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Growing children experience normal growth in height and weight when their diets contain only fortified margarine as table fat, as shown by comparison with children fed on similar diets with butter as the source of table fat and by comparison with standard height and weight tables.
TABLE 5.—Group total and average yearly gains in eight (pounds) and height
(inches); children observed at least 6 months
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 children observed over a 2-year period.
During a 2-year period the health of 267 children was uniformly good so far as serious illness is concerned, regardless of whether margarine or butter was the source of the greater part of the fat in the diet.
TABLE 6.—Group total and average yearly gains, by sex, in weight (pounds) and
height (inches); children observed at least 6 months
If there is a growth factor present in butter which is not present in margarine, there is no evidence in the present study that such a factor plays any important part in the growth of children as determined by increases in height and weight.
Margarine is a good source of table fat in growing children, as determined by a 2-year study. Children readily accept margarine as a table spread when it is colored and served in pats.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Carlson is on the list of witnesses.
Mr. RIVERS. They adequately show where growing children using margarine alone in their diet for all and every conceivable purpose in which fat is necessary, have no difference from butter, and certainly the growing features are equal to that of butter.
Now, if the converse of the present condition were true today, and no tax existed on margarine, Mr. Chairman, it would be difficult to imagine a condition giving an excuse to tax margarine today, because of the many great strides that have been made as the result of the manufacturers' desire to make this a good product. If any were taxed, it would be butter, because butter today is a luxury. People cannot afford it. The 40,000,000 households today which use margarine could not afford to get butter.
Margarine is eaten today because of desire and of necessity, because of the high price of butter, which has made it a luxury. Over 700,000,000 pounds of margarine were used last year, and of the 40,000,000 households, approximately over 13,000 man and woman years of labor were used in the mixing of it and I contribute to that, because I have mixed a sizable amount myself.
That 13,000 years could well have been used to the other necessities that exist in this high and inflated society.
Now, the American housewife today pleads, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, as well as demands, that the tax on margarine, the un-American tax be removed. From the planting of the seed of the corn, the peanut, the soy and the cotton to the ultimate finished product, there is a tax of from one-quarter of 1 percent or whatever the tax is to 15 cents a pound for no rhyme or reason, and in addition to that there are hidden costs by virtue of the virtual sword of Damocles that hangs over the heads of every manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of margarine, because of the punitive Federal statutes, which cause untold cost to keep books to deliver this finished product to the housewife, every conceivable concoction is conceived to render it almost impossible to deliver a product to the housewife. Before the House committee I referred to this tax as a tribute and
I will not refer to it here, because the Senate, by a vote, has seen fit to refer to this as a tax, giving you jurisdiction, and at that point I am glad to note that this distinguished committee has jurisdiction on this subject matter.
Now, Mr. Chairman, in closing, I want to say this: Our body has spoken unmistakably on this subject, answering the plea and the demand of the housewife. I know that you will do likewise, and your body will follow your decision.
Iam honored to be here, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.
Senator BARKLEY. At the beginning of your statement, referring to the tariff taxes, you said the present tax, I understood, was 7 cents under the Geneva agreement.
Mr. RIVERS. I think that is right.
Senator BARKLEY. But the tax on the section 22 was 15 cents, the tariff. It sounded like a discrepancy between the two figures, sir. It may not be vital. What are the facts about it?
Mr. Rivers. I think that the 15 cents is on imported margarine, and then there is the Geneva agreement which imposes a tax, I think it is, of 7 cents, in addition to that. In the treaty which the Senate approved with the Philippines I think it exempted coconut oils, which in some cases are used; virtually now margarine is made from just about 100 percent American oils, but I believe in the Philippine
as a ransom.
agreement I have that in my files, I did not bring it this morning, but I procured that from the State Department, they are free. I think it is some kind of a reciprocal agreement.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Fulbright, will you see that we get the statistics on imports of oleomargarine and constituent materials!
Senator FULBRIGHT. Yes, sir.
