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INJURY TO HEALTH




The activities of the Bureau of Standards in securing expressions from various eminent medical authorities to the effect that levulose and dextrose as found in honey and in invert sugar are not prejudicial to health was a work of supererogation. I can not find in any of the hearings before the committee, or otherwise, that any such question was under consideration. Evidently the purpose of this investigation by the Bureau of Standards into the region of health was to counteract the statements I made before the committee that predigested starch (glucose), in such quantities as was suggested by the Bureau of Standards, was a real threat to health.

I desire to refer to page 135 of the hearings on Interstate and Foreign Commerce on H. R. No. 39.

MR. HOCH: "Are you familiar with the quotations that Mr. Cole makes from medical authorities?"

DR. WILEY: "Certainly, I am. I do not deny the virtue of dextrose as a medicine for any man who cannot digest his own food. It is a valuable remedy; for use in a hospital. I should hate to see dextrose moved out of the hospital, because people in the hospital usually have poor digestive faculties and need blood sugar."

MR. HOCH: "If corn sugar should be used generally throughout the country instead of cane sugar or beet sugar what would be the effect upon the health of the country?."

DR. WILEY: "I have no quarrel for use of dextrose in hospitals, and if you should use dextrose in place of sugar that would be all right as to food but all wrong as to conservation of natural digestion."

I quote here two statements, one from a physiologic chemist and one from a celebrated physician. Dr. Albert P. Mathews, Professor of Physiological Chemistry, University of Cincinnati, under date of Jan. 11, 1927 says:

"As regards the effect of lack of use of our digestive apparatus by eating predigested food, I dare say the point you make is correct. It seems to be the general experience throughout the animal kingdom that the use of an organ increases its efficiency and keeps its health. What you say as to the quantity of this new sugar which would probably be consumed staggers me, but it is true that it can't be told by its appearance from a good grade of granulated sugar, and if it is cheaper I have no doubt it would drive the other out of the market, which would be a great calamity."

The other authority, the eminent physician, is Dr. E. L. Fiske, Director of the Life Extension Institute of New York. Writing under date of Jan. 21, 1927, he says:

"I concur in your views that it is unwise to make any change in the present law requiring that dextrose should be so labeled. While it is quite true that dextrose is just as available a fuel as sucrose, indeed more available because of the fact that the action of digestive enzymes is not required, I feel that the present consumption of sugar is far beyond the physiological needs of the population and tends to narrow the diet. I believe that food sugars should be drawn from natural sugars, such as fruit sugars and sucrose. Statistics would indicate that diabetes is increasing in this country and I can see some point in your caution that the use of a predigested sugar may in itself not be in the interest of public health. In regard to no other food is predigestion looked upon as a physiological advantage, but rather the contrary, except in the emergencies of illness."

These opinions of these two eminent experts would be supported by every competent physiologist and dietitian in the country not under the influence of the Bureau of Standards and the Corn Products, Company. Predigestion of our foods to the extent indicated would tend to undermine and destroy public health.

In regard to the quantity of sugar I quoted to Dr. Mathews the statements before the committee that if this bill (39 H. R.) should pass, permitting dextrose to be used in food. products without notice, as much as two billion pounds would enter into the stomachs of the American public annually. In a book entitled "What Price Progress?" by Hugh Farrel, page 183, reference is made to the work of the Bureau of Standards and of the Corn Products Refining Company, stressing somewhat gingerly the importance of "If."

"Did you ever think about the word "if" as a shock absorber? Probably not. "If" is usually used as a license for loose talk. If I couldn't use "if" in telling you about the probable effects of recent scientific research on the sugar industry, I would keep quiet, I wouldn't say anything. I'm not timid, not to speak of, but I wouldn't like to. assume the responsibility for a bald statement that researches of chemists in the employ of the Bureau of Standards and of the Corn Products Refining Company meant the beginning of the end of the cane and beet sugar industries, I wouldn't like to make that a flat-footed statement even though it might be and probably would be true."

This enthusiastic follower of the Bureau of Standards makes the Bureau's modest estimate of 2,000,000,000 pounds look like the prognosis of a piker, by predicting a possible 40,000,000,000 crop.

It is of interest to know that while the Corn Products Company was perfectly satisfied to leave its case with the Bureau of Standards, it was in deep sympathy with this measure. In the American Food Journal of January 1927, Page 24, is an article entitled "Some Facts About Corn Sugar," by W. R. Cathcart of the Corn Products Refining Company, New York City. In this article Mr. Cathcart says:

Of course the production of dextrose in commercial quantities did not remain hidden under the bushel. Corn sugar soon figured conspicuously in the public press, particularly in papers circulating in the corn growing, states, and dextrose entered the political arena. It was clear that an increased market for corn sugar meant an increased market for corn. The movement for the relief of the corn grower was strong in the corn growing states and several measures were introduced into Congress to meet the situation. Identical bills were introduced by Senator Cummins and Congressman Cole to amend the Pure Food Act so that a product could not be deemed misbranded or adulterated if it contained corn sugar. Hearings before the House Committee developed opposition on the part of the Department of Agriculture and Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, former Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry. It was denied by Dr. Wiley that dextrose is a wholesome product. * * * The Corn Products Company is a strong supporter of the Pure Food Law and has no desire to change from this position. Speaking as the representative of that industry, we intend to work in harmony with the constituted authorities and obey the prescribed regulations. We believe in hard common sense. We will continue to present arguments which we know to be economically and scientifically sound. We are confident that eventually reason and well established facts will overcome fanaticism and misstatement."

The persons who manufacture commercial glucose and commercial dextrose may not engage in adulterating foods therewith, but they do furnish the raw materials which adulterators use. The predecessor of the Corn Products Company manufactured "Flourine" which was used to adulterate wheat flour. To correct this abuse it was necessary for Congress to pass the mixed flour act. This effectually stopped the use of "flourine" in wheat flour. It was the Corn Products Company that secured the change of label for one of its products, namely glucose, to "corn sugar," a clear violation of the food law. The natural sugar of corn, both in the stalk and in the ear, is sucrose and the law forbids calling any other object or product by the same name as one already established. The Bureau of Standards also referred to dextrose as the ideal filler. To a food adulterator the ideal filler is a cheaper substance which he can substitute for a dearer substance. Mr. Cathcart's statement that the Corn Products Company does not desire to misbrand or adulterate any product is hardly borne out by well known facts. Glucose and its near relations have been, are and will continue to be the champion adulterants.







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