By Dr. Royal Lee
Summary: In this revealing booklet, Dr. Royal Lee describes how institutional policies in the USA were designed to protect the processing and refining—and thus the devitalization—of our food supply. He shows how the producers of processed dairy, grain, fruit, and meat induced the Food and Drug Administration as well as the American Medical Association (AMA) to overlook and even endorse their deadly products. In one astonishing case, Dr. Lee presents an ad paid for by the American Institute of Baking and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (under the direction of the journal’s editor, Morris Fishbein) in which the AMA’s Council on Foods assures readers that “White Bread Is Wholesome”—this at a time when many of those readers, doctor members of the AMA, were privately reporting harmful effects of white bread in their patients. “Few people in the United States are aware,” Dr. Lee writes, “of the ‘iron curtain’ maintained in this country to prevent the food consumer from knowing that he is being sold fraudulent foods, foods that have had the better part of their nutritional value removed or destroyed to facilitate the commercial handling of the foods and to enable big food enterprises to unfairly overpower, by price competition, the smaller ones.” For anyone wondering why modern human beings suffer so much chronic disease and ill health in general, this work leaves little doubt where the blame lies. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1949. Multiple original sources.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
How Our Government Subsidizes Malnutrition and Disease[spacer height=”20px”]
The term “iron curtain” in recent years has been applied to the enforced barrier set up by totalitarian governments to prevent outsiders from knowing the conditions inside their own country and to prevent insiders from knowing what is going on outside. Few people in the United States are aware of the iron curtain maintained in this country to prevent the food consumer from knowing that he is being sold fraudulent foods, foods that have had the better part of their nutritional value removed or destroyed in order to facilitate the commercial handling of the foods and to enable big food enterprises to unfairly overpower, by price competition, the smaller ones.
The pasteurization of milk is one example, as well analyzed by Mrs. J.B. Darlington in her article Why Milk Pasteurization.1 The devitalization of cereals is another, whereby all cereal products commonly sold in stores are treated by removing the bran and germ and adding preservative “bleaches” and other poisons to prevent bug infestation so as to result in a product unfit for food, a product unfit to even supply calories without vitamins and minerals, if such a product were to be considered admissible to commerce.
The sulfurization of dried fruits is another case where poisonous preservatives are commonly used to delude the consumer into thinking that he is getting high quality products—by simulation of the color and texture of better fruits through the chemicals used. The use of sulfites in meats to imitate the color of higher quality products is again an example of the addition of poisonous preservatives to fool the consumer without regard to the effect on nutritional values.
How is it possible for such things to take place in this country, where we have a federal pure food law, where the physicians are organized to promote public welfare, and where we have in every community a board of health and a health officer?
The answer is that all these [big] food manufacturers are heavy advertisers, and no news-dispensing agency is able to tell the inside story of food frauds without losing much advertising revenue—so much so that editorial departments are very well censored by the financial management. For why should the community newspaper or any national magazine commit suicide for the privilege of telling an inappreciative reader the truth about how he is being poisoned and swindled?[Similarly] journals of organized medicine are sensitive to the financial repercussions of puncturing the advertising balloons of the [baking and milling] industries that ballyhoo “White Bread is Wholesome” in their pages. In fact, representatives of organized medicine were the first to point out to these interests that unless proper steps were made to set up an iron curtain of advertising propaganda, they would soon be out of business, for an aroused public was beginning to find out for themselves, way back in 1925, that commercial, bleached, white flour is unfit for food. (See Appendix A for a reprint of this solicitation and a reprint of a typical advertisement that was the result of the acceptance of the offer.)2[spacer height=”20px”]
With advertising money controlling the public press—including that of supposedly impartial “scientific” medical journals—the only protection remaining for the consumer is the local and federal food laws and the Federal Trade Commission. Are they too taking orders from the peddlers of fraudulent, health destroying foods? In a case of this kind, it is advisable to permit the record to speak for itself. Yet here is where the “iron curtain” has obliterated much of the record.
Alfred McCann wrote many books about the methods of food racketeers, but today they are hard to find. And the ones on which the copyrights are still in effect are deliberately suppressed by the copyright owners, whoever they are, for offers to buy editions are turned down by the publishers with the statement “the copyright owner will not permit reproduction.” (In Appendix B we offer an excerpt from one of McCann’s books on which the copyright has expired.)
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, the first head of the federal Food and Drug Administration [FDA], was ousted from his job in 1912 apparently by these interests who maintain this iron curtain. He wrote a book entitled A History of a Crime Against the Food Law, but he was unable to find a publisher and finally paid for its publication himself in 1929. Since his death in 1930, his book has been unobtainable, and the owner of the copyright will not permit quotations nor permit reprints of the book. (See Appendix C.)
This book is very illuminating in showing just how Dr. Wiley was continually circumvented in his efforts to stop the sale of: flour containing poisonous bleaches, catsup containing benzoate of soda, canned corn containing saccharine, baking powder containing aluminum salts, dried fruits containing sulfur dioxide, shrimps and oysters containing boric acid or borax, and as many more [adulterated foods] as human ingenuity could devise. It shows how the interests that make money by adulterating food can marshal the power of politically elected and appointed men in high places to thwart justice and maintain its iron curtain.
