« AnteriorContinuar »
Butter is not too high priced; it is one of the cheapest sources of nutrients. Its price varies with cost of production, supply, and demand. Olea prices vary with butter prices. Butter definitely has definite food nutrients essential to health that are not contained in oleo. Regulations now permit oleo to be fortified with vitamins flavored like butter and preservatives to be added. Now certain interests further want to hoodwink the consuming public by imitating butter color, so that oleo may be a complete imitation of butter. This would be a complete return to barbarism when the might of the oleo interests would eliminate the rights of millions of honest, hard-working dairymen and encourage fraudulent practices upon the consuming public.
Inflation and high food costs would spiral higher if oleo taxes were removed. This would come about through the elimination of vast amounts of dairy cows. Byproducts from the butter industry furnish buttermilk and skim-milk feeds which are very essential to the production of eggs and the feeding of poultry and hogs. Dairying supplies vast amounts of meat to packers through culling of herds and sale of veal. Eliminating of dairy herds from which 50 percent of the production goes into butter and the balance into evaporated milk, cheese, and fluid milk, could create scarcities of dairy products approximately 5 months of the year.
It can plainly be seen how this would affect the costs of foods and increase inflation. Eliminating the 142 million dairy farmers whose products of toil go solely into the manufacture of butter is a step toward eliminating the family type of farm. This would create a social problem by causing a transition of the families to the cities where homes and employment are already an unsolved problem.
Another problem will be the disposal of soybean and cotton seed meal, a byproduct now used for dairy cows and calf feed.
Removing the oleo tax would also reflect lower prices to the cotton and soybean farmer. Certain amounts of the oils of these crops are used in the manufacture of margarine today. Coconut oil, imported into this country, would be used in the manufacture of colored oleo and eliminate the use of domestic oils.
The tax on oleo does not restrict its sale. Recent surveys show that oleo production and sales have doubled in the past few years. A recent survey shows that 4 out of 5 families now purchase oleo. This does not indicate that margarine regulations are restrictive to sales or prohibitive to its costs.
Removing the tax from oleo finally means two things: They are the encouragement of numerous frauds in food policies; and destabilizing the basis of American agriculture. Sincerely,
PROGRESSIVE FARMERS OF WISCONSIN,
PURE MILK PRODUCTS COOPERATIVE,
Madison, Wis, May 13, 1948. Mr. O. PERDUE,
Washington Hotel, Washington, D. C.: The Osseo, Neillsville, and New Richmond locals of Pure Milk Products Cooperative representing approximately 1,000 dairy farm families view with alarm the recent action of the House of Representatives in giving the color of yellow to oleomargarine.
It is their opinion that such action is very injurious to the entire dairy industry. It will result in great financial losses for the dairy farmer and thereby cause a corresponding reduction in the production of milk,
We are especially disappointed that such an action was taken by the first Congress controlled by the Republican Party in the last 14 years. We wish to emphatically point out that no action so drastic and so detrimental to the dairy industry was ever consummated or completed under the democratic regime.
Better than 90 percent of Wisconsin farmers vote the Republican ticket. If the oleo bill passes the Senate we will not only be bitterly disappointed in the Republican Party but we will feel that we have been betrayed by the very people in whom we have placed our trust for 14 long years. Nothing will remain for the Wisconsin farmer but to turn in desperation to the Democratic Party. We are very loath to do this.
Therefore be it resolved by the Osseo, Neillsville, and New Richmond locals of Pure Milk Products Cooperative, That we respectfully petition the Republicancontrolled Senate not to sell the dairy industry down the river as the House of Representatives has done but to maintain the yellow color for butter only.
Be it understood that this resolution in no way casts any reflection or criticism on the Republican Representatives in Congress from Wisconsin who have unanimously voted in the interest of the dairy farmer.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM O. PERDUE, GENERAL MANAGER, PURE MILK PRODUCTS
COOPERATIVE, FOND DU LAC, WIS.
Pure Milk Products Cooperative is the largest strictly bargaining producers' cooperative in the United States.
It has a membership of over 23,000 members engaged in the production of milk. In the year 1948 our members will produce approximately 1,876,235,712 pounds of milk, with the approximate value of $75,049,500.
