The following letter has been sent to President Taft, and also to Colonel Roosevelt, Governor Wilson, Governor Harmon, Senator LaFollette, Hon. Champ Clark, and Hon. Eugene V. Debs, candidates for the presidential nomination, by Miss Alice Lakey, chairman of the Food Committee of the National Consumers' League: CRANFORD, N. J., June 11, 1912. The Food Committee of the National Consumers' League desires to obtain from you some statement as to your intention in regard to the future of the Food and Drugs Act of June 30, 1906. This law would have afforded consumers complete protection under its provisions from the evils of adulterated, misbranded, poisonous and harmful foods, drugs, liquors and medicines, had it not been betrayed, as was demonstrated by Dr. Wiley's resignation. Is the policy to continue of relaxing the enforcement of the law in favor of certain privileged manufacturers? Is the policy to continue of letting Mr. McCabe decide legal questions connected with the enforcement of the act, or is the law to be enforced only through the courts, as was intended when the act was first enacted? Is Secretary Wilson to be continued in office and to have the power to stop the enforcement of the law, notably in the case of the sulphuring of fruits, when he announced that “this law has got to stop?” Was it intended that the Secretary of Agriculture alone should have the power of life and death over the pure food law? Is it just to consumers to retain in office Secretary Wilson and Messrs. McCabe and Dunlap, when these men have steadily upheld the special interests to the disadvantage of the pure food law and the detriment of the consumer? If you are elected to the high office of President of these United States, will you remove from office these faithless officials who have steadily favored the weakening of the law, who have permitted its fundamental principles to be violated? These are the questions that vitally concern consumers. We ask you what you will do, so that we may know what is to be the fate of the greatest law for the protection of the home ever enacted in this country. I have the honor to remain, Very truly yours, ALICE LAKEY, Chairman, Food Committee, National Consumers' League. The following letter has also been sent to the members of the League: CRANFORD, N. J., June 4, 1912. Dear Madam: Enclosed please find reprints from Collier’s. As you know it was largely through the united action of the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the National Consumers' League that public sentiment was aroused which resulted in the passage of the pure food bill. Can we not now unite and save the law from destruction? Will your organization ask President Taft for the removal from office of Secretary of Agriculture, James Wilson, Solicitor George B. McCabe and Dr. F. L. Dunlap, the three men responsible for the wrecking of the pure food law? Will you consider the appended resolution, passed and published by the Food Committee in October, 1911, and endorsed by the executive board of the National Consumers' League at the meeting held at the National Arts' Club, in New York, on May 17, 1912? We hope that the General Federation of Women's Clubs will take similar action at the biennial in San Francisco. Sincerely yours, ALICE LAKEY, Chairman, Food Committee. RESOLUTION WHEREAS, the acceptance of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley's resignation as Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry is the most serious blow that has befallen Pure Food Legislation, and WHEREAS, Dr. Wiley has stated that his resignation was due to the fact that the differences between him and his superior officers respecting the enforcement of the pure food law were so irreconcilable that the fundamental principles of this, one by one, have been paralyzed and discredited; that interests engaged in the manufacture of misbranded and adulterated foods and drugs have escaped punishment; that officials who secretly plotted his destruction were retained in office after his exoneration of charges made against him, therefore be it Resolved, That we, the food committee of the National Consumers's [sic ] League, deeply deploring the disorganized condition of the Department of Agriculture, which renders the strict enforcement of the pure food law impossible, urge upon President Taft the need of the immediate removal from office of Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson, Solicitor George B. McCabe and Dr. K. L. Dunlap, as these three faithless officials have been directly responsible for the complete breaking down of the pure food law. JAMA. 1912;58(25):1966 Back to top Article Information Editor's Note: JAMA 100 Years Ago is transcribed verbatim from articles published a century ago, unless otherwise noted.
– American Medical Association
Published: Jun 20, 2012