It shows how President Theodore Roosevelt was induced to appoint a “referee board” to protect manufacturers of adulterated foods from prosecution by Dr. Wiley (the board was later declared to be illegally established) and [how the president] made the board an arbiter of arguments between Wiley and such manufacturers. The head of this board was Dr. Ira Remsen, the discoverer of and recipient of royalties on saccharine. One of the board’s duties was to determine whether or not saccharine should be permitted as an adulterant of foods! Of course it decided that saccharine could be used.
Dr. Wiley, on page 185 of his book, comments that this arrangement destroyed the federal pure food law [i.e., the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906] and put its enforcement entirely in the hands of the enemies of the law. It was the reason for his resignation, for without the power to enforce the law, he could do more outside the Food and Drug Administration to educate the people to avoid poisonous and adulterated foods.
Dr Wiley tells how various employees of the Food and Drug Administration were discharged for trying to do their duty. One was Dr. Floyd Robison, discharged for testifying that benzoate of soda was harmful if used as an adulterant in foods. All employees of the Bureau of Chemistry [precursor of the FDA] were prohibited from appearing as witnesses in litigation in which a state law enforcement agency was prosecuting a food manufacturer for using benzoate of soda under state pure food laws. A U.S. Supreme Court decision was necessary to break this regulation, and in cases brought after that, the adulterators were invariably found guilty. The Remsen Board, of course, was active in testifying that benzoate of soda was perfectly harmless in such cases.
As to the bleaching of flour, Dr. Wiley began a suit that did not reach the U.S. Supreme Court until seven years after his resignation. The Supreme Court supported Dr. Wiley and declared bleached white flour to be unfit for human food, ordering the 625 bags in question destroyed (Notice of Judgment No. 6380). Dr. Wiley, on page 389 of his book, tells how a weasel interpretation of the Supreme Court decision promulgated a year later by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reversed the decision’s intent, and to this day bleached flour is sold without interference in all parts of the United States except where local board of health regulations prohibit its sale. Dr. Wiley commented, “Thus the very law that the Supreme Court has said was enacted chiefly to protect the public health has been turned into a measure to threaten public health and to defraud the purchaser of flour.”
So much for the Food and Drug department.
Today, bleached flour has proven to be poisonous to all species of animals on which it has been tested. It causes in them epileptic seizures (“running fits” in dogs), degenerative changes in their nervous system, paralysis, and death. Why are the flour people so hell-bent on its use? Because without this preservative flour is a perishable product, like fresh milk, and the centralized milling industry would be dissolved without it. Local mills would have to again produce and distribute flour in a small radius and at a higher price. They cannot compete with bleached flour.
As to whole wheat flour, the product distributed by the large milling concerns today is also treated with [the flour bleach] agene but at several times the concentration needed in white flour—because the higher content of vitamins and minerals in whole wheat requires much more agene to keep out the bugs than is needed in white.
The effect of this higher concentration of poisonous agene is shown in the [following] reproduction of an advertisement to bakers promoting milk powder as an ingredient for bread. Here we see that test animals all died on this whole wheat bread, where over half survived under similar test conditions on white bread. (We also see that “enrichment” with synthetic vitamins acts in reverse in bread enriched with milk powder, causing death of more animals than when unenriched white bread is used.)[Text of ad by the The American Dry Milk Institute published in the journal Bakers Digest—see original for image:][spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”]
Surprising New Facts About Bread
Surprising new facts about the food value of different types of bread are revealed in recent studies reported in one of the leading scientific journals.* Six groups of female laboratory animals, each subsisting on one of six types of bread and previously used for growth studies,** were observed on the same diets until they had produced and weaned their third litters. Results of these tests during the more critical nutritive periods of gestation and lactation are dramatically presented in the data showing the number of young weaned in the third litter of each group:
|Percent Weaned of Their Litter|
Nonfat milk bread (6%)
Not only does this confirm earlier proof of the superior value of bread made with 6% nonfat milk solids, but it furnishes significant evidence (a) of the nutritive superiority of white bread over whole wheat bread and (b) that the addition of nonfat dry milk solids to the bread greatly improves its nutritional value, while enrichment does not add appreciably to the practical nutritional value of the loaf.
*Beaty, A., and Fairbanks, B.W., Cereal Chemistry, May, [illegible].
**Riggs, L.K., Beaty, A., J. Dairy Sci. 29:821–829 [illegible].
From the American Dry Milk Institute, Inc., 221 N. La Salle St., Chicago.
Our advertisers are anxious to help you with your problems. Write them and…please mention the Bakers Digest when you do.[Resume main text:][spacer height=”20px”]
Can you conceive of a more revolting crime than poisoning the nation’s food supply at its source?
When a dog is seized with angina pains of the heart, he “goes into a fit.” When the human patient is so afflicted, he calls a doctor, who is totally ignorant of the cause of the condition, and he gets a dose of nitroglycerin! Why is the doctor so ignorant? Because of [Journal of American Medical Association editor] Morris Fishbein’s iron curtain, by which all useful information on vitamins that might hurt the miller’s business is censored before publication? All a natural consequence of full page advertisements in the Journal of the American Medical Association headlining “White Bread Is Wholesome”?