The dairy farmers who are members of this cooperative have a total investment of over $250,000,000 for milk alone.
Any legislation which threatens the security of our members and their $250,000,000 investment is a matter of gravest concern to us.
In spite of the huge investment of dairy farmers jeopardized by this oleo tax repeal, the Senate of the United States has allotted about 4 hours to hear the case for agriculture.
First, we want to protest the lack of understanding of the Senate Finance Committee in allotting only 4 hours to a measure which could jeopardize the enormous investment of agriculture in milk production.
Senator Millikin, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has allotted 4 hours to agriculture because, his telegram states, “The press of more important legislation so requires."
We are fearful that the committee has prejudged the case by allotting in a cavalier style such an impossibly short time to agriculture.
The destruction or weakening of the butter market must adversely affect the entire price structure of dairy products, as well as total production and investment.
Therefore, we respectfully request the committee reschedule the hearings of the death sentence for butter; and accord agriculture an opportunity to be heard in a fair, unbiased, and full hearing.
Wisconsin dairy farmers (and millions of their fellows in other States) are up in arms over the attempt of the oleomargarine interests to usurp their Godgiven color—which is golden yellow.
The Nation's dairy farmers are not seeking to deprive any person of the privilege of eating oleomargarine or any other spread or cooking oil which they might ncy. Farmers have no objection to, and themselves are rge consumers of, such tempting spreads as peanut butter, jams, and jellies, and they use large quantities of cooking oils and similar materials.
The oleomargarine manufacturers admittedly are insistent upon demanding that they be given the unrestricted right to color their product yellow. They say it's because custom has made the consumer expect the spread upon ber bread to be yellow.
What created this custom ? Butter, of course - yellow butter. Thus the oleomargarine manufacturer admits that he wants to purvey his product to the American people for something that it is not. Had nature bestowed a green or pink color on butter, then the oleomargarine interests would want to usurp that color, too.
After all, the color question is the only one. The Nation's dairy farmers have said that they are willing to allow removal of all restrictions and taxes on butter substitutes if they will be sold in their natural color, or in any other color under the sun except that yellow which is the original and only color of butter.
The consumer readily accepts the purple color of grape jelly, the gold of orange marmalade, the red of currant jelly, the deeper red of raspberry or strawberry preserves. The housewife likes green-tinted mint sauce for her lamb, dark-brown peanut butter for the children's school lunches.
The foods upon our tables are of every color and hue, from the deep red of a succulent roast of beef to the stalk of white celery. Hence, why should oleomargarine in some color other than yellow be unpalatable? Even a deep orange shade should be acceptable and the degree of color could be set by statute so that oleomargarine colored this way could never be palmed off as butter. It could go tax free under its own distinctive color, but the 10-cent tax should be retained if it is to be colored like butter.
Despite the thousands of words which have been said and printed on tbis color question, the oleomargarine manufacturers still insist that they do not want to imitate butter. They say that their product is a healthful, nutritious one-they have even gone so far as to advertise that “there is no substitute for oleomargarine."
If they do not want to imitate butter, then why did they demand and succeed in obtaining the right to use a chemical-diacetyl-which imparts the characteristic flavor of butter? They were not given that right by Congress or the will of the people but by the then Administrator of the Federal Security Administration.
Why use this chemical to make their product taste like butter if they do not want to imitate butter? The fallacy of this argument must be apparent.
No, by demanding the privilege of coloring this product like butter and flavoring it like butter, the oleomargarine manufacturer admits that he is unable to sell it on its own merits and must market it in the guise of something that it is not and can never replace.
For a while the oleo lobby insisted that it had the right to the yellow color because oleo, as well as butter, had a natural yellow color. This statement went unchallenged until recently, when the Armour Institute of Chicago made a series of tests. They revealed conclusively that the oils from which oleomargarine are made do have a yellowish color, but that all of it is lost and the substance becomes a pale grey, oftentimes with a green tinge, after hydrogenation. They concluded that oleo's natural color after the necessary manufacturing processes would be much lighter than that of most butters and very likely would have little or no yellow pigmentation.
American people who are accustomed to good living do not want substitutes. When you order and pay for a chicken sandwich you expect to get chicken, not disguised pork or veal. When you take your car to the filling station and order gasoline, you don't want the attendant to fill it with kerosene or fuel oil.
