sicBy Dr. Royal Lee, Herbert C. White, and Arnold P. Yerkes
Summary: The Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprinted these three articles by leading natural-health authorities of the time to counter the “America is the best fed nation on earth” propaganda coming from government agencies and the commercial food industries. From soil destruction and depletion to food processing and synthetic vitamins, the three authors cogently expose the frauds, lies, and myths perpetrated by the “death-food industry,” so described by Royal Lee. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research special bulletin 1-52, 1952. Multiple original sources.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
Three Opinions of the “Death Food” Propaganda[spacer height=”20px”][First of three articles:][spacer height=”20px”]
1. Facts Too Ghastly to Believe
By Royal Lee, DDS
Most of the American people are Christian, honest, well-meaning, generous, and kindly. They assume that their [elected] associates—their political rulers—are also of a Christian, well-meaning, and honest character. I say political rulers for the reason that today the American government is a despotism that is controlled by hidden influences, constantly destroying more and more of the rights of the individual and taxing him more and more for the purpose of using his money to bribe others to vote for the despots.
What are these hidden influences? One is apparently the “death-food industry”—that vast assemblage of makers of counterfeit and debauched adulterated remnants of honest foodstuffs who have been permitted merely to destroy human life by taking over the very federal government itself and, as the first head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, said, are now in the saddle for the purpose of reversing the effect of the federal law, using it to protect the violators instead of protecting the public. (See Dr. Wiley’s book of 1930, The History of a Crime Against the Pure Food Law.)
Their horrible effrontery in promoting death-dealing foods is characterized by the article by Arthur D. Morse in the December 1951 issue of the Woman’s Home Companion and by another similar criminally ignorant presentation in the December American Magazine, by Charles W. Crawford of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
I say criminally ignorant because the deliberate misrepresentations set forth there cannot possibly be an exhibition of a failure to know the truth. They can only be a deliberate state of refusal to see the facts—true ignorance. To ignore is to look the other way. That requires volition—criminal intent, as I see it.
Here are a few statements that represent what I mean.
From Mr. Crawford:
- “Americans today are the best fed [people] in history.”
- “Reputable food processors are turning out the most nourishing and wholesome food supply we have ever had.”
- “Diseases brought about by vitamin and mineral deficiency are…extremely rare in the United States.”
- “Most people, in fact, do eat an adequate diet.”
From Arthur D. Morse:
- “Wheat germ…it isn’t necessary…It’s rich in many of the B vitamins, but a normal diet will include sufficient [amounts] of these vitamins, particularly in whole-wheat or enriched white bread.”
- “I do not know of any evidence to support the idea that whole wheat products are superior nutritionally in man as compared with enriched flours.”
- “…the five health foods (blackstrap molasses, yogurt, wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, skim-milk powder) are harmless. But they can lure the user into a deadly trap (of self medication).”
Now, Americans are not the best fed in history [if you] ask the National Research Council of Washington, the body set up by the U.S. government to get such facts. Here is one summary, from their Bulletin 109, 1943:
“All the evidence from numerous surveys over the past ten years to the present, among persons of all ages in many localities, is without exception in complete agreement that inadequate diets are widespread in the nation.”
In another report on the state of nutrition of industrial workers, publication number 123 of the Reprint & Circular Series of the National Research Council, 1945, this conclusion was stated: “All dietary studies indicate that a large portion of the industrial population is obtaining an unsatisfactory diet.”
Of course, any ten-year-old child knows these obvious facts. Almost every child has tooth decay, alone proving his degree of inability to get honest food.
The only reason these self-appointed mouthpieces of adulterated food industries can so frightfully misrepresent is because they have the complete cooperation of organized medicine and all their controlled “scientific” journals to help bamboozle both the doctors and the lay victims of their well-planned sales campaigns of adulterated, counterfeit, refined, demineralized, devitalized rubbish that they have the brazen effrontery to palm off as “food.”
Just consider one item: white “enriched” bread, which Adelle Davis so richly described when she said, “Enriched—yes, enriched like you are enriched when a highway robber takes your money at the point of a gun and then returns to you a dime to buy streetcar fare home.”