And what happens to a manufacturer of health building foods who tells his customers how they should use his products to avoid disease? Here is a complicated situation. Under federal law he cannot state on his label, “The use of this product will insure the consumer from such-and-such a deficiency disease,” because federal courts have ruled that vitamin deficiencies cannot cause degenerative disease, infectious disease, or functional disease. So if he mentions any disease at all on his label, he will be prosecuted promptly for “false and fraudulent labeling.” That will end his business career in most cases.
How can this be done? Simply because the law states that “labeling must conform to the consensus of medical opinion”; otherwise, it is “false and fraudulent.” The absolute truth may then become false and fraudulent if it is ahead of its time and not believed by a medical expert called as a witness.
Today, this ridiculous principle is being extended by court decisions to include advertising as well as labels, so that advertising literature on honestly made foods cannot describe their superiority in building health over the truly fraudulent, poisoned, pasteurized, and preserved imitations of foods. As Dr. Wiley said, the effect is a reversal of the food and drug law. The makers of health destroying foods are in control of the enforcement officials and are able to head off and put in jail their competitors who may want to tell their customers the truth, show them how it is necessary to beware of foods unfit to eat, and [tell them] how their health can be protected by paying a higher price for better products.(See Appendix B.)
By Dr. Royal Lee, 1949.
1. Darlington, J.B. “Why Milk Pasteurization?” The Rural New Yorker, March 15, 1947.
2. Cramp, A.J. Letter in Baking Technology, p. 15, January 1925. [See Appendix A.][spacer height=”20px”]
We offer below the published statement of Dr. Arthur J. Cramp of the Department of Investigation (and Propaganda) of the American Medical Association, in which he offers the influence of the Journal of the [American Medical] Association to help sell the idea of devitalized food products not only to the public but also to the members of the American Medical Association. (This offer was made to Dr. Barnard of the Baking Institute and reported in Baking Technology, January 1925.)[Correspondence from Dr. Cramp to Dr. Barnard:][spacer height=”20px”]
“I have wondered recently whether you have ever thought of suggesting to the organized bakers of the country that there is very real need for an educational campaign on the part of the modern baker directed, first, toward the medical profession and, second, toward the general public on the subject of white bread.
“As you probably know, the medical profession has a very poor opinion of ordinary white bread and loses no opportunity of deprecating it when dietetic questions are raised. The food faddists and fakers have of course been most virulent against white bread. But it is an unfortunate fact that the medical profession itself has rather taken the attitude that there is a certain degree of soundness in the denunciation against this article of diet and instead of attempting to correct the impression has let it stand.
“I believe the baking industry would do itself a service if it undertook to carry a campaign directed first to the medical profession and later, if necessary, to the public direct on the facts regarding white bread as made today by the more progressive and farsighted members of the baking industry.”
This offer was accepted. Up to that time, the huge baking and milling industry had paid no tribute to the American Medical Association. Dr. Cramp saw a marvelous opportunity to sell both the public and members of the association “down the river” at a fat profit, and the deal went through.
[Text of ad by the American Institute of Baking published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 110, No. 5, 1938—see original for image:][spacer height=”20px”]
White Bread is Wholesome…
Here is an authoritative statement about white bread, a statement that is accepted by the Council on Foods of the American Medical Association:
“White bread is a wholesome, nutritious food. As such, it has its rightful place in the normal diet of the normal individual. Its avoidance for fear of any harmful consequences or the fear that is the cause of any diseased condition when properly fit in the normal diet is entirely without scientific foundation.”
An informative and interesting booklet for physicians describing the proper place of white bread in human nutrition will be sent you on request. All statements in this booklet have been accepted by the American Medical Association Council on Foods.
Department of Nutrition
American Institute of Baking
9 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY
Alfred McCann was a food chemist and government food inspector. The excerpt below, from his book Starving America, is examplary of his work. It was his first book on the subject [of nutrition]. The copyright has expired on this book, so we can reprint these portions. McCann’s later books This Famishing World (1918), The Science of Eating (1919), and The Science of Keeping Young (1926) are still under copyright restrictions. The copyright owner will not permit reproduction or reprinting. Evidently someone is paying more to have the books suppressed than the royalties on book sales would afford. This is an example of how truth about food cheating and racketeering is suppressed.[Begin excerpt:][spacer height=”20px”]
“Three times each day, for 365 days in a year, the housewife in each of the twenty million households in the United States spreads a table with food for the pleasure and nutrition of her family. How many times is that? Answer, you of a mathematical turn of mind! And each one of those billions of times—at least the exceptions are too few to count—the housewife places one article of food on the table, whether in a mansion or a hovel, whether the tables be loaded with luxuries of life or this be well-nigh the only article of food on the board. Is it to be wondered at that we call bread the staff of life?
“But what if the staff on which one leans be broken? What of man’s progress then? Let us look at a few things about our modern bread.
“The flour advertisements in the newspapers and publications tell us peculiar and wonderful things. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to tell us that our flour is washed, brushed, scoured, screened, and sifted through silk so that we get utterly perfect flour!