Yes, the American people believe in protecting themselves against substitutes. It is a criminal offense for a private citizen to parade in a policeman's uniform. It is a serious offense for a sergeant in the country's service to wear a colonel's uniform.
Why, then, should not the dairy farmer resent and seek to prevent a similar attempted limitation of his product-not merely, of its texture, uses, and flavor but a blatant attempt to steal his trade-mark, which is golden yellow.
We realize that the housewife has been deceived into thinking that elimination of this tax on colored oleo would lead to a reduction in the cost of living. It won't reduce the cost of living in more than 20 States which still have oleo taxes on colored margarine or which protect their dairy farmers by prohibiting the sale of colored oleomargine.
It can't possibly reduce the cost of living even for a large family which uses nothing but oleomargarine, for the housewife can buy it now by paying only a nominal tax and color it herself through the new modern packaging method. The difference in the sale price of colored and uncolored oleo right now indicates that the margarine manufacturers will not necessarily be so generous as not to guide some of that tax cost into their own coffers, once the tax is repealed.
I repeat, the dairy farmer is not trying to deprive anyone of oleo. He believes the housewife should be able to buy it without tax, either uncolored, or in some color other than yellow.
But if it has to be colored yellow, then the dairy farmers believe it should be suitably controlled. The tax on colored oleomargarine, enforced by the Internal Revenue Bureau, is the only effective way of controlling this imitation and the only protection against wanton fraud and deception.
We do not say that reputable oleomargarine manufacturers would seek to make huge profits by fraudulently selling their products as butter, but the person who eats in a restaurant has no guaranty that the butter he pays for is not a yellow substitute. And the large margin in retail price between butter and oleo will again lure unscrupulous individuals as it has in the past, and what someone has called “butterlegging” will again flourish if the restrictions are removed.
The whole history of oleomargarine has proved the necessity of protecting the public from fraudulent sales of oleomargarine in the guise of butter. This principle was recognized by the Congress of the United States ever since 1886, when the national policy was so ably stated by President Grover Cleveland, as follows:
"I am convinced that the taxes which (the law) creates cannot possibly destroy the open and legitimate manufacture and sale of the thing upon which it is levied. If this article has the merit which its friends claim for it, and if the people of the land, with full knowledge of its real character, desire to purchase and use it, the taxes exacted by this bill' will permit a fair profit to both manufacturer and dealer. If the existence of the commodity taxed and the profits of its manufacture and sale depend upon disposing of it to the people for something else which it deceitfully imitates, the entire enterprise is a fraud and not an industry; and if it cannot endure the exhibition of its real character which will be affected by the inspection, supervision, and stamping which this bill directs, the sooner it is destroyed the better, in the interest of fair dealing."
I have not attempted to go into the economic repercussions which would plague the American dairy farmer if this bill is enacted into law. I know this matter has been covered ably by others who have testified or submitted their statements. But one important point remains—that is the subject of filled milk.
If this bill passes the Senate and finally becomes law, then you will have perpetrated one of the greatest injuries possible to a wholesome part of American industry—the dairy farmer. You will invite and encourage the filled-milk industry to take over the evaporated-milk industry of the Nation. Filled milk is a product of skimmed milk and cottonseed oil. The manufacturers remove the butterfat from the whole milk or they buy skim milk, and they replace the butterfat with cottonseed oil-a compound of evaporated skim milk and cottonseed oil.
If you must take the butter market from the farmer, why not at the same stroke legalize filled evaporated milk, filled fluid milk, filled cheese, filled ice cream, and thus close scores of evaporated-milk plants, fluid milk, cream, cheese, and ice cream plants in Wisconsin and throughout the Nation, instead of prolonging the agony and the suffering of the dairy farmer?
Suffice it to say that the American farmer is beginning to learn who are his friends and who are his enemies by their actions. He knows how to work with his fellow farmer. And it is only natural that the American farmer will fight back with every weapon at his resource, including political, if this rightful market for his milk is shattered by individuals who have not thought the entire problem through to its logical conclusion.
This committee may think this bill incidental enough to receive only 4 hours at a time because of more pressing problems.
