In 2016, in honor of the Hoosier State’s 200th anniversary, the Indiana Historical Society Press will release a book containing essays on 200 historical characters who made significant contributions to the state and beyond. Not surprisingly, Harvey Wiley is among them. I was invited to write the chapter on Wiley and his achievements.
While its publication is a couple of years away, readers might enjoy the following teaser excerpt:
. . . Wiley opposed food adulteration on grounds of honesty, because adulterated products cheat the consumer into spending more than the degraded product is worth and compromise health since corrupting the natural makeup of a food substance can cause gradual damage to consumers’ internal organs.
When speaking to a group of businessmen who were skeptical of making food purity a matter of law, Wiley garnered applause by putting it in capitalist terms: “Is there a man in this audience who would put his hand in his neighbor’s pocket, take a dollar from it and put it in his own pocket?…Is there a man in this audience who would so adulterate, so degrade and so misbrand a package of his goods as to cheat the consumer out of a dollar of his money when he bought that package?…”
No hands went up, and the point was taken. Purity of food would promote prosperity rather than hinder it. . .