Agnes Fay Morgan, the veteran food research scientist of the University of California, once tested the “enriching” vitamins for nutritional value; she found that her test animals on the enriched diet dropped dead long before the ones on the unenriched control diet became disabled. They became “sedate and senile” in a hurry on the counterfeit enrichment. You get “sedate and senile” too if you develop the heart pains upon exertion that so commonly follow the use of too much synthetic vitamin B. Dr. Morgan warned that such phony enrichment might “precipitate conditions worse than (the original) deficiency” (Science, 93, 261–262, 1941).
In spite of such findings, and totally without any real evidence to support the program, flour and bread enrichment was thrust literally down the throats of the American people. Why, why, why? Because it served to lull the people into forgetting for the time the well-known fact that white bread was a deadly death food. With control of practically all sources of information for either the doctor or the lay public, the flour interests certainly have put over a monstrous and wholly criminal campaign to force us to eat their adulterated, health-undermining remnants of good wheat. No baker or grocer can sell a better product when a counterfeit is offered at a fraction of the price of honest merchandise. The only possible way to ensure the availability of honest flour is to stop the sale of crooked flour.
The millers themselves have admitted the dishonesty of adulterating flour by bleaching and adding chemicals. When the state of North Dakota sent out a number of questionnaires to millers in 1906 asking their opinions, they unqualifiedly expressed their disgust at being forced into bleaching practices, calling them “an abomination, a deceit, a fraudulent practice.” They admitted that it enabled them to palm off low grades as high grades, a “villainous process” that destroys the character of the flour and destroys the essential oil and the flavor (Bulletin No. 72 of the North Dakota Experimental College).
Bleach, as an oxidizing agent, destroys vitamins, in particular the vitamin E that protects against heart disease. The millers and their mouthpiece, Organized Medicine, of course deny this with all the power of every press at their command. But the facts remain.
The administration of vitamin E fractions to almost any heart patient will show cardiographic changes for the better in a few minutes. There need be no argument when such accurate methods are available. Of course, when the patient says he feels better, has lost his heart pains, is better able to get his breath, and finds that he can again carry on all the normal activities of life without his heart reacting unpleasantly, his doctor—if he has been well conditioned by his background of scientific misinformation—will say it is just a “psychosomatic effect.” (That is his present day way of saying it is mental suggestion.)
Most people, having a great respect for their betters, accept this weasel worded evasion of truth. Most doctors are honest in their misinformation. They cannot believe that such a complicated fabric of scientific detail that underlies their profession can be deliberately shot through with chicanery and the schemings of totally unconscionable crooks.
They do not know that Morris Fishbein in 1925 sent his emissary, Dr. Cramp, to the millers with the proposition that they had better get busy and build their fences to propagandize both the profession and the public by [buying] full page advertisements in all his medical journals blaring out ”White Bread is Wholesome“—and that the millers saw the wisdom of his suggestions and thenceforth maintained this campaign of control of editorial material by advertising subsidy.
The price paid by the people is millions of unnecessary deaths from heart disease, to say nothing of the other reactions to this death food. It certainly is no coincidence that a test animal has a fifty-fifty chance of dropping dead inside of three years after being put on a vitamin E deficient diet….[and this is for] animals with a normal life span of twenty years (as reported not in a medical journal but in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1949, Vol. 52, p. 256).
I could write volumes on how synthetic vitamins such as thiamine castrate the descendants of the victim who uses even as much as double the daily requirement1…
…how synthetic sugars such as glucose (aka dextrose or corn syrup) block the assimilation of calcium in the victimized eater and help fasten on him the scourge of cancer.2
…how milk is pasteurized to hide its filthy sources and homogenized to hide the admixture of stale, returned milk with fresh, its price maintained by racketeering practices to rob the consumer of his health as well as his money.3
…how meats such as wieners, sausage, ham, and other forms sold outside of cold storage have their color maintained by nitrites so poisonous that one part in a million can be fatal to babies, and how such chemicals, used as fertilizers, often seep into wells in such quantities as to kill babies by the dozen and make them ill by the hundred, [which we know to have occurred] in one state alone.4
…how cancer has been proven to result from deficient foods acting over several generations5 and how every medical doctor who has tried to warn his patients (as a cancer specialist) against the foods that cause cancer has been driven out of his specialty, often bankrupted or boycotted by some strange influence.6
…how no part of the millions collected from the public for cancer research is permitted to be spent on getting more information about the real cause—malnutrition.7
…how these counterfeit foods cause polio,8 how the news services cooperate with the polio “research” foundations to suppress these facts, and how not a cent of money donated for polio research is used for any study of the possible malnutrition cause of the susceptibility.