Let me assure this committee that 3,000,000 dairy farmers and their families consider this legislation one of the most important matters to come before this present Congress. And we respectfully assure this committee that every dairy farmer in the United States when asked to vote this fall is going to ask himself the following question :
"Where did this candidate or where did this party stand on the death sentence of butter?”
THE ROTARY CLUB OF ORD,
ORD, NEBR., May 14, 1948. Senator EUGENE MILLIKIN,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. c. DEAR SIR: I have your wire of May 12 and thank you for the same. We have been very much interested in the bill repealing the tax on oleo. It seems to us that it should not pass. This differential between butter and colored oleo has been in effect for many years. It is necessary if we are to have a continual manufacture of butter. The necessary work and expense connected with the production of butter is very much more than is required for the production of oleo. At the present time there is a fairly good market for butter and a reasonable measure of profit in the same but this is not in ordinary times. The production of butter in our locality makes a part of a manufacturing plant for each farmer. Only a few have more than 5 to 10 cows giving milk. During bad times and even during better times the weekly amount received by farmers for their butterfat is the fund which buys them their weekly supplies. Otherwise they would only receive money two or three times a year. If the production of butter was made unprofitable it would gradually kill this industry. In poorer times the competition of oleo is very serious even with the present tax.
We sincerely hope that the committee hearing this matter and the Senate itself will refuse to pass this dangerous bill.
ED F. BERANEK, President.
RUTHERFORDTON, N. C., May 18, 1948. Mr. EUGENE D. MILLIRIN,
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. MILLIKIN: We respectfully submit the following as our testimony regarding the bill to remove the tax from oleomargarine.
In the beginning we wish to state that we recognize the merits of oleomargarine as a pure and wholesome food, and the rights of those people interested in this product to sell on a free market, provided it is sold as oleomargarine and carrying the original and natural color of the product. On the other hand, we believe the dairymen should be free of the unfair and premediated scheming of the manufacturers of oleomargarine who use every means to imitate the appearance and flavor of butter and otherwise prepare their product and the packages containing same to deceive the consumer into thinking he is actually using butter.
The dairy business in the South is just in its infancy and the unfair competition from tax-free artificially colored oleo could easily result in the depression of prices of dairy products to the extent that the growth in this business would be greatly retarded. No one familiar with the South and its soil erosion would deny that the growth of the dairy industry in the South would be the best thing that could possibly happen to conserve our soils and increase our farm income as cotton and other of the old-line crops are forced out for various reasons. Further, the dairy industry contributes many times more money through the use of feed products to those interested in the sale of fats and oils to the oleo industry than does the oleo industry itself. To those producing soy beans, cottonseed, peanuts, etc., any bill detrimental to the dairy industry is, in effect, killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
In conclusion and summary, we repeat and emphasize our willingness for the tax to be removed from oleo provided Congress will make it unlawful for oleo to be made and sold in the imitation of butter, either wholesale or retail, or when sold in public eating places. However, it would give this artificial product an unfair advantage in competition with butter-should it be lawful for oleo margarine to be colored to imitate butter and that the simplest and most effective means of insuring against such unfairness is to make it unlawful for color in the imitation of butter prior to sale to be added, regardless of the circumstances under which it is sold. Dairying is a fundamental and basic industry and any damage rendered it would be felt keenly by many groups not actually engaged in the business. Thanking you for this privilege of submitting our testimony, we are, Sincerely yours,
JACK CAMP, Jr.,
J. J. HAMLIN, Jr., Cochairmen of the Rutherford County Milk Producers Association.
PAUL A. SCHULTZE Co.
St. Louis 3, Mo., May 13, 1948.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
The fact that the oleo manufacturers are so intensely bent on the repealing of the oleo tax law evidences the importance to them of their product as a butter imitation; and it must be true that it is expected that the oleo sales will then soar.
Already there are many places where yellow oleo is served and in some highclass places too, where people who eat it do so for butter. Oleomargarine is already being sold in vast amounts since butter has been high, but butter is not higher than anything else in the food line, comparatively, or in any other line for that matter. Oleo is already doing a big job and it can easily disturb the equilibrium of a profitable return to the farmer producing butterfat.