1 Source: Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. 2 In 1947, contributed 53.1
percent of margarine oil ingredients. Source of data: Bureau of Internal Rev. 3 In 1947, contributed 37.5 percent of margarine oil ingredients. Source: Same. 4 Less than 500 pounds. 5 Imported mostly into Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. NOTE.-Other ingredients, 1947: Peanut oil, 2.9 percent; coconut oil, 3.5 percent; corn oil, 1.1 perceni; oleo oil, 0.6 percent; neutral lard, 0.5 percent; monostearine, 0.1 percent.
Senator BARKLEY. Do you have any figures as to the comparative consumption of margarine and butter?
Mr. RIVERS. I think butter is about three times as much, either twice or three times as much butter sold.
Senator BARKLEY. Twice or three times as much butter as margarine
Mr. RIVERS. I do not know, sir. You cannot sell a pound of margarine to the armed services.
Senator BARKLEY. I wondered if you knew the comparative pounds of consumption between the two.
Mr. RIVERS. Margarine is, I think, over 700,000,000 pounds last year, and I think it was between 1 and 2 billion pounds of butter?
Senator BARKLEY. The price of margarine being less than half of the price of butter, and according to your view equally nutrient and desirable as a food, why has not the consumption of oleomargarine caught up with that of butter?
Mr. RIVERS. There are many factors, Senator. The majority of the spread which was used by the housewives of this Nation last year was margarine, but the majority of the spread used by the consuming public throughout was butter. A great portion of that was in the armed forces, a great portion I imagine in the restaurants and other places.
But the majority of the spread used by the housewives of the Nation was margarine.
Of course, as you observed a while ago, I am glad to see that in some instances they can mix it on the way home. Many things have been devised to do that.
Senator BARKLEY. I do not want that remark to be taken seriously, but I guess it is a simple process. They could stop on the way home and mix it so it would look like butter when they got there.
Mr. RIVERS. I shave on my way to the office sometimes. We have many little things which make it convenient now.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the record show that Senator Johnston of South Carolina is here. Do you wish to ask any questions?
Senator JOHNSTON. I do not. I have the figures that you are asking for. I put them in the Congressional Record in my last speech on this, oleomargarine question. I will put them in. I decided I would not burden the committee with testimony because of the fact that this subject has been thoroughly explored over a long period of time. Instead, with your permission, I will offer a statement for the record
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have it. Senator Fulbright has undoubtedly taken note of what you just said and it will facilitate his supplying the material.
Senator JOHNSTON. I am speaking about the question that the Senator from Kentucky talked about, the amount of butter and oleomargarine used in the United States. In my last speech on this subject I put into the record the amount of pounds.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF SENATOR OLIN D. JOHNSTON BEFORE THE SENATE FINANCE COMMIT
TEE OF MAY 17, 1948, ON THE RIVERS BILL, H. R. 2245, A BILL TO REPEAL THE TAXES ON OLEOMARGARINE
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity of making a statement before you in connection with your consideration of the Rivers bill for the repeal of taxes on margarine.
It is unnecessary for me to point out how gratified I was at the reference of this bill to your committee. We actively sought such reference on the floor of the Senate. I further appreciate the publicly announced promise of the distinguished and able chairman to the effect that this bill will be reported.expeditiously to the Senate for final action.
The action taken by the House is especially encouraging to those of us who have long urged the abolition of these discriminatory, unjust, and outmoded antimargarine statutes. Not only does it indicate that a majority of the Members of the House favor a change in the antimargarine laws, but it offers, at long last, an opportunity for the Senate to vote on the matter.
My purpose today is to urge the committee-whatever their personal preference may be on the margarine question—that at the very least the Senate is given an opportunity for a clear-cut discussion and vote on the question of repealing the antimargarine laws.
We have never had, as I have already pointed out, such an opportunity before. I think we are entitled to that opportunity. I think the farmers of this country, in 44 of our 48 States, who grow the ingredients of margarine, are entitled to it. And I believe we owe it to the consumers of this country to let the Senate express itself on this matter. I think the case for margarine tax repeal is overwhelming. I know of no other current issue on which there is so much to be said for one side and so little for the other. I know of no law on our statute books which so unjustly discriminates against one American product in favor of another; against one group of American farmers in favor of another; and against one healthful food essential to the nutrition of many of our low-income people in favor of another healthful food which, because of its price, is now available in quantity only to our high-income groups.