All these are details that I have encountered in the few years of observation of the food racketeers who so thoroughly have given us the foods of death.
And they are getting bolder. They underestimate the inherent good sense of the American people. Both [of the aforementioned] articles, if carefully studied, show themselves to be what they are—bait, to trap you into continuing to be gullible.
Animals in time become too smart to be trapped [thanks to the] “the survival of the fittest.” We must be as alert, [because] the dangers [in the food supply] are almost as insidious as the dangers of the jungle. The enemy is as calculating, as unprincipled.
Maybe there is a divine plan behind this necessity for getting smarter. We as a race may need to be put through this trial by fire. But the going is tough, and eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, it is the price of life and health.
The statements herein may not agree with currently accepted medical opinion; nevertheless the publisher believes them sound.
1. Barnett Sure. Jol. Nutrition, August 10, 1939, p. 192–193.
2. Bicknell and Prescott. The Vitamins in Medicine. Grune & Stratton, p. 641; Vitamin News, p. 164. Vitamin Products Co., Milwaukee.
3. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. Reprints No. 28, 28A, 28B. Lee Foundation, Milwaukee.
4. Journal of the American Medical Association, June 3, 1950, p. 476.
5. Davidson. “Cancer: A Nutritional Deficiency.” Reprint No. 18, Lee Foundation.
6. Vitamin News, p. 167. Vitamin Products Co., Milwaukee.
7. Federal Security Agency. Public Health Report, June 15, p. 766–768.
8. Benjamin Sandler, MD. Diet Prevents Polio. Lee Foundation, Milwaukee, 1951.
Box 167, Elm Grove, Wisconsin
2. Who’s Protecting Who?
By Clarence White, A.B. (agronomist)
In this “land of the free and home of the brave,” our government has long since made wise provision for the “protection” of its citizens against the machinations and wiles of evildoers of every shade and description. Laws have been enacted, and law enforcement agencies have been set up by the government to see that these rules of life and conduct are made effective.
A Great Responsibility
This is all as it should be. For in a world slightly less than perfect, populated by men and women of varying degrees of morality and “love” for their fellow man, it is absolutely essential that the nefarious activities of the enemies of our social order who would devise ways and means to defraud, rob, and perhaps kill their fellow citizens be drastically curtailed. Sometimes very unusual and harsh measures are necessary to accomplish this salutory objective. The responsibility of these law enforcement agencies is, and ever has been, great.
And may I suggest right here and now: no agency of this government has a greater responsibility or a higher or holier mission to perform or a more important job to do than the one that has been commissioned to act as the guardian of our nation’s health. Upon the conscientious and faithful pursuance of its varied activities rest not only the future happiness but the very lives of millions of trusting, easy-to-be-led Americans.
Food and Drug Administration
Yes, my friend, I’m talking about Mr. Charles W. Crawford and his associates at the United States Food and Drug Administration. Inasmuch as the quality of the food we eat and the medicines we take into these bodies of ours is so intimately connected with the basic health of every man, woman, and child in America, no agency has a greater influence for weal or woe than that which concerns the purity and nutritional value of our food supply. Consequently, all pronouncements—official or otherwise—coming from the pen of Mr. Crawford are fraught with unusual interest, and all articles appearing under his name we would naturally expect to be sober, unbiased, thoroughly scientific, authoritative, and trustworthy.
In recent days, however, my faith in the integrity of government agencies in general, and Mr. Charles Crawford and his associates in particular, has been severely shaken. The cause of this near catastrophe? None other than Mr. Crawford himself—and the article appearing under his name in the “American Family Health Feature” section of the American Magazine of December 1951.
In this unjust and unmerciful attack on the distributors of health food products throughout the United States, Mr. Crawford (perhaps inadvertantly) labels all manufacturers and distributors of “health goods,” as well as the doctors, dentists, and soil scientists who have been warning the American public regarding the dangers of soil impoverishment and devitalized foods, as “faddists” and “quacks”!
