Harvey W. Wiley, MD, (1844-1930) was the founder of the United States Food and Drug Administration (of FDA, then called the Bureau of Chemistry). As surprising as the may sound today, the FDA was an honorable institution under Wiley’s leadership. With his background as a professor of chemistry, Wiley and his “poison squad” investigation team tested the effects of toxic preservatives on human volunteers in 1902 through a Congressional appropriation of $5,000. The results of his groundbreaking research spurred Wiley to crusade for national food and drug regulation. When it became law in 1906, Wiley became known as the “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.” Characteristic of Wiley’s uncompromising commitment to the truth, in 1909 he ordered the seizure of 40 barrels of Coca-Cola, and then proceeded to file suit against this gigantic company. His vision of a nutritious diet for Americans was clearly enumerated by his testimony: “No food product in our country would have benzoic acid, sulfurous acid, or sulfites or any alum or saccharin… No soft drink would contain caffeine or theobromine. No bleached flour would enter interstate commerce. Our food and drugs would be wholly without any form of adulteration and misbranding.”
Of course, we know today who won this lawsuit. After his enemies urged for his dismissal in 1911, Dr Wiley resigned in 1912. His successor of the FDA, Elmer Nelson, MD, actually asserted that “It is wholly unscientific to state that a well-fed body is more able to resist disease than a less well-fed body.” And despite the landmark studies of Dr Weston Price, Dr Francis Pottenger, and many others at this time, Nelson and his FDA team were able to successfully protect the makers of devitalized foods and toxic preservatives- a policy that continues to thrive to this day. In 1929, Dr Wiley self published his memoirs, The History of a Crime Against the Pure Food Law (in previous attempts to publish congenitally, his manuscripts had mysteriously disappeared). He died within a year, and his his books vanished from libraries and bookshops around the nation within weeks. However, the royal Lee Foundation reprinted it later in 1955.
So what can we learn this month’s holistic pioneer? As many of us know, it is up to us to do our own research on the most optimum diet and nutrition for ourselves and our families- we have certainly learned not to trust the FDA or any of the other pharmaceutically- controlled government agencies at face value. Further, it is important to suppor the groups that do stand for a nutrient-dense diet and courageously fight against toxic preservatives, foods, and drugs.
The most “WIley-like” institution today is the Weston A. Price Foundation. For more information on this group and to join go to www.westonaprice.org, and click on “About Us” and the “Join.” Only by standing together and continuing Dr Harvey Wiley’s legacy can we make a real difference in this world through organizations committed to returning to the American diet back to its unadulterated, nutrient-dense roots. We all deserve non-toxic air, water, food, and supplements, and to enjoy- physically, mentally, emotionally and spititually- the most optimal health possible in our lives.
(Exerpted from Empty Harvest, by Dr Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson, Avery Publishing Group, Garden Park City: NY, 1973, and Wikipedia.)