elyr ityiogan Daily
Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
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deep greens and blues
Down the drain: The American solution
by tarry lempert
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News Phone: 764-0552
Editorials printed in The Michigqn Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1971
NIGHT EDITOR: SARA FITZGERALD
Consumerism and the FDA
WHEN CONGRESS created the Food and
Drug Administration, one of t h e
agency's primary duties was to protect
consumers from falsely labeled foods.
Like other regulatory agencies, however,
the FDA has often been more sensitive to
pressures from the businessmen it sup-
posedly supervises than its responsibili-
ties to the public.
Few examples of industry influence on
FDA are as clear as the case of Peter
B. Hutt. Last week Hutt became t h e
FDA's general counsel. Prior to that, he
represented the Institute of Shortening
and Edible Oils as a private attorney.
Hutt's predecessor, William W. Goodrich,
became president of the Institute of
Shortening and Edible Oils, a trade as-
sociation of meat packers.
Although Butt has promised to d i s -
qualify himself in cases where he has a
conflict of interest, it will be impossible
to determine where this occurs since he
has refused to name all the clients he has
represented in the past ten years. H i s
appointment comes at a crucial time. The
FDA is considering new labeling rules for
processed foods. Because of his past in-
volvement with the food and drug in-
dustries, it appears likely Hutt will be
more concerned about protecting his old
friends and clients from prosecution than
about stopping deceptive business prac-
UNFORTWNATELY, Senate confirma-
tion - which would require Hutt to
disclose the names of his clients during
the past decade and other information
about his background - is not needed
EVEN WITHOUT a list of clients, it ap-
pears that Hutt's links to the indus-
tries the FDA is supposed to regulate
would prevent him from doing a compe-
tent job. "He has represented almost
eve'ry food and drug client imaginable.
He is going to have to disqualify himself
from 75 per cent of the cases coming
before the FDA in the next few years,"
says Rep. Benjamin S. Rosenthal (D-New
It is especially unfortunate that Hutt
has been appointed at the time the FDA
has finally begun to seriously consider
consumer demands for better labeling of
processed foods. The average family now
depends more on processed food - froz-
en, canned or dry - than on fresh food.
After ignoring consumers' problems with
labels for years, the FDA is now exploring
proposals for both voluntary and manda-
One pending regulation would require
the listing of all ingredients on the
labels of all products under FDA juris-
diction. Under present FDA regulations,
about 400 of these products are exempt-
ed. These include foods and beverages de-
signated as "standardized" products -
bread, cheese, certain jams and preserves,
mayonnaise, margarine, ice cream and
cola drinks, to name a few
THE FDA published a proposed regula-
tion to require labeling of ingredients
on "standardized" products only after be-
ing petitioned by a group of George
Washington University students. T h e
agency said one purpose was to solicit
comment on whether it has the legal
authority to promulgate such a regula-
tion. Industry spokesmen promptly re-
plied that it lacks the authority. As chief
counsel, Hutt is in a key position to con-
vince the FDA that the industry's inter-
pretation is correct.
In his new position, Hutt may also be
able to save his friends in the processed
foods-industry from other inconveniences.
Voluntary instead of mandatory label-
ing regulations would allow businessmen
to set and enforce their own rules. Pro-
secution of violators of the FDA's regula-
tions might be delayed as long as pos-
Hutt's appointment demonstrates the
need for a re-examination of the system
by which officials are chosen for the
FDA and other agencies that are osten-
sibly intended to protect consumers.
Secretary Richardson's selection of
anyone tied as closely as Hutt to indus-
try for an FDA job 'is inexcusable. The
fact that Hutt's predecessor has become
president of a trade association that was
one of Hutt's clients makes the appoint-
ment unusually bad. "It looks like a
game of musical chairs," Rep. Rosenthal
EVEN WORSE, this exchange between
government and industry raises the
possibility that the processed foods in-
dustry is trying to manipulate a key FDA
post to stifle consumer complaints.
Assistant Editorial Page Editor
IN A BOOK circulating through many hands this
fall, The Pursuit of Loneliness, Philip Slater
outlines an underlying force in America - what he
calls the "Toilet Assumption.",
Massed forces of the state shot their way into
Attica Correctional Facility Monday to put down a
four-day riot by mostly black convicts. Thirty-seven
persons -- nine white hostages and 28 prisoners -
The assumption lies at the heart of our culture,
according to Slater - "the notion that unwanted
matter, unwanted difficulties, unwanted complexities
and obstacles will disappear if they are removed
from our immediate field of vision." Aware of our'
problems, longing to confront them but unable to
face the terror of self-accusation that the confront-
ation calls for, we've created the most elaborate,
taken-for-granted sewage ,system in the world.
Twenty-nine other hostages - 25 of whom were
injured - were released when 1,000 heavily armed
state troopers and sheriff's deputies, backed in re-
serve by 70 truckloads of secretly deployed New York
National Guardsmen, attacked the prison with shot-
guns, rifles and tear gas.