In his breathtaking article, he relegates a lot of good men, including medical doctors, chemists, nutritionists, dietitians, dentists, and agronomists, to the unsavory position of the old-time “calamity howler” or “cure-all medicine man.” After telling us in no uncertain terms that “Americans are the best fed people in history,” Mr. Crawford adds [the following contentions in his article]:
“Ballyhoo and Super-Salesmanship”
“To soften up the market for ‘health foods,'” [Crawford writes,] “it was first necessary to persuade the public that our soil is deficient, our diet is inadequate, and everyone in America is starving for a lack of enough vitamins and minerals. Thanks to ballyhoo and super-salesmanship, these modem medicine men have been widely successful.”
“No Mineral Deficiency”
Then Mr. Crawford proceeds to explain to the American people the extraordinary and hard-to-believe “fact” (?) that there can be no mineral deficiency in the foods we eat regardless of how depleted or exhausted the soil may be from which they came. He reminds us that there are a “few facts about soil and plant life that everyone should know”:
“Generally speaking, the mineral content of plants cannot be changed, no matter how depleted the soil (italics his). In other words the plant may not grow so large in depleted soil, and it may not grow so abundantly, but the chemical content of the plant itself is not changed“ (italics mine).
Mr. Crawford then proceeds to quote his authority on this important point, Dr. Leonard A. Maynard of Cornell University, who recently told the American Medical Association that “despite numerous tests, there is no evidence that ‘fertility of the soil influences the nutritional quality of specific food crops and animal products in such a way as to have an important effect on health.'”
Other Scientists Fail to Agree
Frankly, I’m not a scientist, and be it far from me to gainsay or even question the erudite and comfortable words of Dr. Maynard, one of the country’s outstanding nutritionists, or the rosy assertions of his conferee, Mr. Crawford. But in all fairness to those on the “other side of the fence,” and for the sake of millions of my fellow Americans who may be led down the blind alley of ostrich-like complacency, may I suggest that these two gentlemen—as well as the millions of readers of the American Magazine—give some diligent study to the words and works of such noted, internationally known and respected scientists as the late Sir Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour of England as well as the findings of such well-known agronomists and medical authorities as Jonathan Forman, MD, editor of the Ohio State Medical Journal; Ehrenfried E. Pfeiffer, MD, of New York; William Albrecht, PhD., head of the Department of Soils, University of Missouri; Leonard Wickenden, noted chemist of Connecticut; Royal Lee, DDS, head of the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and J.I. Rodale, founder of the Soil and Health Foundation, of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
These Men Agree
All these men declare in no uncertain terms that there exists the most intimate and direct relationship between the quality of our foods and the fertility of the soil in which they are grown. Add to the above brilliant array of specialists the unbiased testimony of Dr. Charles Northen, of Florida, Dr. James Asa Shield, Dr. Robert H. DeHart of Virginia, Dr. G.T. Wrench, of London, and Dr. Fairfield Osborn, of New York City—all of whom declare that soil and health are inseparable, that “healthy plants mean healthy people,” and that “we can’t raise a strong race on a weak soil!”—and friend Crawford and all his associate “guardians” of our national health will either have to change their minds or beat a hasty if not precipitous retreat. Yes, we have incontrovertible proof that:
Our Health Comes From the Soil
Jonathan Forman, MD, vice president of the Friends of the Land, declares, “It is possible for human beings to maintain perfect health from the cradle to the grave…The most important factor in the maintenance of optimal health is the highest state of nutrition…[and] the maintenance of the best possible state of nutrition depends on good food…The inherent quality of the food depends upon the quality of the soil where it has been grown…”
“More lives can be saved for the effort expended, dollar for dollar,” [Forman continues,] “by getting the very best nutrition for all our people than we can ever gain with curative or preventive medicine. To build good soil is the really fundamental social service. Creative medicine must be founded on growing the best foods. Thus alone can we create real health for our people—only through creating a sound and prosperous agriculture.”
No “Food Faddist”
May I respectfully suggest to Mr. Crawford that Jonathan Forman, MD, one of the leading physicians of his state, is no food faddist! Nor does he appear before us as a white-haired, bewhiskered, “bug-eyed” super-salesman of the old-time medicine man type. To place Dr. Forman and other leading men of science in such doubtful company is to smear the whole medical profession and to debase in the eyes of the American public men of the highest character and qualifications—men who have made, and are still making, valuable contributions to science, national good health, and race betterment.
