is a fat food, its basic function being to furnish
energy and to increase the palatability of foods. Like butter, it has a minimum of 80 percent fat, and the balance consists of skimmed milk, vitamin A, and other ingredients added to increase its efficiency and to meet the needs and desires of the consumers. It has been established, and no one informed would even dare to deny this, that margarine and butter are equal in caloric value and digestibility, which are the two major considerations for a fat food.
When you consider the fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A and D, fortified margarine regularly contains a minimum of 15,000 units of vitamin A per pound, while butter varies from a figure higher than this to a figure much lower than this, with an average throughout the year of 15,000 units per pound. Fortified margarine and butter, that is, unfortified butter, are essentially the same with respect to vitamin D values. When you consider other possible nutritive values, such as the unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and the milk minerals and proteins, the two products are essentially the same. While margarine may have a slight edge in such respects, it is not significant nutritionally.
From time to time during the past several years we find that some worker here or there comes up with the claim that there is some factor in butter, of nutritional value, which is not present in margarine. The latest of these claims deal with a substance known as vaccenic acid. However these various claims have been clearly disproven by the work done by Dr. H. J. Deuel, Jr., and his coworkers at the school of medicine, University of Southern California, and by other very competent research people both in this country and abroad.
Dr. Deuel and his co-workers performed a series of very carefully prepared and controlled experiments seeking to ascertain whether any nutritive differences did exist between margarine and butter.
Dr. Deuel's experiments were made on rats, and I may add here that about 80 percent of what we have learned about nutrition in food in the last 50 years has come principally and originally from experiments on rats.
I only wish I could take the time to explain to you each and every one of these experiments, since they cover the field so well and since, to a scientist at least, they are so authoritative. I have here, and am glad to leave with the committee, to be made part of the record, several copies of each of the Deuel reports as published in the Journal of Nutrition, and I hope you will have the time to read at least a few of these.
The CHAIRMAN. They will be made available to the members of the committee.
Dr. Carlson. Thank you. Most of them appeared in the Journal of Nutrition.
Deuel and his co-workers attempted to ascertain whether any differences can be demonstrated between vegetable fats including margarine fat, and butterfat with respect to growth, lactation, reproduction, and so forth. In other words, all of the essential factors in healthy life. They even tested rats which were weaned prematurely to see if any differences would result under such abnormal feeding conditions. By use of a growth hormone, they caused increased growth in rats and tested such animals to see if any differences would result because of the abnormally increased needs of such animals, in other words, more than normal growth, canned meat, and so forth, those needs, as well as butter.
In attempting to ascertain whether any differences resulted, Deuel and his co-workers not only weighed the rats, but also measured growth of bones and assayed the make-up, chemical make-up of the bodies of the animals to see whether any differences came about in the utilization of the fats.
As a result of all of these very carefully conducted experiments, it was found that there were just no nutritional differences between butter on the one hand and today's margarine on the other. I had the privilege of being associated with these experiments and planning some of them, and not only reviewed the work, but also the resulting data. If there was any substance in butterfat of nutritive value, whether known or unknown to man, it would have shown up in the Deuel experiments.
Then, in order to take care of the possibility of a very slight difference which might perhaps not show up for a generation, the Deuel group has conducted experiments which today have continued for over 20 generations, again experiments on rats. This is an outstanding piece of scientific work. The twenty-first generation of animals has maintained its vigor and its growth rate similar to that of the original group, and no failures have occurred in pregnancy or lactation. It definitely appears that the animals could very well continue on the margarine in place of butter diet indefinitely. Other scientists both in this country and abroad have published results confirming the Deuel work.
Let me explain that such tests are conducted on rats because of the limitations that such an experiment would have if we attempted to perform it on man. Obviously it would be impossible to so limit the diet of man over a considerable period of time. When you figure that a generation in man covers about 30 to 33 years the Deuel experiments over 20 generations would, translated into tests on humans, represent a maintenance of normal function over a period exceeding 600 years, with the fat in the diet being almost completely of vegetable margarine fat.
Vaccenic acid itself is really not important, but I feel I must mention it because I have noticed that some of the butter protagonists have been referring to it as making butter superior nutritionally to margarine. There is simply nothing to this. Deuel has very comprehensively tested this substance and his work has recently been published in the March issue of the Journal of Nutrition. Ño beneficial effect whatsoever resulted when pure vaccenic acid was added to the diet. When animals were fed cottonseed oil they did not improve in any way when vaccenic acid was added to the diet.
A few years ago I published a pamphlet which I called Legislation Which Renders It More Difficult To Secure Adequate Nutrition. These contain quotations from institutions and research investigations of note, and I am glad to submit for the members of the committee sufficient number of copies of that publication.
The CHAIRMAN. They will be made available to the members of the committee.
Dr. CARLSON. The meaning of the title is this, that the taxes render it more difficult for the financially less fortunate members of our citizens to secure an adequate diet.
This contains facts about the nutritive value of margarine which, because they are facts, are unanswerable. In order to shorten my oral testimony I am submitting to the committee copies of my pamphlet as part of the record.
Finally I would like to refer to an experiment conducted by Drs. Harry Leichenger and George Eisenberg, of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and myself, the results of which were published in the February 7, 1948, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The published article really speaks for itself, and again to save time, I am submitting for the record copies of this article.
And I leave here with you a sufficient number of reprints for your committee.
The CHAIRMAN. They will be made available to the committee.
Dr. CARLSON. I hope that you will have a chance to read it. I think it is written in the language so that laymen can grasp it.
