Guinea Pig Pet Healthy
100,000,000 Guinea Pigs: The Dangers of Consumption
In the magazines, in the newspapers, over the radio, a terrific verbal barrage has been laid down on a hundred million Americans, first, to set in motion a host of fears about their health, their stomachs, their bowels, their teeth, their throats, their looks; second, to persuade them that only by eating, drinking, gargling, brushing, or smearing with Smith’s Whole Vitamin Breakfast Food, Jones’ Yeast Cubes, Blue Giant Apples, Prussian Salts, Listroboris Mouthwash, Grandpa’s Wonder Toothpaste, and a thousand and one other foods, drinks, gargles and pastes, can they either postpone the onset of disease, of social ostracism, of business failure, or recover from ailments, physical or social, already contracted. Using the feeble and ineffective pure food and drug laws as a smoke-screen, the food and drug industries have been systematically bombarding us with falsehoods about the purity, healthfulness and safely of their products, while they have been making profits by experimenting on us with poisons, irritants, harmful chemical preservatives, and dangerous drugs. In the eyes of the law we are all guinea pigs, and any scoundrel who takes it into his head to enter the drug or food business can experiment on us. The Federal Food and Drugs Act prohibits false labeling of drugs shipped across State lines; but if no claims are made on the label, if the ingredients are not stated on the label, the Act does not apply. Even with foods the public must be the guinea pig, since the manufacturer is not required to prove that the substances he adds are safe for human consumption; his customers by dying or by becoming ill in large numbers-and in such a way that the illness can be directly traced to the foodstuff involved and to no other cause-must first prove that it is harmful before any action will be considered under the Food and Drugs Act. Add to these the variety of poisons other than preservatives ingested with foods and common drugs, and the hazard assumes still greater proportions. Common sense would at least demand that we inquire whether or not that influence might be found in our food and drug supplies-in our fruits and vegetables contaminated with arsenic insecticide, for example. The inadequacy of enforcement with these few pennies pitted against commercial and political dollars has been neatly summarized by the National Civil Service Reform League, of which George W. Wickersham is a vice-president, following an investigation of food inspection-a vital link in food control. “The trusting confidence of the American public in the efficiency of laws was never more clearly shown nor more grossly betrayed than in the matter of food inspection.” “We have enacted ‘pure food’ laws and ordinances presumably we have ‘pure food.’ But between the law and the ‘pure food’ lies a most important factor-the human element charged with the interpretation and the administration of these laws and ordinances. This element-given great powers of discretion; power to make ‘rules and regulations’ to an extent practically nullifying the intent of the law; subject to overwhelming commercial and political pressure-is the weak link in the chain, and practically the end of the effect of the law.” “The consumer in his effort to conserve his health selects his food with ‘nutriment,’ ‘calories’ and ‘vitamins’ in mind, happily unaware that a considerable part of the food he buys, though well cooked and daintily served, may be in a condition of expertly disguised but dangerous state of disease, decay or adulteration. He has relied on the law to protect his food from its initial stage through the processes of gathering, slaughtering, handling, packing, etc., all by men definitely dealing in food for the money to be made out of it.” Can we look for aid outside the law-in the integrity of the manufacturer, in the watchfulness of the scientist, in the scrupulousness of publications carrying food and drug advertising ?. In case after case, the manufacturers have demonstrated that their chief and most consistent interest is in profits; and we speak here not only of the small herb compounder and cancer quack, but also of the largest and most reputable drug and food houses. The passage of the Food and Drugs Act twenty-five years ago and the passage of similar acts in nearly all States at about the same time were evidence that the public demands protection from poisoning even though the pattern of behavior resulting in the poisoning is normal in our business civilization. “Not more than a year ago there appeared in one of the current magazines the advertisement of a food manufacturer, depicting a chemist seated at a desk peering very intently through a microscope. Nicely arranged in front of him on the desk were bottles and cans representing the product of this manufacturer. The descriptive matter accompanying the picture was cleverly worded in a manner to give the reader the impression that every product of this manufacturer was produced under the closest supervision of a food chemist…. The ‘Chemist’ was none other than the production manager, and the microscope had been borrowed from a local hospital….”.