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to exploit anemia [sic] crackers, biscuits, and cakes, and our devoted, solicitous mothers, believing these advertisements, feed these wonderful units of denatured nutrition to their babes and rear a race of such vigor that it sends, in one year, 235,262 of its little ones under ten years of age to where white bread and chalky biscuits are needed no more!
“Nature never made a white grain of wheat, and man never made a white loaf of bread until about 100 years ago, in the city of London, when an idle epicure conceived the fetching idea of startling his guests with bread as white and lifeless as the aristocratic cloth on which it was served.
“The original grain of wheat contains, in organic form, all of the twelve mineral substances needed by the animal body. Chickens, guinea pigs, or monkeys fed on whole wheat bread will thrive, but chickens, guinea pigs, or monkeys fed an exclusive white bread diet will die.
“How does the white bread get white? White bread gets white because from the ground grain of wheat three-fourths of the minerals—including the phosphorus, iron, lime, chlorine, silica, sulfur, potassium, and magnesium—are removed. These elements are contained in the brown outer skin of the wheat berry, called the bran, and in the ‘shorts,’ ‘middlings,’ and ‘tailings,’ which are sifted and bolted out of the ground meal, leaving principally the white, starchy part of the interior part of the berry.
“Nature, in her divine effort to teach us, through thousands of years of agricultural experience, that we cannot interfere with the laws of life, has failed to teach us the priceless value of these subtle substances, which she goes through so many diverse ways to assemble for our needs.
“Not alone are the minerals removed, but one of the wheat’s ferments—in the inner cortical part of the wheat, discovered by M. Mege Mouries—is rejected in the fine white flour. Its function when introduced into the body is not fully known, but since it is one of the things that we thoughtlessly destroy, we mention it here.
“Those who make our flour and our bread for us think they can ‘prove’ that they are conferring a great blessing upon humanity in giving us the refined white product with which those slaughtered innocents were so familiar, and when we raise a cry of protest against their ‘proofs,’ they laugh and show us the signatures of chemists. What chemist’s signature will open up those little graves and deliver back to the fond and empty arms of grieving parents the million children that have died in this country during the past four years?
“The millers admit that they do not give the people white flour or white bread through their own choice, but because the people think they want white flour and white bread, they are obliged to pander to them.
“If we take an animal membrane, a bladder, and fill it with a solution of any mineral and hang it up, there will be no leakage through the skin. Not a drop will appear on the outside of the bladder. We can let the solution remain in the bladder for days, and it will guard its contents as safely as a glass bottle.
“If we now take the filled bladder and immerse it in another solution of different density or of different kind, the contents of the bladder will immediately begin to pass out through the walls of the bladder into the solution on the outside of the bladder, while the solution on the outside will pass through the bladder membrane into the inside, so that eventually we will find the solution on the outside and the solution on the inside exactly the same in character. The dissimilar liquids are now thoroughly diffused. This is called osmosis. It might also be called life.
“Osmosis is going on in the body all the time. We recreate the mineral constituency of the blood every time we eat, and thereby we keep changing the character of the fluid on the outside of the cells in order to keep it different from the fluid inside, so that osmosis during life never ceases. In fevers—accompanied by extreme exhaustion as the result of inability to consume food—or in cases of starvation, the fluids inside the cells and outside the cells gradually become identical in quality, so that osmosis becomes very feeble and almost ceases. When it ceases altogether, death arrives.
“The minerals that nature put into our wheat and that we so deliberately remove are lost to us forever, and the vitalizing missions that they would have naturally and beneficently performed are never performed at all. Hundreds of tons of these ‘useless’ by-products are annually removed and devoted to purposes for which they were never intended. More of this later.
“This debauching has been going on now for a century, and yet we stand in stupid bewilderment before the advancing scourge of tuberculosis. We cannot seem to understand that we are deliberately reducing our national vitality by every ounce of organic mineral salts that we take out of our food and destroy.
“As to the bran sifted out of the flour, some millers say that the silica that the wheat berry contains is practically ‘ground glass,’ and they caution us against feeding ground glass to our tender babes. They should also say that because wheat contains iron, it contains horseshoes; that because it contains lime, it contains bone dust or whitewash; that because it contains magnesium, it contains face powder; that because it contains phosphorus, it contains match heads; that because it contains fluorine, it contains the enamel of human teeth and the whites of human eyeballs; that because it contains chlorine, it contains bleaching compound; that because it contains sulfur, it contains the flames of Hades.
“There are many prejudices to overcome in restoring whole wheat products and whole wheat bread—with all their wealth of vitality—to the people. The ground-glass idea will probably meet with the sympathy of many doomed souls who are reluctant to give up their sickly loaf. Some of the millers say that this ‘ground glass’ contained in the bran of the wheat is an irritant and that therefore people not in normal health cannot use it without injury.
“Some ‘science’ notes fell into our hands in the month of December 1911 stating that an ‘English commission’—but not mentioning what kind of an English commission—has been looking into the subject of bread, and it finds the presence of bran in the use of whole wheat to be advantageous in special cases but that in general bran is an undesirable element in bread because it is itself indigestible and interferes with the digestion of other nutritious factors in the food.