Wholesale Disappearing Act
Robert H. DeHart, MD, of the Radford Community Hospital in Virginia, rips wide open our almost criminal apathy when he warns us:
“The people of this world are gradually starving themselves into one of the greatest wholesale disappearing acts ever recorded in history, unless the doctors, the chemists, and the farmers wake up to the basic cause of disease.”
“The problem,” states Dr. William Albrecht, of the University of Missouri, “is rapidly reaching the size of a catastrophe, and if carried much further, could mean national suicide. Soil health is that important!” (Read Dr. Albrecht’s articles in Let’s Live magazine.)
May I again suggest that Dr. William Albrecht—internationally known and respected for his distinguished contribution to agricultural science and its intimate relation to nutrition and human health—is no “wild-eyed fanatic,” as Mr. Crawford so vividly pictures all those who dare to raise their voices in words of warning or admonition anent our present-day food supply. Here is what Mr. Crawford has to say about one of these modern Jeremiahs:
“One food ‘authority’ has succeeded in creating widespread uncertainty through regular radio broadcasts…These broadcasts sow the idea that many of the standard processed foods marketed by reputable companies are no good. The audience is told that, because of ultra-refinement in manufacture, the food of the nation has seriously deteriorated in nutritive value. In short the implication is that the general housewife has brought her family to the brink of nutritional disaster.”
No Disaster Ahead
Of course, Mr. Crawford hastens to the rescue with the assurance that all this is pure ballyhoo, a deliberate fabrication designed to “frighten” the gullible and unsuspecting housewife into buying some “vitamin supplement” or “health food.” Says the honey-tongued Mr. Crawford:
“The next time a ‘health food’ expert suggests you are suffering nutritional starvation from a lack of vitamins and minerals, I suggest you bear in mind the following points:
“1. Most of the ills and diseases of human beings are not the result of a lack of vitamins and minerals.
“2. Diseases brought about by vitamin and mineral deficiencies…are extremely rare in the United States!
“3. Most people, in fact, do eat an adequate diet…”
Scientists in Complete Disagreement
On the controversial point of disease not being the end product of vitamin and mineral deficiencies—as indicated above by our National Food Administrator—may I digress a moment to refer Mr. Crawford to Senate Document No. 264, wherein Charles Northen, MD, points out the alarming fact that foods, “fruits and vegetables and grains now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain minerals, are starving us—no matter how much of them we eat!
“You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a carrot is a carrot—that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in a particular mineral that our system requires and that carrots are supposed to contain.
“It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in these minerals and that a marked deficiency in anyone of the most important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element—however microscopic the body requirement may be—and we sicken, suffer, and shorten our lives.”
Add to the above authoritative declaration from Senate Document No. 264 the ringing words of Dr. Forman, as they appear in the Autumn 1947 issue of The Land:
“I challenge anyone to name a single infectious or parasitic disease in which the nutritive state of the tissues of the victim is not more decisive than the germ itself. People do not die of infectious diseases, as they are signed out [sic], but really of malnutrition, which allows the germ to gain its foothold. In the noninfectious fatal diseases—or degenerative diseases, as they are called—malnutrition or undernutrition is the real cause in every instance…”
My Head Swims!
From the foregoing discussion, we are convinced that it would be difficult to find a group of mature, rational, and responsible human beings in more a state of complete disagreement. “How is it possible,” you will ask, “for such a wide divergence of opinion to exist among ‘authorities’ on such a vitally important subject?” Could Mr. Crawford have forgotten to read Senate Document No. 264?
Or does the real reason lie deeper than just “sin” of omission?
We think the reason lies deeper, for in his lengthy and exceedingly confusing story of “All’s Well on the American Food Front,” friend Crawford at long last “lets the cat out of the bag” in his heroic and rousing support of and his praise for Big Business. Declares this “harried” public servant:
“In sum,” [Crawford writes,] “two things seem needed to put a highly distorted picture into proper focus:
“First of all, the food industry of this country, which has done an excellent overall job of bringing wholesome food to the American family, can help maintain consumer confidence in our food supply by an educational campaign to counteract the false teachings of nutritional quacks.
“Beware of Health Foods”
“Secondly, every housewife must develop a healthy skepticism about those people who tell her her food supply is deficient and that, in order to get her family ‘chemically in balance,’ she should supplement their diet with a special ‘health food.'”