"When these discarded problems rise to the sur-
face again," says Slater, ". . . we react as if a sewer
had backed up. We are shocked, disgusted and
angered, and immediately call for the emergency
plumber . . . to ensure that the problem is once
again removed from consciousness."
IT'S TRUE - hitching up our pants, sighing to
the reassuring gurgle of rushing water, we did our
best to flush away the image of George Jackson's
body lying dead in the courtyard; the image of his
head exploded first by ideas but finally by a bullet.
Accepting that he was gunned down min the midst of
a futile jail break, we though about Jackson - a
great writer and leader, but a man desperate beyond
our understanding. We were troubled and retreated
to the security of smaller headlines, dominated only
by the less incriminating wage-price freeze. We no
longer saw bars and bodies; we made no effort to
look beyond the narrow limits of our immediate field
But if we forgot, the people of Attica prison
couldn't and didn't. Like Jackson, they had endured
too much and they too became desperate men.
We knew prisons produced as well as detained
criminals. We were aware of the need for reform.
But convicts, like Vietnamese peasants, were too far
away to claim a spot in the foreground of our at-
tention. When we moved, we moved slowly, filing
suits to rehabilitate jails then waiting endlessly for
Rational creatures, we nonetheless escaped the
obvious logic that "nothing comes of nothing." We
foolishly expected the problem to solve itself.
The rising death toll pounds out new warnings in
tombstone-headlines. Six died at San Quentin, 41
at Attica. How long can we flush away our prob-
* * *
SLATER, WITH CONTINUED insight into our
way of life, talks about a second tenet of American-
ism, the assumption of scarcity. In the wealthiest
society in history, the primary means of motivation
is still the carrot dangling ahead, the promise of
security, of more happiness as defined by more
property (even though the vast number of posses-
sions we have brings us little in the way of satis-
faction - we always want more).
The function of advertising, says Slater, if to
"manufacture illusions of scarcity." It keeps our cul-
ture going, not to mention our economy.
A recent mail delivery, sure enough, brought sev-
eral better than average attempts.
"Now you can scale up to 50 fish at one time," I
was told, "automatically by simply taking a short
I had to admit I never managed to scale 50 fish
at one time. I never had the desire or the stomach
to catch even one fish, let alone scale 50 of them
"Just tow the new Rock-it Authmatic Fish Scaler
behind your boat for a couple of hundred yards on
your way to the landing - THAT'S ALL - and it
completely scales your catch without breaking the
skin or damaging the meat of the fish in any way."
But this was the best part: "The scaler doubles as
a handy live fish basket while you catch them."
FISH SCALES still balancing in my mind, I turn-
ed to a more serious question, posed in a news re-
lease from a different company. "Can the mind
move matter?" I was challenged. "You'll never know
until you test the amazing Mind Machine, a device
designed to settle once and for all this age old
The device was simple enough - a block of wood,
a pointed axis and three spinners. "The object," it
said. "is to balance a spinner on the point of the
axle in a draft-free area, then through sheer mental
power, make the spinner rotate in first one direction,
then the other, or stop it at will."
Talk about illusions of scarcity. But my curiosity
was aroused. American advertising was reaching out
with skillful hands, attempting to mold my malle-
able mind like clay.
"Does it work? Well, some swear by it, w h 1 e
others swear at it, but all agree the Mind Machine
is a great 'fun' item and an instant icebreaker at
I was caught, but only for a moment. The head-
lines were still too fresh, 47 people had died too re-
cently. Fish scalers and Mind Machines faded, I felt
tired, suddenly worn out from too much America;
I wanted to block the gurgling sound of rushing
water from my ears.
AND AT THE BOTTOM of the page, the release
said, "Satisfaction guaranteed."
for appointment to this position.
was appointed by HEW Secretary
Richardson, with no Congressional
Now Congress can only ask Hutt1
lease this information after he has
office. However, the Senate C o m m e r c e
Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs will
hold a hearing on the Hutt appointment
today to get more information a b o u t
Hutt's philosophy on regulatory agencies
and how he plans to handle the conflict
of interest problem.
Congress has no authority to overturn
the Hutt appointment. Sen. Frank E.
Moss (D-Utah), chairman of the con-
sumer affairs subcommittee, has not
challenged Hutt's qualifications, only his
refusal to list all clients in the past ten
years. As Moss points out, although Hutt
has promised to disqualify himself in
cases involving conflicts, only he and his
former clients would know whether he
had done so. The public, as usual, would
be kept in the dark.
