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FOOD ADDITIVES

TUESDAY, JULY 16, 1957

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND SCIENCE
OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a. Im., in room 1334, New House Ofice Building, Hon. Jolin Bell Williams presiding.

Mr. WilliaUs. The committee will be in order.

This morning it is our pleasure to have with us Dr. R. Blackwell Smith, president, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

Dr. Smith is testifying at the invitation of the subcommittee in order to present to the subcommittee some technical background information for chemical additive legislation. Speaking for myself, I feel greatly in need of being educated as to just what scientists fre doing when they undertake to test the safety of chemicals whose addition to some food is contemplated by some food manufacturers or processors.

I would like to knor something about the scientific disciplines which are involved in such tests; what kind of tests are made; what the considerations are which are involved in the evaluations of these tests; whether the measurements used in these tests are exact or whether educated guesses are involved on which scientists may differ.

I beliere that probably most of the other members of the subcominittee are in the same position in which I find myself. I feel that we cannot pass any intelligent judgment on the bills before us unless we have at least a minimum of an understanding of the scientfic problems involved.

Therefore, we are very happy that Dr. Smith has kindly consented to undertake the difficult task of trying to give this committee soine background information in the field of chemical additives.

I understand that Dr. Smith is a member of the Food Protection Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, and I would like for him to explain for the record in a few words the history and purposes of that Comunittee, and what it has done so far in this field.

In this connection, I would like to take a moment to refer briefly to the announcement which I made previously that a panel of scientists would testify before this subcommittee on the scientific aspects of chemical additives.

On June 26, 1957, I addressed a letter to the National Academy of Sciences requesting the selection of such a panel and the designation of an impartial chairman to lead such a panel discussion.

At this point in the record, I am including a copy of my letter to Dr. Detlev W. Bronk, President of the National Academy of Sciences.

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(The letter referred to is as follows:) Dr. DETLEV W. BRONK, Prcsident, National Acadeony of Sciences,

Washington, D. o. DEAB DR. BRONK: The Subcommittee on Health and Science has pending before it a number of bills dealing with food additives. Bearings on these bills are contemplated for the second half of July.

As you know, food additives have been tbe subject of extensive bearings in previous Congresses but so far no legislation bas resulted because of continuing disagreement with respect to legal and goveromental problems involved in this legislation.

It is my intention, in the bearings before the subcommittee, to have the scientific problems underlying this legislation discussed separate and apart from the governmental and legal aspects.

I recall that during the 84th Congress, when controrersial scientific questions arose with regard to the safety and efficacy of the Salk vaccine, you assisted the committee in selecting a representative panel of experts qualibed to discuss the scientific problems involved and in suggesting an impartial chairman who presided over the panel discussion.

The Salk. vaccine presentation papel was outstanding in erery respect. A similar discussion of the complex scientific probleins inrolved in the case of food additires appears to be an excellent method of presenting to the members of the subcommittee, the Congress, and the general public, the scientific background of the pending bills.

I would therefore like to request your assistance in selecting a panel of experts and suggesting an impartial chairman for the purpose of discussing before the subcominittee the scientific problems involred in testing and eraluating the safety of food additives.

It would seem to be that the procedure to be followed by the panel might be wolleled after the procedure followed in the case of the Salk raccine panel Each panel meinber would be giren an opportunity to make a brief statement, to be i Jlowed, under the guidance of the impartial chairman, bs questions from other panel members and members of the subcommittee.

I have requested Jr. Kurt Borchardt of the committee staff to assist you and the panel in any possible way in preparing for these bearings, and I would like to suggest that you feel free to call upon him to arrange for all necessary details.

Other pressing committee business unfortunately prerents me at this time froni setting a definite date for the panel discussion. As I have indicated earlier, I anticipate that the bearings will take place during the latter part of July. As soon as I am in a position to do so I shall communicate with you further with regard to a definite date for the papel discussion, and I hope that in the meantime you will he able to make at least a tentative selection of the panel menibers and the panel chairman. With kindest regards, I am, Sincerely yours,

Jou BELL WILIAMS,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Acalth and Science. Mr. WILLIANS. On July 2, 1957, Dr. Cornell replied to my letter of June 26, and I was glad to learn that the Academy was willing to undertake the task of suggesting such a panel and selecting an impartial chairman.

