Applied Trophology, Vol. 8, No. 6
(June 1964)

Contents in this issue: “Factor in Whole Grain Prevents Decay,” “Soft Drinks Are Causing Cirrhosis of Liver,” “Comments on Saccharin,” “Cranberry Juice as Aid to Health.” The following is a transcription of the June 1964 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories. Factor in Whole Grain Prevents Decay […]

Enforcement of the Food Law

By Harvey W. Wiley, MD

Summary: In 1906 the U.S. government passed the Pure Food and Drugs Act, the first federal law aimed specifically at ensuring the purity of America’s food supply. It wasn’t long before the industrial food industry—with the help of its connections in the federal government—found its way around the legislation. In this letter to President Calvin Coolidge, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, the chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) charged with enforcing the act, calls the U.S. government to task for turning a blind eye to various cases that appeared to squarely violate the law. Dr. Wiley’s protestation (an expanded version of which appeared as “Dr. Wiley to the President” in the September 1925 issue of Good Housekeeping) caused such a stir that it prompted a reply to the president by the acting secretary of the USDA. Together, these two letters show precisely how food manufacturers and federal courts colluded to thwart the intent of America’s food purity law, allowing additives of unproven safety to become forever part of the nation’s food supply. 1925. 

Dr. Harvey W. Wiley on Chemicals in Food

By Harvey W. Wiley, MD, and Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: An illuminating peek at the early, fateful politics of food adulteration in the United States. From 1906 to 1912, Dr. Harvey Wiley was the head of the Bureau of Chemistry within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Bureau, which would later become the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was assigned the task of enforcing the country’s first federal food purity law, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. However, as Dr. Wiley explains in the following excerpt from his 1930 autobiography, his agency’s authority was quickly and illegally usurped by higher-ranking officials within the USDA under the influence of industrial food manufacturers. In one famous case, the solicitor of the USDA forbade Dr. Wiley and other workers of the Bureau from testifying in a federal case in which their testimony would have supported a ban of the food additive sodium benzoate, a compound Dr. Wiley and his colleagues had determined to be injurious to health. Sadly, this poisonous compound remains one of the most common food preservatives used by industrial food manufacturers. Includes an introduction by Dr. Royal Lee. From Harvey W. Wiley—An Autobiography, 1930. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research special reprint No. 1-60.

The History of a Crime Against the Food Law

By Harvey W. Wiley, MD

Summary: Dr. Harvey Wiley was the “father” of the famous Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906—the first law passed by the U.S. government to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply—and he was also the first head of the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry, the federal agency charged with enforcing the law (an agency that would later become the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). In this book, which Dr. Wiley courageously published himself in 1929 and was later republished by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Dr. Wiley sets the historical record straight as to how the industrial food industry corrupted the nation’s laws and politicians in order to sell cheap, refined, adulterated, devitalized “foods.” The industry’s usurpation of federal laws and regulations regarding whole foods is an example of American politics at its worst. Originally published by H.W. Wiley, 1929; republished by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1955.

View PDF: The History of a Crime Against the Food Law

Dr. Wiley’s Question Box: Starches and Sugar Are the Principal Sources of Body Fat

By Harvey W. Wiley, MD

Summary: In 1912 Dr. Harvey Wiley left his post as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Chemistry (the forerunner of the federal Food and Drug Administration) because of the collusion he witnessed between food manufacturers and agents within the federal government. Unable to effectively enforce the country’s first food purity law (passed in 1906), he left the government and joined the private Good Housekeeping Institute in Washington, D.C. There Dr. Wiley helped develop the famous Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval while also writing for the institute’s magazine. In “Dr. Wiley’s Question Box,” he would answer specific questions from readers about food safety and nutrition. In the excerpt here, Dr. Wiley explains a fact that metabologists have known for nearly a century but which conventional nutritionists and doctors have failed to comprehend from then until now: the principal source of fat stored in the body is not dietary fat but sugars and starches (i.e., carbohydrates). While nutrition schools today continue to teach the erroneous notion that glucose from carbohydrates is “the preferred fuel of the body,” Dr. Wiley points out what people who study metabolism for a living all know: up to 80 percent of the carbohydrates a person eats are converted to fat by the liver and stored in the body’s fat tissue. Fat tissue, in turn, releases fatty acids, which form the majority of fuel calories used by the body’s cells. Dr. Wiley also addresses other queries from readers, including the age-old question of whether overeating “acid-producing” foods is harmful and whether eating sand is good for the digestive system. From Good Housekeeping, 1926.

No Pure-Food Action Now

By Harvey W. Wiley, MD

Summary: In 1906 the United States Congress passed the country’s first federal “truth in labeling” law, the Pure Food and Drug Act. Among the provisions of the landmark legislation was the prohibition of any food preservative or other additive that could be injurious to consumers. Charged with determining the safety of those food additives was the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry, a division within the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would later become the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The head of the bureau, Dr. Harvey Wiley, adopted a “better safe than sorry” policy, banning any additive that showed a possibility of causing harm. Dr. Wiley’s approach immediately earned him enemies within the food manufacturing industry, which used its influence in the government to circumvent the bureau’s rulings and eventually oust its chief. In 1925 Dr. Wiley struck back, publishing a letter to President Calvin Coolidge in which he admonished the government for its complicity in bypassing the food law and allowing potentially dangerous additives into America’s food supply. After the president demanded an explanation from the USDA, Dr. Wiley wrote the following letter expressing his profound disappointment in the department’s position, which opened the floodgates to a stream of questionable substances in America’s foods that continues to flow to this day. Following Dr. Wiley’s letter are several advertisements for popular foods of the time, showing just how early industrial food processors had infiltrated the nation’s food supply. From Good Housekeeping, 1926.

May We Know Our Food

Summary: In 1907 Dr. Harvey Wiley was the most famous food activist in the United States, having helped prod Congress to pass the first federal food purity law in American history, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Dr. Wiley also happened to be the head of the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry, the forerunner of today’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and was charged with enforcing the landmark consumer-protection legislation. In this article from the The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, published six months after the law took effect, Dr. Wiley discusses “two ideas kept always in view in all the sections of the act,” that is, the misbranding of foods and the addition of potentially dangerous additives and preservatives to food products. Little did Dr. Wiley know when he wrote this article that his insistence on enforcing these provisions would lead to his dismissal only a few years later, as industrial food manufacturers and their allies within the government succeeded in not only ousting Dr. Wiley from his post but turning the very law intended to protect the country’s foods into a rubber stamp for introducing insufficiently tested chemicals into America’s diet—a mind-boggling political end run that persists to this day. For more on Dr. Wiley and the corruption of the Pure Food and Drug Act, see “Enforcement of the Food Law” and The History of a Crime Against the Food Law in these archives. From The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, 1907.