Thanks to the Millers
Yes, my friend, thanks to the millers, thanks to the sugar refiners, thanks to all the other “reputable food processors,” and, last but not least, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration, “we are the best fed nation in the world!”—all true scientific evidence to the contrary!
Battle of the Giants
In this “Battle of the Giants,” this controversy between the forces of Good and Evil, this war between Truth and Error, may the best side win! And please, God, have mercy on the souls of those men in high office in our government who are just now selling us and the health of our children down the river!
Granted, there are some “irregularities” in the health food industry in these United States. Granted, there are some scoundrels selling mineral and vitamin supplements who may be more interested in the almighty dollar than they are in the health of their customers. Granted (and it cannot be denied), there have been some flagrant violations of the “golden rule”—and perhaps, even, a breach of business ethics on the part of some overzealous promoters of health food products of one kind or another. But even all this does not warrant the blistering attack and uncalled for abuse of the health food industry as a whole. Nor does it call for the dark cloud of suspicion that Mr. Crawford’s words cast upon all those nutritionists, agronomists, medical doctors, dentists, and other brilliant scientists who have the courage of their convictions and are not afraid to raise their voices in words of warning and solemn admonition.
These men are not “super-salesmen,” but if we heed not their warnings, they may yet prove to be “prophets of doom.” In Bible times the leaders of God’s people rejected the words of warning—and slew the prophets! Could history repeat itself in our day?[Third article:][spacer height=”20px”]
3. Letter by Arnold P. Yerkes[Note: A.P. Yerkes was an internationally know soil authority.][spacer height=”20px”]
985 Vine Street
December 22, 1951
Mr. Albert E. Winger
Chairman of the Board
680 Fifth Avenue
New York 19, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Winger:
Your current issue featuring Dr. Crawford’s mendacious propaganda for deficient and adulterated food, for which he and his associates in the FDA are largely to blame and through which the drug trust and its satellites make exorbitant profits, should cost you the respect and loyalty of every subscriber.
One naturally expects the editorial staff of such a publication to be a literate group, with at least a smattering of knowledge of the facts about important subjects such as soils, foods, nutrition, health, and even the perversion of the FDA’s activities since Wiley was crucified for thirty (billion) pieces of silver. A modicum of common knowledge would have branded Dr. Crawford’s principal statements as utterly false and caused a rejection of the article—unless financial outweighed factual considerations.
A glance at the shrunken advertising and some knowledge of the retaliation publishers may expect for printing certain distasteful truths (as mentioned in The Drug Story, by Morris A. Bealle, Columbia Publishing Co., Box 1623, Washington, D.C.) suggests possible explanations. While advertising is important, subscribers should be conceded some value.
Dr. Crawford says our food is good—the best in the world—and getting better, but he offers no proof or even evidence that his statement is true, for the simple but excellent reason that it is completely false. [Based on] actual analyses by numerous reputable laboratories and scientists, the quality of much of our food is low and steadily getting worse, as is inevitable while we continue to haul to our cities billions of tons of crops containing [no] more than a score of essential minerals, if the soils still contain them, to go into our sewers and garbage dumps and become completely unavailable for fertilizing subsequent crops. Our fertilizing has been limited almost entirely to calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and these in small fractions of the quantities removed.
As a result, the quality of much of our food is so low that deficiency diseases are rampant, and most any kind of vitamin-mineral concoction will make a lot of people “feel better,” which is why they continue to buy them. A good sales talk or advertising may make the first sale, but surely only morons would continue to buy a “health food” or a medicine unless they believed it is beneficial—or unless their doctors continued to prescribe them, which is becoming more and more common. Many top-notch health officials take vitamins and minerals daily themselves and recommend them.
The growing sales of vitamins, minerals, health foods, etc., that Dr. Crawford deplores is merely an effect; growing food and soil deficiencies are the cause.
If Dr. Crawford or Mr. Ewing had taken, or would take, the action that established facts clearly indicate is urgently needed and which they have the authority to take—i.e., to restore the depleted essential minerals to our soils and foods—there is every indication they could reduce the demands for, and sales of, “health foods” to a far greater extent than all their expensive Gestapo methods have achieved to date. Yet requests for such action have been refused repeatedly. The public is entitled to know the real reason why.