Unfortunately, the several scientists suggested by the Academy to serve as impartial chairman or alternates were unarailable on the dates for which the panel discussion was originally scheduled, namely, July 15 and 16.

In view of the fact that the session of the Congress is drawing to a close, the subcommittee did not want to postpone these hearings, although the subcommittee would have preferred to open these hear. ings with the panel discussion as originally scheduled.

As things now stand, we are planning to hold the panel discussion at a later date, and we are trying to get in touch with the scientist

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who was suggested by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as impartial chairman.

Since he happens to be on the other side of the world, communications are difficult and time-consuming, but every effort will be made to arrange for a date in the near future to get the panel together.

I wanted to make this explanation in order to make clear that there is no mystery about the panel discussion and that the subcommitee would like to have such a discussion because it firmly believes that it will contribute greatly to an understanding of the problems involved in this legislation.

However, the short time that was available for planning these hearings and the fact that July and August are good months to take vacations except for Members of Congress—have made it impossible to go through with our original plans.

I would like to apologize to Dr. Smith for taking so much time in this introduction, but I thought I had better put all the cards on the table with regard to the scientific panel discussion.

We are grateful to Dr. Sunith for volunteering his services at this point in the hearings, but I ranted it understood that we are still planning to schedule the panel discussion for a later date.

I understand that Dr. Smith does not have a prepared statement. But, Dr. Smith, we would like for you to appear before the committee as if we were your students. Just consider the committee members, the witnesses and the audience as your class this morning, and proceed in your own way to explain the problems involved.

For the record, however, Dr. Smith, will you please give in a few words, in the beginning, your educational background, and the positions you held prior to becoming president of the Medical College of Virginia

The committee will be very happy to heard from Dr. Smith at this time.

Mr. I Larris. Mr. Chairman, with the indulgence of Dr. Smith and the Chair, at this moment I would like to say just a word about this panel discussion you mentioned.

I kner, of course, of the efforts to bring about the discussion prior to the hearings. I was somewhat impressed with the idea, and still am.

I would like to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that when you determine the date of the panel discussion, you try to work it out a few days in advance, and then give every member of the full committee notice of it and invite them to attend the subcommittee session at that time for the purpose of listening to the discussion.

I think it is a very important discussion, and I believe all the 33 members of the full committee should arail themselves of the opportunity to join you and to become educated on the scientific aspects of this legislation.

We need to learn a lot about it, and I think such procedure would be highly desirable, and I would like to suggest that you do that, if it meets with the committee's own schedule.

Mr. WILLIAMS. I am sure that would meet with the approral of the Lubcommittee, and as soon as we can get this panel set up, we would be delighted to have the full committee meet with us. Te will folJour your suggestion.

I am pleased to recognize Dr. Smith.

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STATEMENT OF ROBERT BLACKWELL SMITH, JR., PRESIDENT,::

MEDICAL COLLEGE OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND, VA. Dr. Smith. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, thank you very much for your willingness to listen.

I should like to state for the record, I appear at Mr. Borchardt's invitation and not strictly as a volunteer. I was glad to come.

I should like to emphasize at the outsct that I appear as a private person, and not as a reprecentative of the food protection committee of the National Research Council or of any other group.

As Mr. Williams has pointed out, I have no prepared statement, and when Mr. Borchardt called me on Friday and I told him I would be unable to prepare a statement, he said, “Good. It would spoil the whole thing if you had one."

For the record, I should like to mention a small publication called Principles and Procedures for Evaluating the Safety of Intentional Chemical Additives in Foods, printed by the National Research Coun-cil first in 1954, and reprinted in 1957, in which the general problems with which this committee is now concerned are discussed rather briefly, but without omitting, I think, any important considerations.