JIM BEATTIE DAVE CHUDWIN
Executive Editor Managing Editor
'TEVE KOPPMAN Editorial Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF . Associate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONE Y Assistant Editorial Page, Editor
LYNN WEINER Associate Managing Editor
LARRY LEMPERT Associate Managing Editor
ANITA CRONE .............. Arts Editc-
JIM IRWIN ...................Associate Arts Editor
JANET FREY................. Personnel Director
ROBERT CONROW .. .. Books Editor
PRESIDENT NIXON walked down the aisle and the TV camera
settled briefly on John V. Connally as he joined with other Ad-
ministration dignitaries in standing tribute to the chief. There was a
faint smile on Connally's face; who knows what visions or fantasies it
veiled? He is a man who, after all, has been rescued from the shadows
by Richard Nixon; in a gallery of administrative mediocrity, he has
achieved the dimensions of a star.
For the moment his debt to the President is large. But so is the
service he is rendering. He is a Democrat serving as spokesman and
salesman for those aspects of the Nixon economic program most fav-
orable to special interests and least helpful to the disadvantaged. While
he may some day allege-after a deluge-that his counsels were not
finally followed, the ostensibly Democratic blessings he has imparted
on the White House will outlive such footnotes. Meanwhile, if Mr.
Nixon manages to muddle through on the home front until convention
time, Connally may find himself rewarded with the Vice Presidential
All this, as they say, is part of the game. But such gamesmanship
has too often burlesqued the two-party system and helps to explain
why many young new voters prefer to designate themselves indepsend-
ent rather than enroll as either Republicans or Democrats.
That is also why John Lindsay's shift to the Democratic Party,
regardless of its effect on his immediate political destiny, may have
larger impact than some of his detractors (both Democratic and Re-
publican) like to concede at the moment. Occurring as it did at a time
when a new voting generation is on the horizon, it may set in motion
important processes of realignment in many places. Only the begin-
nings are discernible now.
* * *
Letters to The Daily
To The Daily:
THE DEATH of Stalin in 1953
signalled the beginning of t h e
crisis of Stalinism in Russia and
internationally. Khrushchev play-
ed the very important historic role
of attempting to relax the contra-
dictions between the privileged
Soviet parasitic bureaucracy and
the Soviet workers and farmers.
by granting greater individual
freedom and by weakening cen-
tralized economic planning (Lib-
ermanism). At the same time he
accelerated Stalin's conservative
foreign policy of "Socialism in one
Country" by proclaiming "peace-
ful coexistence" and "goulash
Khrushchev is dead, but h i s
equally boorish successors c n -
tinued to move the Soviet work-
ers' state toward the ultimate
crisis - either restoration of capi-
talism or a political revolution
from below to re-establish work-
The "retirement" of Ulbrecht
of East Germany, the death of
Khrushchev, the criminal policies
of the Maoist regime, and the Nix-
on wage freeze have all occurred
in the past six months. The forces
of history are beginning to ac-
, ' " 1 P ye S
ress THROUGH MOST OF my political lifetime, I have heard it
argued that there is a unique merit in the diversity of our two major
parties because it prevents both fragmentation and polarization. To
many old pros, this has been an elementary article of faith.
In fact the result has more often been the blurring of, issues and
the transformation of reasonably honest men into flabby fakers. Too
many progressive Democrats have rationalized compromise and retreat
by invoking the specter of (white) Southern reprisal; too many liberal
Republicans have sacrificed identity and character, in deference to the
pressures of their party's right wing.
Now, of course, there has risen a political theology which coun-
sels that the road to success lies in the deadly center; where Democrats
and Republicans may presumably impersonate each other, with mini-
mal discord. But in a sense many of them have been doing that for
years, depending on the time and place of their performances.
THOSE WHO MINIMIZED or derided the "new politics" were
rudely stunned in 1968 when an insurgent movement forced LBJ's
retirement, thereby shattering the alleged law of life that an incum-
bent could invariably dictate his own renomination. Yet many of the
same men persist in failing to detect any meaning in that lesson and
in referring to the events of that year as an odd fluke.
It is my own belief that they will find the future even more dis-
concerting, and many other cherished ,axioms even more vulnerable.
There has been a complacent theory that most college dissidents of
recent years will retire to suburbia and there begin to imitate the
habits-and voting patterns-of their elders. But there are far more
significant signs that suburbia itself may be subjected to drastic politi-
cal alteration by the infiltration of thousands who have been touched
by the storms of the last decade.
Similarly, the simplistic proposition that the Democrats need only
revive the old New Deal coalition is beyond rejuvenation. For multi-
tudes of new voters, the venerable AFL-CIO leadership offers little
inspiration or direction. There is great new ferment in the South,
where so many people-despite the moral abdication of Richard Nixon
-have joined hands to carry out school integration orders.
eveals IT REOTTIRES NO illusions about the oresent state of the Demo-
v. " . yr . . ,.,
"At last! . .
you're the one who stole the Hy-
, Disneyland !"
like a small point, but it re
~J'% N'4W1\ UI V. El