“Of course, it is indigestible in the sense that in its course through the body it is not taken up by the body and transformed into tissue. We do not digest pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, or any other spices. Ground spices, like ground bran, contain much indigestible fiber, but this fiber contains valuable properties, the influence of which on the digestive processes is well known. The miller, who through his solicitude for our welfare would not permit us to eat whole wheat, says nothing about our consumption of pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.
“We all know that the seeds of strawberries, raspberries, figs, and grapes are indigestible, yet no being discards the seeds out of strawberries, raspberries, or figs before eating these luscious offerings of Mother Nature.
“The millers, in their consternation at the thought of our eating the bran of the wheat, fail to warn us against eating corn on the cob. Every time we eat a ‘roasting ear,’ we eat the ‘bran’ of the corn, and every time we eat beans or peas, we eat the ‘bran’ of the bean and the ‘bran’ of the pea. And it is well that we eat these things, because while they are not digested in themselves, they surrender to the body the invaluable mineral salts that they contain. Accordingly, while it may appear to the dullard that they have no place in the diet of man, they contribute wonderfully to the life-giving properties of his food.
“Just as chopped meat surrenders its mineral salts to the water in which it is immersed—through the processes of osmosis that we have described—so also does the bran of the wheat surrender its minerals to the body in the same way. But the bran not only furnishes indispensable mineral salts to the body, its chief virtue is as a regulator of the peristaltic action of the alimentary tract, by which the tract’s contents are kept moving onward.
“One of the curses that white bread—or ‘robbed’ bread—has inflicted on the people is constipation. A thousand ills are traceable to this disorder. Read the patent medicine ads to get an idea of how many thousands of people require ‘pills.’ Inhibited peristalsis is the malevolent origin of the woes of so many American women who are afflicted with uterine and ovarian diseases.
“Bread made of the whole wheat, just as it comes from nature, together with the other reforms for which these pages cry out, will save our daughters and our daughters’ children from the evils that food follies have imposed upon them.
“In Dr. Albert Westlake’s new edition of his book Babies’ Teeth to the Twelfth Year, he says: ‘Babies’ teeth should receive consideration at least six months before the child is born. Necessary elements in their building up are furnished at this period by the mother’s blood—hence the need of the purity of the latter. Teeth require more organic phosphate (particularly phosphate of calcium and carbonates of lime) than other parts of the body; therefore ‘bone foods’ are necessary for the mother (cow’s milk; eggs, especially yolks; peas; beans; lentils; outer grains of whole wheat; etc.) Dietetic treatment for the mother is very important at this period, while bone is forming.
“The intestines of the child are also undergoing vital changes at this period and earlier. This includes the primary fixation of the child’s intestine in the left hypochondriac region. It is therefore vital to the offspring to [benefit from] perfect peristalsis of the mother’s intestines. [Her] elimination and evacuation should be regular without drugs. For this reason alone, the mother should not be robbed of the potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sulfur, silica, and chlorine that honest wheat affords. The millers will never know how many babies they have handicapped by their disregard of the laws of nature or by their assumption that they know more than nature may teach.
“No chemist can tell us, in terms of grams, anything about the exact quantity of phosphorus, iron, potassium, lime, silica, or chlorine that we should take into our bodies every day. Nature has fixed that mysterious and hidden thing for us. Confounded in our wisdom, we turn our backs and seek a new way through the dark.
“The chemist admits he can never tell us that. Three chemists at Columbia University devoted months to a study of three of these minerals, determining nothing as to the quantity of them required but everything as to their necessity.
“The millers and bread makers do not know the trail of wreckage that they have left in the wake of their mineral contempt. They do not know how they have burrowed into the vitality of human life while it is still in the mother’s womb. They do not know to what extent they have been responsible for tuberculosis, diphtheria, pneumonia, scrofula, measles, scarlatina, anemia, etc.
“If we could stop at this point and launch in the same manner our indictment against barley, rice, oats, corn, many prepared cereals, and many breakfast foods—all of them, with a few lonely exceptions, being robbed as wheat is robbed—we would achieve our goal of putting you on guard against the food crimes of the nation and show you how to prevent those crimes, but we would go no faster than we are going now. Read carefully, and you will learn.
“The crime of denaturing our food begins with wheat, and we will stick to wheat and ‘wheat products’ until we have made it clear that we are to continue our journey downward into an abyss of national degeneracy if we do not stop and make such soundings as will tell us where we are.
“Normally, healthy lungs give an acid reaction with litmus paper. This acid has been found to be phosphoric acid. It is present in the lecithin of the lung tissues. In tuberculosis the lungs give a neutral or alkaline reaction with litmus paper, due to the absence of phosphoric acid. In all cases of tuberculosis of the lungs, a deposit of lime is found. Sometimes this deposit is very slight, but as the disease makes headway, the deposit becomes so great that the anatomist has to deal with what is called ‘the chalky lung.’ It would be impossible for this lime to be deposited in the lung tissues if the phosphoric acid of the lecithin in those tissues was normal.
“Chemistry, so far, has not established a final analysis of lecithin. Lecithin is a phosphoric compound of the body. Nuclein, however, which is another phosphoric compound of the same importance, is found to vary, depending on the health of the individual, between 2.5 percent and 9.5 percent in its phosphorus content.
