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THE PHYSICAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE NATION
The physical welfare of our citizens is the result of a nutritious diet. In this the protein and minerals of milk and meat are desirable and necessary.
For every pound of butterfat in milk there are also produced approximately 2.6 pounds of milk solids, not fat. This food is rich in protein and minerals and is generally recognized as an important source of these elements so vital to our diet. Loss of the butter market will mean a further curtailment of our dairy herds and as a consequence, the production of less milk. Thus 2.6 pounds of these milk solids will be lost irretrievably for every pound of butter which is replaced by oleomargarine. No one has indicated how this loss is to be replaced. I am confident that none of our dietitians would venture to say that our present diet is such that these proteins and minerals from milk are not necessary.
A reduced demand for milk and butterfat will mean less cattle of the dairy type. Statistics indicate that about 5 million dairy cows and approximately 10 to 11 million veal calves are slaughtered for meat annually. To the extent that the number of dairy cattle is reduced through the substitution of vegetable fat for milk fat, the beef and veal available to the American consumers will be reduced. The production of meat per capita has steadily declined during the past two decades. The dairy cow is our most efficient converter of roughage into food for man. Replacement by beef-type cows will not fully compensate for this loss of efficiency. With a further reduction of meat resulting from the loss of a market or butterfat, it would definitely appear that the consumers will be required to pay a higher price for meat, a new cost which would more than offset the tax saving on oleomargarine.
THE ECONOMIC WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE NATION
Our Government has recognized soil-erosion control as a necessary part of our economic welfare. In recent years we as a nation have become conscious of the need for conserving our soil resources if we are to remain a great nation, The fostering of a livestock program has been recognized as an integral part part of the soil-conservation program. We have already pointed out the efficiency of the dairy cow as a converter of the products of the grassland farming into human food. This efficient conversion is essential to successful grassland farming. Many millions of tax dollars are spent annually by Federal agencies in an effort to coserve our soil resources through a grassland livestock program. The replacement of butterfat with vegetable fat in our diet will make it difficult if not impossible, for the Nation to make further progress in grassland farming. The production of vegetable fats now largely used in the manufacture of oleo margarine lends itself to the rapid destruction and loss of our valuable top soils. It is impossible to justify tremendous appropriations to conserve soil resources and at the same time encourage a type of farming that destroys these resources.
THE BALANCE OF POPULATION AND NATIONAL DEFENSE
World War II is still fresh in our minds, and cannot have forgotten the contribution which agriculture made to the winning of the war and is making to the winning of the peace. Yet statistics reveal that our rural population is declining at an alarming rate. Rural youth is moving to the cities which hold forth prospects of greater financial return and an opportunity to enjoy a standard of living that many of our farms cannot supply. The rural standard of living has lagged behind that of urban areas, as is shown by the absence of telephones, electric lights, running water, and other modern conveniences throughout rural areas. Churches and schools are other measuring sticks which may be used. The rural people have the same desires for the better things of life as do their city cousins. If the financial returns from farming permitted, they would have the same cultural advantages and physical conveniences as do people in the urban
By its very nature the dairy industry has been the most stable segment of agriculture. In periods of difficult times dairying has been a point of strength upon which the stability of agriculture as a whole has largely depended.
A reduction in the demand for butterfat will place a further financial handicap in the way of a segment of society which, despite recent advances, is still among the lowest income bracket. Presumably this will hasten the movement of people from the farm to the city.
We have experienced the need of a strong, sound agricultural economy during periods of national emergency. We must not now lend our aid to forces which would further upset the necessary balance in our population structure. We must encourage that segment of our population which produces the food and fiber so necessary to our Nation, to “stay on the job.”
PROTECTION AGAINST FRAUD AND DECEIT
The people of the Nation have a legal and moral right to be protected against cheap substitutes. This has been a basic philosophy in our State and Federal food and drug laws. Oleomargarine is the one product which has been' permitted to be made with ingredients intended to make it taste, spread, melt, feel, and smell like the product it seeks to imitate-butter. The purpose of the pending legislation is to remove the controls once considered necessary when the product is also made to look like butter.
The imitation will then be complete so far as the senses can discern. That fraud and deception may then be anticipated is clearly indicated by the fact that 23 States now prohibit the sale of colored oleomargarine and some foreign countries require the inclusion of some clearly distinguishing ingredient.
Each time butter has been able to prove its superiority, oleomargarine has been permitted to augment its composition to maintain its alleged nutritional equality.
A consumer should not be required to submit a product to laboratory analysis to be sure he is getting butter if he wants it. The label does not remain with the product in public eating places. Citizens who want butter should be entitled to the same protection that is afforded citizens buying any other food.
Just this week it was necessary for this department to prosecute a Wisconsin restaurant for using oleomargarine as and for butter. We have also been informed of similar prosecutions in other States during recent months.
Oleomargarine proponents have approached this legislation largely through inducing the American public to think that the American dairymen are a selfish lot interested in protecting their financial returns.
The foregoing arguments relate to the entire population. I doubt that you will find any discussion of these fundamental issues in the vast expensive propaganda campaign being conducted by the oleomargarine manufacturers. Sincerely yours.
MILTON H. BUTTON, Director.
WISCONSIN STATE GRANGE,
May 15, 1948. Hon. EUGENE D. MILLIKIN, Chairman, Finance Committee, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR : Since we are not being afforded an opportunity to appear before your committee to discuss the pending oleomargarine legislation, I desire to submit the following expressions of our views as a part of the committee hearing record on the bill.