In this experiment over 200 children were used; and since they were in the growing stage we tested them for increase in weight, increase in growth, illness, condition of the blood, all of the measures that can be applied to the living, growing child. The diets of the two groups in the two institutions were essentially the same, good diets for children, except in one case for cooking or table spread butter was used, for the other group standard margarine. At the end of 2 years there was no difference. Two years is a short time.
Senator HAWKES. May I interrupt to ask you this? I had a letter written to me 3 or 4 weeks ago, in which they stated in that letter that certain experiments similar to the ones you have just recited were made of some two or three hundred children in an orphanage some place, and they were fed on oleo, and similar number in another place were fed on butter, and that the health of the children who had the oleo was better than those who had butter. You simply say that it is practically the same.
Dr. CARLSON. I know of no experiment, Senator, similar to this anywhere as yet.
Senator HAWKES. They may have referred to this very experiment
Dr. CARLSON. They did refer to this, but I am one of the experimenters there. I did part of the work. There was a little difference in favor of the general health of the oleo people, but not enough to draw any conclusion that that was due to margarine.
The CHAIRMAN. Were the experiments conducted on two groups of children in two different places?
Dr. CARLSON. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. And were the diets, the general diets, under control?
Dr. CARLSON. The general diet was known. It was the average good diet of children, including milk, of course, for children.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean was the general diet of the two schools equal ?
Dr. CARLSON. Essentially equal in calories, quantity, quality, proteins, vitamins, and all of them. I am glad you asked that question, Mr. Chairman, because many laymen, and I have read the testimony on these bills in the House, do not understand what a scientific experiment requires. Those diets had to be essentially the same. They do not have to eat the same every day, you understand. It is the same as in any family. But you have to vary only one thing at a time, and the variable here, the only variable was butter in the one case, margarine in the other. Is that clear?
The CHAIRMAN. It is perfectly clear to me that if you are going to have a real scientific experiment, if you are going to have one; you will have to have controls, and if you are running controls in two different institutions the controls have to be the same or approximately the same.
Dr. CARLSON. That is correct. In other words, the control has to be the diet.
The CHAIRMAN. I was inquiring as to the point whether the controls were the same in both institutions.
Dr. CARLSON. That is correct. The diets are essentially the same. We can never run a control on the children or on man as absolutely as we can on the experimental animal, and either as to his health or diet; and for that reason, Mr. Chairman, we increased the number so that an occasional infection, an occasional cold, an occasional this, and occasional that would cancel out in the two groups. Do I make myself clear? The CHAIRMAN. Entirely clear.
Dr. CARLSON. I hope each one of you will read this paper. Briefly, it shows that growing children experience normal growth in height and weight when their diets contain only fortified margarine as table fat as shown by a comparison with standard weight and height tables. Whether the greater part of the fat of the diet is derived from vegetable or animal sources has no effect on growth and health as shown by changes in height and weight, and health records of the children observed over a 2-year period. Regardless of whether margarine or butter was the source of the greater part of the fat in the diet, the health of 267 children, during a 2-year period, was uniformly good so far as serious illness is concerned. There is absolutely no evidence that there is any growth factor present in butter which is not present in margarine.
I have noted that since the publication of this paper some of our friends and colleagues in Wisconsin have attempted to show that this work is meaningless. Mind you, they do not say that there is any superiority in butter. They say such things as the controls were not extensive enough, the work was not conducted for a sufficient period of time, and so forth. Have they done any experimenting on children, I want to ask them, with butter controls or longer time? If they have, I have not heard of it. But, gentlemen, we were working with humans and, as I pointed out before, you cannot control their lives as you can with experimental animals. This work speaks for itself. When you add this to all of the work done in this country and abroad on experimental animals, it furnishes additional scientific knowledge.
Margarine has a well-established place in the dietary of this country. It supplies a real need of our people in the lower-income groups. At moderate cost it gives our people a good-tasting, readily digestible fat food. The product is recognized by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, which has promulgated a standard for it under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Especially today, with the high cost of living, when so many of our people are hard-pressed to make both ends meet, and with it being a real task for large numbers of our population to secure an adequate diet, I submit to you gentlemen that there is no justification whatsoever for continuing these taxes and that, in the interests of good health, good nutrition, and plain American fair play, these taxes should be repealed.
I know of no parallel to this type of Federal interference with the manufacture and sale of a good food product. And I have been in that field in every State for more than 70 years. Of course, it is well known, and often conceded by the antimargarine group that the Federal margarine taxes were not primarily enacted for the sake of raising revenue. The 10-cents-per-pound tax on yellow margarine obviously is not to enrich the Treasury Department but exists for the purposes of preventing the consumer from getting margarine the way they want it—in a pleasing yellow color.
Furthermore, as far as I can see, this margarine situation is not really a fight between the dairy farmer and the margarine producer. It is a fight really waged by the butter manufacturer against margarine and is carried on for purely selfish purposes in an attempt to gain, by legislation, competitive advantages which are abhorrent to every
American principle of free and fair competition. The antimargarine lobby has for years been attempting to convince Congress that, if margarine were sold yellow, wholesale fraud would be practiced. To me this is preposterous, and yet, to date, this unfounded charge has stood in the way of adequate nutrition for a good part of our consuming public.
A good part of my professional life has been spent in the study of various foods for man. No one food has any exclusive claim to any particular color. Foods have a large variety of natural colors, and foods by the score are artificially colored. This is recognized in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act when it merely requires that if color is added to food it be declared on the label. As you know, by a special legislative enactment, butter is excepted from this legal