“The blood of a human being, containing as little as 2.5 percent of phosphorus in its nuclein substance, shows a quantity just as deficient in the lecithin of the lung. On the contrary, where the blood of a vigorous body shows the maximum of 9.5 percent of phosphorus in its total mineral content, the lungs show an equally high percentage of this mysterious element, and it is always found in the form of phosphoric acid.
“As you decrease the phosphoric acid in the lungs, you increase the lime deposit. As you increase the lime deposit, you prepare an alkaline field where the germ of tuberculosis may take root and grow. As you phosphorize the blood, you render it capable of supporting the nutrition of the lung tissues, and as the lung is kept in health, it is protected against the invasion of tuberculosis.
“We cannot go into a theater, a church, a crowded street car or walk along the dusty city street without inhaling the living microorganisms that cause tuberculosis. But if our lungs contain their normal quantity of phosphoric acid, we need have no fear, because the germs are destroyed as fast as they enter our bodies. If this were not so, everybody would be stricken at the same time with tuberculosis, and nobody would resist the disease. It is the same with typhoid fever. In cases of typhoid epidemic, there are some who do not get the disease. They do not get it because their vitality is so normal that it resists the diseases.
“The absence of a proper supply of phosphorus in the blood is due to an insufficient supply of phosphorus in the substances taken as food. Let it be remembered that from the hundreds of thousands of bushels of wheat ‘milled’ every year in the United States; from the hundreds of thousands of bags of rice ‘polished’ every year in the United States; from the tons and tons of barley ‘pearled’ every year in the United States; from the enormous quantity of oats soaked, scoured, bleached, and ‘prepared’ every year in the United States; from the thousands of barrels of corn ground every year in the United States, the phosphorus is removed.
“We have seen what takes place when we remove phosphorus from the soil, and we are now beholding the tragedy that is being enacted under our eyes as we remove phosphorus from our bread and from our bodies. More than half of the insane are consumptives. A peculiar fact has been noted in connection with the bones of the insane. They are very brittle and easily broken. This brittleness is due to phosphorus starvation. Where calcium phosphate is present in normal quantity, the bone is tough and resilient.
“Remember, three-fourths of these [mineral] substances are removed from our daily bread.
“Special Agent Harry P. Cassidy of the Pennsylvania State Dairy and Food Department, in the month of August 1910, began action against a wholesale confectioner of Philadelphia, charging him with selling candy containing sulfur dioxide or sulfurous acid. Samples of the wholesaler’s candy relishes and other penny specialties had been analyzed by Professor Charles H. LaWall, chemist for the State Dairy and Food Commission, and were found to contain sulfurous acid. (It must be remembered that all New Orleans molasses contains sulfurous acid, and it is impossible to make candy free of sulfurous acid from such molasses.)
“The ease against the wholesaler had hardly gotten started when the National Candy Manufacturers Association, represented in almost every large city throughout the United States, obtained a temporary injunction in the United States district court restraining Cassidy from going ahead with the prosecution. After two months the court, refusing a permanent injunction, dissolved its prior order.
“Cassidy then brought the candy manufacturer to trial in common pleas court, where the jury brought in a verdict of guilty. Judge Martin then upset the verdict, and the case was started on its way to the higher courts. Cassidy was being hampered in every way by legal technicalities and delays in establishing the right of the state of Pennsylvania to prohibit the sale of poisoned candy, but he did not falter.
“Finally, Judge Henderson of the superior court, declaring that ‘no one has a natural or a constitutional right to put poison in confectionery or other foods,’ imposed a sentence of guilty, which was immediately appealed.
“The case was then taken to the [Pennsylvania] Supreme Court, and in a decision rendered in April 1912, after almost two years of [Cassidy’s] fighting against the spirit of darkness, the highest court in the state of Pennsylvania upheld the opinion of the superior court, striking a blow at Pennsylvania candy manufacturers who use sulfurous acid or any other poison in their products.
“Unscrupulous candy manufacturers in the state of Pennsylvania cannot now take refuge behind the contention that a law that safeguards the health of the public is unconstitutional when it trespasses against property rights or interferes with business.
“Something happens every day to make people realize the gravity of the odds under which they live, but they continue to go along as before, unmindful of the evil things around them that by their united and intelligent action they can destroy.
“But in the meantime, charges were brought against Cassidy, and he was dismissed from the service of the state. The governor of Pennsylvania was brought into the case, gave Cassidy the hearing demanded, and was forced to vindicate him—just as Dr. Wiley was vindicated—yet Cassidy was not restored to office.
“Both Wiley and Cassidy are ‘out,’ and now, in Pennsylvania, having learned the lesson, no official will dare go after the big cases. Look for loose enforcement of the law in Pennsylvania.
“On October 2, 1911, Doctor J.C. Olsen, Professor of Chemistry of the Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn, said at Madison Square Garden, New York City, that he had introduced sulfurous acid into the food of dogs and watched the dogs closely for six months. At first they actually appeared to fatten on it, and it was thought that all the cry against sulfurous acid would be proved to be without foundation.