Most foods are protected from imitation products. Butter is given such protection in almost half of our States which prohibit its sale if colored yellow. Some other nations require oleomargarine to contain certain specified ingredients to make it easily recognizable. Our own Nation, until now, has seen fit to try to prevent the fraud of the sale of the product as butter by means of taxation. Other dairy products are protected against such fraud by the prohibition in our Federal filled milk act.
Since the tax law is the only protection granted butter, the repeal of that tax would legalize the deception of the consumer. It has been said that there can be no deception since the two products have been found to be approximate nutritive equivalents. More than 20 years ago it was also alleged that the products were then nutritionally equal. Since that time butter has been proved to be superior in several ways and on each such occasion the manufacturers of oleomargarine have been permitted to add synthetic ingredients in their attempt to maintain the alleged equality. We do not now concede that oleomargarine is equal to butterbut even if equality could be established, that should not be the basis for permitting imitation and deception.
The American dairy industry is not fearful of the competition of oleomargarine sold as oleomargarine. It does fear the results that will follow if all control is removed and the product is permitted to be used as and for butter.
It has been contended that the package labeling affords the dairy farmer complete protection. We are convinced that such contention is unsound. Yellow oleomargarine loses its identity as an imitation when it is taken from the package. When it is served in public eating places few people could distinguish it from genuine butter. The oleomargarine interests have succeeded in obtaining permission to practically imitate all of the characteristics of butter. Color alone has been the distinguishing feature to enable the consumer to see the difference.
The color distinction assured by present excise taxes should not be sacrificed, unless some other positive method of identification by all consumers is required. Laboratory analysis should not be necessary. If the excise taxes are repealed and no other means of identification is required, the results on our national economy will soon be recognized.
THE GENERAL PUBLIC WELFARE
Butter is one of the major outlets for the dairy industry. If because of permitted deception this market demand is lost, not only the dairy industry, but all of agriculture and our entire national economy will be affected.
Our dairy income is an important part of our total national income. Any sub stantial reduction in the returns of that phase of agriculture will soon be reflected in our economic structure. If it is not accompanied by an equal reduction in the price of things which agriculture needs, that segment of our population will again suffer severe reverses in its only recently improved financial position.
If we as a nation are to remain safe and secure-if our population is to continue productive and prosperous—if agriculture is to have the cultural advantages that make for a full life, then every attempt must be made to maintain the present economic position of our farm people.
Even the consumers wanting oleomargarine should be interested in preserving a sound agriculture. We are confident that they will not look with favor upon legislation which encourages soil depleting crops and which destroys a soil conservation industry at a time when our Nation is expending vast sums to build up and preserve our topsoil.
The resulting saving to the consumer through the repeal of the excise taxes must be considered in the light of other probable increases in the cost of living which would follow such repeal. Even oleomargarine may be fairly expected to increase in price as the demand for that product is increased because of the permitted deception. We would venture the guess that such price increase will offset a substantial part of the tax saving.
The nutritive elements of the solids not fat portion of the milk from which the cream is removed for butter making will also have to be replaced in our diet, Such replacement will be possible only with other more expensive foods containing the same nutritional ingredients.
Higher prices will also be needed for meats if the supply is reduced because of the curtailment of our dairy herds. Replacement with beef type cattle is not the whole answer because science has demonstrated that such cattle are not as efficient as dairy cattle in the conversion of vegetable matter into food for man. This is evident because historically dairy cattle for slaughter sell at a lower price than do beef type cattle of like weight.
We sincerely hope that you and your committee will see fit not to recommend the excise tax repeal measure for passage. Very truly yours,
WM. E. SEFFERN, Master.
W. D. WRIGHT PRODUCE Co.,
Hobart, Okla., May 12, 1948. EUGENE D. MILLIKIN, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee,
Senate Office Building,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Your wire of May 11 received. Two day hearing-certainly not enough.
Appreciate invitation to submit written statement. Mine is brief, and as follows:
First, leave law as is, or
Second, remove the 10-cent tax on oleo but do not permit manufacturer to color yellow. Yours truly,
W. D. WRIGHT PRODUCE CO,.
(Senator Fulbright submitted for the record a list of organizations which have adopted resolutions favoring repeal of the tax on margarine, a list of newspapers that have favorably commented editorially upon the repeal of the taxes on margarine, a number of letters from various organizations favoring repeal, and a paper on the Probable Economic Effects on the Dairy Industry of Repeal of Antimargarine legislation.)
(The documents referred to follow :)
American Federation of Labor, November 14, 1910.
one on State, one on Federal).
1930. California Retail Grocers' and Merchants' Association, September 22, 1930. Oregon Cattle and Horse Raisers' Association, May 21, 1931. National Association of Retail Grocers, July 6, 1931. National Cottonseed Products Association (Georgia Division), July 1931. American Federation of Labor, October 5, 1931. American Cotton Cooperative Association, March 1, 1932. Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers' Association, March 15, 1932. National Association of Retail Grocers, June 6, 1932. Institute of Cottonseed Oil Foods, August 5, 1932. Kansas Live Stock Association, March 8, 1933. National Association of Retail Grocers, June 29, 1933. American Cotton Cooperative Association, National Cottonseed Products Asso
ciation, Southern Commissioners of Agriculture, November 3, 1933. National Association of Retail Grocers, June 21, 1934. Indiana Retail Grocers and Meat Dealers Association, June 1934.
California Retail Grocers and Merchants Association, September 24, 1934.
November 14, 1938.