Mr. WILLIAMS. Doctor, before you get into your testimony, would you, for the sake of the record, give us a brief history of your personal background, your qualifications

to speak to this subject ! Dr. SMITH. Excuse me, sir.

Mr. WILLIAJIS. Also, I think it would be well to inform the committee as to just what the food protection committee is, its functions. and how it was set up, a little bit about the history of that.

Dr. Suru. My name is Robert Blackwell Smith, Jr., and I was born in Petersburg, Va., in 1915.

I attended college first at the Medical College of Virginia, where I received the degree of bachelor of science, with a major in pharmacy, in 1937.

In 1938, I received the degree of master of science from the University of Florida, haring done major work in pharmacology and minor work in bacteriology in that institution.

From 1938 until 1941. I was a university fellow in pharmacology at the University of Chicago; and in 1941, received from that institution the degree of doctor of philosophy, with major work in pharmacology and innor work in physiology.

Shortly thereafter, I came to Washington as an assistant pharmacologist in the Division of Pharmacology of the United States Food and Drug Administration, where I served until December 1945.

During that period, I was promoted to the rank of pharmacologist; and when I left, due to the unfortunate loss of my chief, Dr. Herbert Calvery, I was then serving as Acting Chief of the Division of Pharmacology of the Food and Drug Adininistration.

In December 1945 I left Washington to accept appointment as lecturer in pharmacology and assistant dean of the school of phar... macy at the Medical College of Virginia; and since that tiine have held the various academic ranks through the grade of professor in pharmacology, served for a period as dean of the school of pharmacy, for a period as assistant president of the Medical College of Virginia, and I'was appointed to my present post in July 1956.

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who was suggested by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as impartial chairman.

Since he happens to be on the other side of the world, communications are difficult and time-consuming, but every effort will be made to arrange for a date in the near future to get the panel together.

I wanted to make this explanation in order to make clear that there is no mystery about the panel discussion and that the subcommitee would like to have such a discussion because it firmly believes that it will contribute greatly to an understanding of the problems involved in this legislation.

However, the short time that was available for planning these hearings and the fact that July and August are good months to take vacations-except for Members of Congress—have made it impossible to go through with our original plans.

I would like to apologize to Dr. Smith for taking so much time in this introduction, but I thought I had better put all the cards on the table with regard to the scientific panel discussion.

We are grateful to Dr. Sinith for volunteering his services at this point in the hearings, but I wanted it understood that we are still planning to schedule the panel discussion for a later date.

I understand that Dr. Smith does not have a prepared statement. But, Dr. Smith, we would like for you to appear before the committee as if we were your students. Just consider the committee members, the witnesses and the audience as your class this morning, and proceed in your own way to explain the problems involved.

For the record, however, Dr. Smith, will you please give in a few words, in the beginning, your educational background, and the positions you held prior to becoming president of the Medical College of Virginia

The committee will be very happy to heard from Dr. Smith at this time.

Mr. Ilurs. Mr. Chairman, with the indulgence of Dr. Smith and the Chair, at this moment I would like to say just a word about this panel discussion you mentioned.

I kner, of course, of the efforts to bring about the discussion prior to the hearings. I was somewhat impressed with the idea, and still am.

I would like to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that when you determine the date of the panel discussion, you try to work it out a few days in advance, and then give every member of the full committee notice of it and invite them to attend the subcommittee session at that time for the purpose of listening to the discussion.

I think it is a very important discussion, and I believe all the 33 members of the full cominittee should arail thenselves of the opportunity to join you and to become educated on the scientific aspects of this legislation.

We need to learn a lot about it, and I think such procedure would be highly desirable, and I would like to suggest that you do that, if it meets with the committee's own schedule.

Mr. Williams. I am sure that would meet with the approral of the Subcommittee, and as soon as we can get this panel set up, we would be delighted to have the full committee meet with us. We will folJoir your suguestion.

I am pleased to recognize Dr. Smith.

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