“Then the animals were chloroformed and cut open. Apparently all their organs were sound and healthy, and as far as the naked eye was concerned, sulfurous acid had not harmed them. Before a jury with only such surface evidence, sulfurous acid would be whitewashed, and the experiments on dogs would be considered conclusive. But Dr Olsen was thorough. He placed the dogs’ kidneys under the microscope. In every instance the results were the same. The lens revealed the degeneration of the kidney cells. They had broken down. Sulfurous acid was found to be deadly to the kidneys of dogs.
“Scientists do not yet know to what extent sulfurous acid combines with the organic minerals of the fruits that it becomes artificially a part of or how it changes the nature of the mineral salts. Yet, they find that it produces injurious effects on the human organs.
“Dr. Wiley, after his clinical experiments in the Bureau of Chemistry, denounced the use of sulfurous acid as an ingredient of foods and proved by medical and pathological data that it produces serious injury to digestion and health. His findings were reported in Circular No. 37 of the Department of Agriculture, issued November 22, 1901. That circular stated plainly:
“‘The administration of sulfurous acid in the food produces serious disturbances of the metabolic functions. It adds an immense burden to the kidneys, which cannot result in anything but injury. It impoverishes the blood in respect to the number of red and white corpuscles therein, and the administration of a substance that diminishes these important component particles of the blood is in every sense highly prejudicial to health.’
“The fruit growers of California demand its use. Under its action dried fruit takes up as much as 12 to 15 percent of moisture, and this moisture is sold to the fruit packers at fruit prices. The fruit packers then redip the fruit in a solution of hot glucose and water, thereby adding more weight, or filler, to their products. This necessitates another treatment with sulfurous acid in order to make the fruit marketable. So, the people pay for moisture when they buy fruit! And glucose as a filler finds its way into a hundred foods.
“This is why there is opposition between the national health, on one hand, and the fruit, molasses, and wine interests on the other—and hence government reluctance to decide between them.
“It is possible to obtain unbleached molasses. The molasses known as ‘Barbados’ molasses is free from sulfurous acid.
“It is possible to obtain sun-dried fruits. Demand them. Your demand will accomplish quickly what the law for five years has not accomplished.”
Below is a copy of a telegram received from Anna Keeton Wiley regarding the reprinting of [her husband] Dr. Harvey W. Wiley’s book History of a Crime Against the Food Law:
November 16, 1948
Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research
2023 West Wisconsin Avenue
Gentlemen: Your telegram received. On mature consideration I have decided that it would be unwise to reprint History of a Crime Against the Food Law at this time or under the present circumstances. I have complete faith in the integrity of the officials of the Food and Drug Administration. Sincerely, Anna Weeton Wiley
It appears that the national copyright law is here being used to keep the lid on a corrupt state of affairs that may well be causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people a year. Whenever you read of a sudden death from heart disease, you can depend that it was made worse—if not primarily caused—by the destruction of wheat vitamins by agene, the poisonous bleach so necessary to the preservation of flour from insects. Without Mrs. Wiley’s able aid and assistance in keeping Dr. Wiley’s book out of the public eyes, such criminal and wholesale poisoning could not occur.
We wonder if Mrs. Wiley is getting properly compensated for “keeping her finger in the dike”….Or is she actually so simple-minded as to think the people have no right to hear both sides of a question, particularly where there is a more than strong suspicion of criminal corruption?
The Fight on Dr. Wiley and the Pure Food Law
Editorial from The World’s Work, September 1911[spacer height=”20px”]
There is no better illustration of the difficulty of really effective government than the obstructions that have been put in the way of Dr. Wiley, the head of the Bureau of Chemistry at Washington. So long as the Pure Food and Drug Act ran foul of only small violators, it was easy to enforce it, but as soon as it hit the vested interests of the rich and strong, the most amazing series of successful obstructions were put in the way—so amazing and so successful that the story will be told with some fullness in the succeeding numbers of this magazine.
Here is a man—Dr. Harvey W. Wiley—who has given his whole working life to the protection of the people from bad and poisonous food and drugs. There is no more unselfish or devoted public servant. He has time and again declined offers of lucrative and honorable private work. He has lived and labored for this one purpose.
It is to him that we owe the [Pure Food and Drug] law and the agitation for its enforcement. It is to him that we owe the education of the public that has brought state laws and municipal ordinances for pure food and drugs. It is to him that we owe such an important advance in more careful living and such a quickening of the public conscience as we owe to hardly any other living man; and the whole people are his debtors. He is the direct cause of a wider and safer public knowledge and of more healthful habits of life.
Still the Pure Food and Drug Act has not yet been enforced against the great offenders. Dr. Wiley has had his hands tied from the time of its enactment. The [Pure Food and Drug] Board, whose duty it is to report violations of the law, consists of Dr. Wiley, Dr. Dunlap, a chemist, and Mr. McCabe, the solicitor of the Department of Agriculture. But out of the thousands of cases of adulteration and fraud that have been discovered, practically no cases against the strongest corporations and groups of lawbreakers have been brought to trial.
Dr. Wiley is a man of scientific distinction, of accuracy, and of responsibility. Yet his two associates on this board—men, to say the most for them, of far less ability and less distinction—have been permitted to check almost every move that he has made. The aged Secretary of Agriculture has given his confidence and his support to them and withdrawn it from Dr. Wiley.
