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Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to the Labeling of Packages Containing Foreign-Produced Trout.

September 02, 1954

I AM WITHHOLDING my approval from S. 2033, "Relating to the labeling of packages containing foreign-produced trout sold in the United States, and requiring certain information to appear in public eating places serving such trout."

The bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by making its criminal sanctions--imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine up to $1,000, or both--and certain civil sanctions applicable to the sale, offering for sale, possessing for sale, or serving of foreign-produced trout in violation of special provisions which the bill would add to the Act with respect to such trout, except a certain species of lake trout largely imported from Canada. (These special requirements would be in addition to any of the other requirements of the Act and to any applicable requirements of State law. )

These special requirements--none of them applicable to domestic trout--are as follows:

1. Foreign-produced trout would have to be packaged and, if the package is broken while held for sale, each unit for sale consisting of one or more trout would have to be in a separate package.

2. Each such package would have to be clearly and conspicuously stamped or labeled, in type or lettering of specified size, with the word "trout" preceded by the name of the country in which such trout was produced.

3. It would be unlawful for any restaurant or other public eating place to possess, in a form ready for serving, any foreign-produced trout unless the restaurant or eating place displayed prominently and conspicuously a notice stating that "------trout is served in this restaurant," with the name of the country or origin inserted in the blank space.

According to the Committee reports, the bill has the three-fold purpose of (I) protecting the public and consumer against deceptive and unfair acts and practices by requiring truthful disclosure of the origin of the trout being sold, (2) protecting our domestic trout producers against unfair competition from foreign producers of trout, and (3) protecting our source of supply for stocking the streams of our Nation with game trout.

It is claimed that in recent years certain merchants and restaurants have indulged in the practice of serving imported trout to restaurant patrons and other consumers as Rocky Mountain trout, Rocky Mountain rainbow trout, or under other descriptive names which, to the consumer, indicate their domestic origin. If domestic trout producers are deprived of this market, it is feared that they may be unable to continue their other important function of supplying eggs and fingerlings for restocking our streams for the sportsman-angler.

Fraud and deception in the marketing or serving of food or any other product cannot, of course, be condoned. I am convinced, however, that to the extent that the provisions and sanctions of the bill properly involve the Federal functions, they are unnecessary to prevent fraud and deception. The Tariff Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act already provide for necessary labeling of imported products. Furthermore, the provisions of S. 2033 are discriminatory and oppressive against foreign trade, and to a very substantial extent they would invade a field of regulation and enforcement which I believe should be left to the States and localities. Finally, the costs of enforcement would be out of all proportion to funds available to the Food and Drug Administration for vital functions affecting the health of the American people.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

Note: This memorandum was released at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill Relating to the Labeling of Packages Containing Foreign-Produced Trout. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232575

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