I am especially hopeful that the cause of margarine tax repeal will be made a bipartisan one in this body as it was in the House that the Republican leadership will join with the Democratic leadership in support of repeal. This should never have been a party issue. The farmers who grow the ingredients of margarine are both Republican and Democrat. The growers, as I stated, live both in Republican-dominated States, and in Democratic-dominated States, both in the North and in the South. The grocers who sell it, the consumers who buy it, the housewives who are compelled, in effect, to mix the color into it, are both Republicans and Democrats, and the Federal antimargarine laws discriminate against them all without regard to party affiliation.
I am confident, if the Senate is permitted to discuss the question of margarine-tax repeal without the intrusion of the other issues which have always been present in past efforts to repeal these laws, that the outcome will be decisively in favor of repeal.
The fact that this body, by identical votes of 45 to 33, decided against the Fulbright and Maybank margarine-tax-repeal amendments to the income-tax bill is immaterial. That was not a vote on the merits of margarine-tax repeal alone; it was also a vote on the wisdom of incorporating in an income-tax measure an amendment to repeal excise taxes. I am confident that a number of Senators who opposed the Fulbright and Maybank amendments are in favor of repeal of the Federal antimargarine laws. I believe that this will be abundantly established wben, and if, the Senate is permitted to vote on the question.
I have long championed repeal of these oppressive, undemocratic laws. In March 1947 I introduced a bill (S. 985) for the purpose. The crux of this whole controversy, it seems to me, is the contention of the butter proponents that butter has some unique right to the use of the color yellow and that margarine, if it uses that color, should be required to pay an impost of 10 cents a pound. This extraordinary claim, which has been accepted in our Federal statutes since 1902, is unique. No other food, no other American product has ever before claimed a monopoly on color.
The butter argument runs like this: The natural color of butter is yellow; artificial coloring is added to butter, but only to enhance this so-called natural color, not for the purposes of deception. The natural color of margarine is white, and yellow coloring is added only to make it look like butter and thus to deceive the public. Thus speak the butter champions.
Let us examine this argument carefully. In the first place, if the butter argument is correct, then margarine producers should be prohibited from using yellow at all, since yellow margarine presumably deceives the public. Outright prohibition of yellow margarine, not a 10-cent tax on it would be the logical solution.
But, of course, the butter argument on color is a most flimsy one. Yellow is the natural color of butter only part of the time. Butter's color varies from white to pale yellow to deep yellow. There has even been butter, the famous old Goshen butter of Pennsylvania, which had a reddish hue. Sometimes, depending upon the breed of the cow and its feed, butter is as white as the most thoroughly bleached margarine.
Notice that I said “bleached margarine.” For one of the ironies of our tax on yellow margarine is that the natural yellow color of margarine has to be bleached from it or the product is subject to the 10-cents-per-pound Federal tax.
The reason, of course, that margarine manufacturers want to color their product yellow is the same as the reason that creameries add yellow coloring to butter—to meet consumer preferences.
Butter is the only product which claims a preemptive right to any color. Lard could claim a right to white to the exclusion of the vegetable cooking compounds. Cotton could try to prevent rayon and other synthetic fibers from using the colors which cotton used before its competitors came upon the market.
After all, the essence of competition is imitation in one form or another. If we tax one product because it resembles another and because it is used for the same purposes, we will destroy our competitive system. The butter people say that the tax on yellow margarine is necessary to prevent fraud. Since the pure food and drug laws are considered sufficient to prevent fraud in the case of other food products, it obviously is absurd to say they will not prevent fraud in the case of margarine.
Of course, no law was ever written which could not be violated.
I do not believe that any American industry has a right to the discriminatory protection against another that has been given butter over margarine. But, leaving aside the question whether such discrimination is just or wise, let us