More than this, the [U.S.] Attorney General, reversing an opinion prepared by one of his own subordinates and accepting an opinion by Mr. McCabe, declared that the referee board of distinguished chemists (the Remsen Board) was authorized by the [pure food] law—a very dangerous and very doubtful construction of a plain statute—and this board has been used to prevent the enforcement of the law against the use of benzoate of soda.
Now, this Remsen Board has never declared that benzoate of soda is a permissible preservative. It has never been asked whether benzoate can be or is extensively used to preserve rotten food. It was asked only whether it proved injurious to the health of strong young men when taken for a time in small quantities. They found that it did these young men no appreciable harm. Then this declaration was used to permit the canners and packers of rotten fruits and vegetables to continue to put them up in benzoate of soda. Even if benzoate of soda does no harm to health, its use in disguising rotten food brings it within the proper prohibition of the law.
This incident is a good illustration of the way in which Dr. Wiley has been balked and hindered. Influences, legitimate and illegitimate, have been used to prevent the enforcement of the law in its most important applications.
Inside the government and outside, the manufacturers of dangerous and unwholesome food and drugs have carried on a continuous and effective campaign against Dr. Wiley and his work. He has been practically without power to put the law into effect against strong offenders. He has been humiliated by being overruled by his subordinates. He has suffered from an inefficient administration of the department of which his bureau is a part—for the venerable Secretary of Agriculture is too old to vigorously administer his great department. Yet Dr. Wiley, purely for patriotic reasons, has suffered this hindrance and humiliation until some change might come that should unshackle him.
On the outside the bad food and drug interests—or some of them—have maintained a lobby in Washington and have kept “syndicate” newspaper writers in their pay to write about the unfairness and the injustice of the law and the unreasonableness and “crankiness” of Dr. Wiley. One such organization—or pretended organization—some time ago sent a threatening letter to all of the most important periodicals saying that large advertisers would withdraw their patronage if they published articles favorable to the law!
There has been an organized fight, therefore, against the law and the man. And although the man’s official power has been curtailed, he has won—won such a victory for the people as will ensure the continuance, with new vigor, of the campaign for pure food and drugs by national law and by local laws.
The “charge” against Dr. Wiley that provoked this popular outburst of approval is not worth explaining. He made an arrangement to pay Dr. Rusby, a distinguished specialist, a higher rate for work per day than the law specified for per diem payments but less than the law permitted as a yearly salary. By this arrangement the services of Dr. Rusby to the government were secured for less than if the letter of the law had been followed and he had been paid the yearly salary that the law specified—since he gave and was to give only a small part of his time to the work. This technical violation of the letter of the law—if it were a violation of its real meaning—has long been customary in many departments of the government, for it has common sense and economy to commend it.
When the Attorney General wrote that this offense deserved “condign punishment”—the Attorney General, what shall be said of him with respect?—surely it was a narrow and silly recommendation. He put a greater value on a microscopic legal technicality than on the incalculable service of a man whose work is worth more to the health and happiness of the people than the work of many residents and attorneys general. Dr. Wiley’s “offense” was instantly forgotten by the public, which has some common sense if not much legal knowledge. But the accusation was important for this reason: it showed the determination of those who brought it to get rid of him.
Now, if Dr. Wiley deserves dismissal for any sufficient reason, it is proper and it is the duty of somebody to present such a reason. But to propose “condign punishment” for saving the public money by following a common custom of paying for professional service—that shows a personal and private purpose to be rid of him.
The upshot of it all is that Dr. Wiley has been made a sort of popular hero. Now, popular heroism has decided disadvantages and even dangers. It is fair to Dr. Wiley to say that he has not sought such a place on the stage. He has his vanities (who hasn’t?), and the popular appreciation of his work is, of course, welcomed by him, as it ought to be. But mere personal popularity and a personal “fight” are likely to obscure the main matter at stake.
The main matter is the Pure Food and Drug Act—not only, nor mainly, Dr. Wiley and his personal vindication but the firm and permanent establishment of this fact and purpose: that no opposition of interested lawbreakers, no personal jealousies, no departmental feuds, no infirm and feeble administration of any department, and no narrow legal technicalities shall longer hinder the execution of the law that guards the health of the people. This is of far greater importance than anybody’s tenure of office or anybody’s official “face” or dignity.
It has been made plain that the administration of the Agricultural Department [USDA] is feeble. Feuds and cliques are not permitted to obstruct the laws in well-administered institutions. And it has again been made plain by the Attorney General that this is a “legal” administration—and again that the President’s amiable qualities lead him to patch up and smooth over troubles that become worse with every patching and smoothing and can then be removed only after public discussion and possible scandal.
The incident ought and seems likely to bring big results in rallying public opinion to the support of the law and of its author and zealous and useful guardian. The investigation by the congressional committee that has the subject in hand will bring out facts that are likely to make the law far stronger than it has ever been.
Author unknown. This article and all preceding content published as single publication, Special Bulletin 1-49, by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1949.
Special Bulletin 1-49
Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research
Milwaukee 3, Wisconsin