No. 595.
Mr. Moran to Mr. Blaine.

No. 380.]

Sir: I have had the honor to receive your No. 211, in which I am instructed to impress forcibly upon His Majesty’s Government the unnecessary and vexatious nature of the decree prohibiting the introduction of American pork into Portugal, and to endeavor to reinstate this important product in the estimation of the Portuguese, and, in obedience [Page 977]thereto, on the 16th instant I addressed a note to the minister of foreign affairs, of which I inclose copy.

In addition to this communication I have verbally indicated to the foreign office the hurtful consequences of the obnoxious regulations prohibiting the introduction of American pork into Portuguese territory, and I impressed upon it not only the injury done to the commerce of the United States by the unnecessary stringency of these measures, but I dwelt upon the fact that the population of the kingdom was thereby deprived of an article of food which is nutritious, healthful, and cheap.

My note is now before the consultative board of health, and I am assured that it will receive the attention and action that the importance of the subject demands; and I have only to add that I shall be active in my efforts to effect an early removal of all restrictions now existing.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 380.]

Mr. Moran to Senhor Hintze Ribeiro.

Sir: On the 14th of March, 1879, an official publication was made in the Diario do Governo by his excellency the minister of the interior, stating that in consequence of trichinosis having manifested itself in the United States, and as a measure taken in accord with the board of public health, all importations into Portugal and the adjacent islands of all the products of the flesh of swine had been forbidden by the consultative board of public health. This notice was followed on the 20th of the same month by the appearance in the Gazetta das Alfandagas of a portaria issued on the 17th, which prohibited not only the importation for consumption into Portuguese territory of such products of swine as are used for human food when coming from the United States, but refusing permission for it to be even warehoused or temporarily deposited on shore.

Although not officially notified by His Majesty’s Government of the imposition of these stringent measures, I transmitted to my government on the 21st April, 1879, all details of the measures thus taken by the Portuguese authorities, and information obtained either from the public prints or by private communications from commercial sources; and I have now the honor to state to your excellency that I am instructed by my government to communicate to that of His Majesty that in view of the above restrictions, and of some others of a less rigid character, an investigation has been made under the authority of the Department of State into the various industries connected with the supply of pork in the United States, whether intended for consumption at home or export.

The facts set forth in this report, of which I inclose two copies in pamphlet form, appear to be conclusive as to the superiority of the pork product of the United States and I beg to present for your excellency’s careful consideration the conclusions therein arrived at, viz:

That the swine of America are of the best and purest breeds, and are fed and fattened for market on corn. It is not believed that swine are thus fed in any other country.
That the reports published in Europe concerning the death of American hogs from hog cholera are gross exaggerations.
That the percentage of deaths among American swine from disease is no greater than the percentage of deaths among European swine from similar diseases.
That American hogs which have died or may die of cholera, or from any cause whatever, can have no relation to the meat product (except to decrease it), as such animals cannot by any possibility pass the severe scrutiny and inspection to which hogs destined for killing and curing are subject; that even if it were possible to pass such inspection, no art of the curer could convert such animals into meat which could pass the inspection, in the words of a leading curer, “even of a blind man.”
That the fears excited and fostered in parts of Europe, by interested persons, that any portion of hogs which have died or may die of cholera, or from any other cause, is or can be converted into merchantable lard, are founded on the grossest ignorance, for merchantable lard cannot be produced from such dead animals.
That every pound of the product rendered from diseased hogs, except that part [Page 978]used as a fertilizer, is plainly marked “brown grease,” “white grease,” or “dead hog’s grease,” and sold as such largely to soap manufacturers, and that its color and odor preclude it from being mistaken for lard.
That the same care is taken in the handling and manufacture of American lard which is taken in the handling and curing of American meats; and that as the corn-fed American hog is the cleanest of its species anywhere, it is undeniable that American lard is the purest lard in any market.
That the percentage of American hogs infected with trichinæ (though this question is thus far largely one of supposition) is in all probability, by reason of the superiority of the breed and food, much less than that among the hogs of any other country.
That the freedom from trichinosis of the two great pork-consuming centers of the West, Chicago and Cincinnati, furnishes the strongest possible evidence of the purity of American pork.
In Chicago for a series of years, in which forty thousand deaths were reported with their causes, only two cases of trichinosis were reported. In Cincinnati during the same period not one case was reported.
That the reported cases of trichinosis have resulted from eating uncooked meat, shown to be inferior or rejected, and that thorough cooking entirely destroys this parasite and removes all danger, in this regard, from eating pork.
That the selection, inspection, and killing of American hogs, and the subsequent handling and curing of the meat, are not surpassed, if at all equaled, for care, precision, and understanding, by the packers or meat curers of any other country.
That as a rule the hogs selected for foreign trade are in all respects equal to the very best disposed of in our home market.
That the great exaggerations so industriously circulalated in regard to diseased pork have been aided by the different significations attached to the word “pig.” In Europe it is used as the synonym of hog, whereas in America it means the young swine under six months, and generally refers to those only a few weeks old. The number of “pigs” that die from various causes compared with the numbers of hogs that die is very large, and grossly erroneous conclusions are formed by confounding the two words.

As an earnest of the conclusions to which it is hoped and believed the governments of Europe have excluded American pork, as well as other governments may arrive, and in view of your suggestion, Mr. Secretary, that its publication is due to the candid spirit in which the government of His Majesty the King of the Belgians has met the charges made against the pork product of the United States, I have the honor to add that, as appears by a circular addressed on the 28th April last by the Belgian minister of the interior to the governors of His Majesty’s provinces, the question of excluding American pork from that country has been decided in favor of the United States.

The charge against our product under which it has been excluded from France is disposed of in this circular by conclusions, the substance of which is—

That disease generated by trichinæ is unknown in countries where, as in Belgium, pork is sufficiently cooked; and that it has been demonstrated by many experiments that the trichinæ cannot resist a temperature of 56° centigrade, and that they are invariably killed at a temperature of 75° to 100° centigrade.

This report also says: “It is important to make known the fact that pork well cooked, whatever trichinæ it may contain, is entirely inoffensive, and consequently no one need suffer from this cause unless he wishes to, and nothing is necessary except scrupulous persistence in the use of needful precautions of the kitchen.”

These conclusions of the Belgian minister of the interior are based on a careful report of the Belgian official council of public health.

While calling your excellency’s attention to the whole series of “conclusions” quoted above, I would particularly dwell upon the fact stated in the ninth, that the freedom from trichinosis of the two great pork-consuming centers of the West, the cities of Chicago and Cincinnati, furnishes the strongest possible evidence of the purity of American pork. In Chicago, for a series of years in which 40000 deaths were reported with their causes, only two cases of trichinosis were reported, while in Cincinnati, during the same period, not one case was reported; and should the presentation of the case thus made in its entirety to His Majesty’s Government lead to the reinstatement in the estimation of the Portuguese of this important product, and to its renewed unrestricted admission into the kingdom, and to its restoration to general use as an article of food cheap in cost and absolutely harmless in consumption, a measure for which I am instructed to say my government would be very thankful, and one which I do not hesitate to assert can in no way inflict injury upon the public health.

Under separable cover accompanying this note, I have the honor to transmit to your excellency a number of copies of the report above referred to.

I have, &c.,