One easy but long step toward food improvement would be to request the big canning and freezing companies to require their growers to restore the depleted cobalt, zinc, manganese, copper, etc., to their soils, just as they have for years required them to restore depleted calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Not a single sound reason has been or can be advanced against such action. Men who should know say the FDA has authority to specify that interstate shipments of foods must meet certain requirements as to mineral content; if not, they could easily get it.
If Tom Linder, Agricultural Commissioner of Georgia, can require food offered for sale in his state to meet such requirements, then surely the FDA can and should do so for the nation. (See enclosed Georgia news release.) If Dr. Crawford continues his highly questionable attitude of opposing the logical type of program for food improvement such as is now under way in Georgia, then vigorous steps should be taken to replace him with Tom Linder or a reasonable facsimile thereof, the sooner the better.
It is hard to understand Dr. Crawford’s reasons for making erroneous assertions not only contradicted by numerous reports by the USDA and other recognized authorities but by his own chief, Mr. Oscar Ewing, and by his colleague, Dr. Wm. H. Sebrell, head of National Health Institute, a part of the Federal Security Agency, same as the FDA. Whether his misstatements on such a vitally important matter were due to incredible ignorance or ulterior motive, they seem to afford ample reason for his being required to find other means of livelihood [than that on] a public payroll. (See enclosed quotations from Ewing and Sebrell.)
He repeats the ridiculous and long since disproved theory that mineral content of plants cannot be changed no matter how depleted the soils and cites Maynard, the Darius Green of agronomy, in support. Deaths of thousands of sheep in many areas from cobalt depletion in the soils represent just one of scores of refutations.
It is indeed touching that Dr. Crawford feels such solicitude lest a few citizens waste some of their earnings—after taxes—on food supplements of questionable merit but, by his own admission, harmless. But why does he strain at gnats and swallow camels by the score? Does he—or the staff of American Magazine—think the public is so gullible and uninformed as to believe the prices for “health foods” that he cites are more exorbitant than those for the numerous “wonder drugs” that he approves and that a speaker at the recent large chemical convention declared were “the greatest crime ever perpetrated against the human race”?
A friend reports spending over $5,000 for cortisone for his arthritis in 1950. He is still taking it and is far from cured. Add his doctor’s fees and compare the total with the $200 per year Dr. Crawford deplores so deeply. The total bill to the public for all the vaccines, serums, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, insecticides, and other “approved” but often deleterious and sometimes lethal materials used somewhere along the line in producing or processing our foods totals not the few millions Dr. Crawford deplores for “health foods” but billions. What was that about consistency and jewels?
The scum who sell narcotics to boys and girls are rightly regarded as the lowest type of criminal. Yet the crime of deliberately deceiving the public as to the quality of its food and opposing all attempts to improve that food except those that benefit certain favored interests is equally diabolical and of far greater magnitude, because it perils the health, happiness, and well-being of every citizen, young or old. You should be less than proud of your aid to this subversive cabal.
Very truly yours,
(Signed) Arnold P. Yerkes
[Additional, supporting article on the practice of bleaching and refining wheat flour:]
A Catechism on Flour
by Dr. Royal Lee
1. Why is flour bleached?
For three important reasons:
- To artificially age the flour. This means to quickly destroy enzymes and vitamins that otherwise necessitate months of storage.
- To deceive the buyer of flour. The bleach makes the same snow-white flour from any kind of wheat; it may be moldy and musty, but if [it is] polished before grinding, the dirty gray flour becomes indistinguishable from flour made from the finest wheat. The miller can buy any grade of wheat and sell [it as] only first-quality flour as far as color will detect.1
- To kill bugs that otherwise might infest the flour. It is impossible to keep flour in most climates—outside of cold storage—unless it is treated with bleach poison.
2. Why is it desirable for the miller to age the flour?
If [flour is] not aged, the variable amounts of enzymes and vitamins in it render it very tricky to bake into bread. The baker will get a big loaf one day and a flat one the next with the same formula. He refuses to use such flour if he can get aged flour. If flour is to be uniform, it must be either always fresh-ground or always old.
3. How fast are the vitamins lost in flour after grinding?
Oxidation begins at once. Bleaches are all oxidizing agents. The most easily oxidizable vitamins, such as vitamin E, are all lost within days. When wheat germ is to be used as a source of vitamin E, the oil is commonly pressed within twenty-four hours; otherwise the quality is seriously impaired. The drying (oxidation) of the oil (like in linseed oil paint) is the destructive process. To prevent this, wheat germ oil is dispensed in sealed gelatin perles when used for therapeutic or nutritional purposes. Wheat germ as it is commercially available has little or none of this vitamin. It does, however, supply a valuable quota of the B-complex vitamins.
