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Article
May 24, 1919

WHAT THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT THINKS OF FORMULA DISCLOSURE —IN FOODS

JAMA. 1919;72(21):1546. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610210042018

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Abstract

On April 14, 1919, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision of the highest importance to those interested in questions of public health. The question before the court was one dealing with the right of a state to require manufacturers of proprietary foods to print on the labels of their products the names and quantities of the ingredients. This right had been attacked by the manufacturers of a proprietary food, who charged that the state's requirement was a violation of their constitutional guaranties in that it amounted to taking their property without due process of law. This argument was based on the fact that the proprietary food product was made under a secret formula, and that to disclose that formula would cause the manufacturer great and irreparable damage. The Supreme Court's answer to this argument is definite and to the point:

"... it is too plain for argument that

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