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The United States has been long concerned with the threat to both human health and financial loss from livestock diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and foot-and-mouth disease. For years large sums have been spent by both the Federal and State Governments to eradicate or control these diseases. In the current fiscal year alone our governments (Federal and State) are spending $11.9 million on brucellosis and $7.8 million on tuberculosis-eradication programs.
Since the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico in 1945 the United States has spent $123 million on the control of that disease. Recent outbreaks in Canada are presenting additional problems. The Department of Agriculture is currently proposing an expenditure of $25 million for the establishment of a foot-and-mouth disease research laboratory. Imports of fresh and frozen meats from countries presently infected with foot-and-mouth disease are now prohibited. We are informed that foot-and-mouth disease is prevalent in every country of the world except the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Central America. The disease is of a recurring epizootic nature.
The incidence of tuberculosis in cattle in the United States has been reduced from 4.9 percent in 1918 to 0.14 of 1 percent in 1951. Compared to this the incidence of tuberculosis in cattle in specified countries has been variously reported in recent years as follows: Percent
2 Great Britain.
30-35 Switzerland 20–30 Australia.
5-10 Holland.-1 15-85 Italy
40-50 1 Varies by sections. 2 Requested but not yet available-Thought to be very high. Source: From data secured from Bureau of Animal Industry, USDA.
In the United States the incidence of brucellosis in cattle has been reduced from 11.5 percent in 1935 to 3.1 percent in 1951. In contrast, brucellosis is reported to have the following incidence in certain foreign countries (proceedings of the Third Inter-American Congress on Brucellosis, Washington, D. C., November 1950): France:
Percent Cattle-Brucella abortus.
15-33 Sheep and goats--Brucella melitensis
15-40 Italy: Cattle-northern part-Brucella abortus
30-40 Cattle-sheep and goats--Brucella melitensis.
(1) Switzerland: Cattle
25-40 Argentina: Goats.-
5-80 1 Frequent to heavy.
RESULTS OF ITALIAN CHEESE INSPECTIONS
A recent exchange of correspondence between Representative August H. Andresen of Minnesota and Commissioner C. W. Crawford of the Food and Drug Administration brings out some very revealing points regarding Italian cheese, as reported in the Congressional Record. (The full text of the exchange is carried in appendix pp. 5 through 11.)
Mr. Andresen wrote the Commissioner in part as follows:
As a specific example I would appreciate knowing how many separate lots of cheese have been imported from Italy during the past 12 months, how many of these have been inspected, what tests have been made to guard against the transmittal of communicable diseases such as those mentioned above, and what were the findings on these tests.
To this question the Commissioner replied:
You have asked for specific information on the number of separate lots of cheese imported from Italy during the past 12 months, on the number of these lots inspected, and the results of the examinations made. We regret that we do not have complete statistics of this kind immediately available. However, you may obtain an idea of the volume of importations and type of coverage given from the following: According to the Bureau of Census approximately 15,000,000 pounds of Italian cheese were imported during the calendar year 1951. We estimate that at least 1,600 different entries were involved. Each entry probably represents a composite of cheeses from a number of producers. During this period, the three offices which deal with the bulk of Italian cheese importations examined samples from 77 lots. Of the lots examined 12 were denied entry because of filth and 1 because of failure to conform with the requirements as to fat and/or moisture.
From this it appears that of 1,600 lots of Italian cheese imported in a year the Food and Drug Administration, because of limited personnel and budget, was able to inspect only 77 lots or 4.8 percent. Of these 77 inspected lots, 15.6 percent were denied entry because of filth. But remember that only 4.8 percent of the 15 million pounds imported was inspected as a sample. If this sample was representative it may be concluded that of the 14,280,000 pounds that were not inspected that 15.6 percent, or 2,227,680 pounds, was so filthy that it would have been denied entry if it had been inspected.
Further on that, Mr. Chairman, the Food and Drug Administration, for several years has been inspecting American dairy manufacturing plants and doing a very fine job of it.
We are advised that most of their inspections, however, result from tip-offs as to the condition of plants. Consequently, their inspections are spot and surprise checks and are not as representative of the total quantities of dairy products produced as would be the import samples taken by Mr. Crawford's assistants. As you will note, he states that every one of these entries undoubtedly came from a great many shippers.
Now what does the Food and Drug Administration do in our case? It closes up the plant, or it closes up the department of the plant that it finds is not providing the right kind of milk supply and handling that milk supply under the right kind of methods. And that plant remains closed until the organization or company that owns it has qualified as to the standards which the Food and Drug Administration requires
No such control over foreign dairy plants or farms is available to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, and for years we have felt that that was one of the greatest weaknesses in our whole program.
Now I will come to the recommended action.
Let us be practical. Friendship is a fine thing, but it is a reciprocal matter. When our Food and Drug people find an incidence of filth in food imports from a given country of these proportions what should be our course of action: (1) accept this intolerable situation; (2) increase the cost of inspection so that each of 1.600 lots would be
properly inspected; or (3) require the offending countries to keep the product at home until satisfactory assurance is given that it complies with our standards.
In regard to the danger of diseases being carried by imported dairy products the Commissioner wrote:
The only effective procedure for the detection of the organisms of brucellosis and tuberculosis in dairy products is animal inoculation tests which, in the case of both diseases, require a period of 6 weeks to 8 weeks before results are available. The application of such test procedures to all imports of dairy products is therefore practically impossible as a routine procedure.
Yet we know that, while the United States is practically free of tuberculosis in cattle and has a very low incidence of brucellosis, many of the countries exporting unpasteurized cheese and other dairy products have an incidence of these diseases commonly ranging from 40 to 50 percent.
It must be concluded that the State Department is overenthusiastic in its blanket endorsement of free trade. In the case of blue cheese we have seen how another governmental agency, the Department of Agriculture, which is close to the subject, has pointed out that the domestic blue cheese industry was being ruined by trade policies followed before the enactment of section 104. In the case of Italian cheese just cited, the Food and Drug Administration has pointed up crying needs for reviewing our import policies.
Our Government was originally set up for checks and balances of power. These cases exemplify the need for a preservation of that principle rather than a blind policy of following one broad generalized procedure with instructions to "permit no contradictory action.”
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my direct statement. I ask that the charts and appendixes to my statement be included in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that may be done. (The documents referred to are as follows:)
1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1/ 1952 estimated on bacio of production during first 2 months for U. S. and
during the first 3 months for Dairyland Cooperative.
Chart 2. Price Relationships of Domestic and Imported Danish Blue Cheese and
0.8. Average price of milk for manufacturing purposes, by months
Dollars per crt. Conto
U.S. Average price
1952 1/ Now York prices to wholesalers. Data available only for months indicated by O. Source: Manufacturing milk prices from Agricultural Prices, B.A.E., U.S.D.A.
Prices of cheese from Industry.