4. Is commercial whole wheat flour nutritionally superior to white flour?
No. It appears to be loaded with several times as much of the bleach poison to keep out bugs, which are far more attracted to whole wheat flour [than to white flour]. Test animals fed such flour (or bread made from it) die much sooner than if fed straight white flour (or bread).2
5. Does the “enrichment” of flour add to its nutritional value?
No, to judge by the only standard it is possible to use—comparison in feeding tests on human subjects and animals. In all such tests, we find, on record, that the result showed either no improvement or a definite adverse effect from the synthetic “enriching” agents.3,4
6. Why, then, is flour “enriched”?
Apparently to deceive the buyer, [just as in the case of] the bleaching of musty, gray flour. Both seem a cruel and criminal imposition on the public.
7. Why doesn’t the federal food and drug law protect us against this kind of fraud, which robs us of our health and life?
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley has given us the answer to that question. He claims, as the first head of enforcement of the federal law, that he was forced out of office when he tried to protect the public. He stated in his book The History of a Crime Against the Pure Food Law (1929) that the law violators had taken possession of the Food & Drug [FDA] enforcement staff and were using their power to protect the law violators instead of protecting the public.
8. What is the effect on public health of the use of such a flour?5
When test animals were deprived of just one of the many vitamins lost in flour by bleach oxidation or by natural or artificial “aging,” thirteen out of twenty-eight dropped dead within three years from the effect of the deficiency on their heart muscle. With heart disease the leading cause of death in this country, it is not unreasonable to attribute the situation to the adulteration of flour.6
1. Lee Foundation. Reprint No.1. Lee Foundation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
2. A.A.A.N. News, p. 31, Jan/Feb/March 1949.
3. Agnes Fay Morgan. Science, March 14, 1941.
4. British Med. Assn. Synthetic vs. Natural Vitamins.
5. Bicknell and Prescott. Vitamins in Medicine. Grune & Stratton, N.Y. See chapter on Vitamin E.
6. Annals at the N.Y. Academy of Science., vol. 52, article 3, pp. 258–259, 1949.
[Additional, supporting article, from Chicago Sun-Times, June 2, 1956:]
Undernourishment Amid Plenty
By Eleanor Roosevelt
HYDE PARK—I have a communication from the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs on the subject of nutrition among the children of the country.
I was a little appalled to find that as far back as 1941 Dr. Thomas Parran Jr., then U.S. Surgeon General, said, “Tomorrow’s civilization can be vastly different—and far better than today’s—if we put to work now what we know about the nutrition of human beings.”
He said that at that time many children were suffering from “half-health, half-strength, [and] half-happiness” because of inadequate diets.
The association goes on to tell me that milk consumption per capita is lower today than it was in 1941.
A nutrition study made in Pennsylvania over a seven-year period showed that among 2,564 children not one child could be rated in the optimum medical and physical class.
Mrs. Harris B. Gaines, president of the association, reports that at least three-fourths of the nation’s children suffer from undernourishment.
How can we Americans square this statement with the fact that we have food surpluses—that we are concerned with what to do in getting rid of our milk and butter surpluses?
The first thing we should do is to see that our children—all of our children—in this rich country are nourished sufficiently. That is the kind of subsidy we can well afford to pay our farmers, because it means for the nation as a whole an increase in vitality and health for future generations.
Few letters that I have received of late have given me as much disagreeable information as this one from Mrs. Gaines. She points out that all low-income families in the South are desperately in need of good nutrition.
The women’s clubs are starting a better health program, but I think a national nutrition conference should be called, and the government should be concerned enough with this lack of nutrition to tie it up with the surplus food and farm problems, assuring us that we will not have an undernourished population.
All preceding content published as a single publication, Special Bulletin 1-52, by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201, 1952.
Note: Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research is a nonprofit, public-service institution, chartered to investigate and disseminate nutritional information. The attached publication is not literature or labeling for any product, nor shall it be employed as such by anyone. In accordance with the right of freedom of the press guaranteed to the Foundation by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the attached publication is distributed for informational purposes.