Mr. Hay to Mr. Thomas.

No. 54.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s No. 53,1 of the 5th instant, I inclose copy of a dispatch from our consul at Christiania and of a letter irom the Secretary of Agriculture relative to the new Norwegian rules affecting meat exports from the United States.

You will endeavor to have the certificates and meat-inspection stamps of this Government accepted without the required authentication by a Swedish-Norwegian consul at the port of shipment. This Government does not understand the necessity for the consular authentication, nor perceive what additional security is given to the consumer thereby.

It, of course, does not claim that the inspected meat will keep indefinitely; the inspection simply determines that the animals are healthy at the time of slaughter.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Bordewich to Mr. Hill.

No. 51.]

Sir: Inclosed I have the honor to transmit a circular which of late has been issued by the Christiania board of health and sent to all the dealers and importers of animal foods. Translation follows the circular. I again draw your attention to this matter for the reason that one of the importers of American meats came to the consulate yesterday and made complaint, asking for my intervention. It appears that the man had just received from America a shipment of “butts” of pork, accompanied by the regular American certificate of inspection, in conformity with the requirements of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1891. The goods were in perfect condition; still he had much difficulty in getting them passed, as the authorities refused to accept the American certificate.

I have seen the president of the board of health, Mr. G. E. Bentzen, and he informs me that under new rules adopted the American inspection certificates should be authenticated by Swedish-Norwegian consul in port of shipment. Mr. Bentzen intimated, however, that this authentication might be dispensed with if the American mode of inspection was explained and found satisfactory.

For this reason I have already, in dispatch No. 50, requested that two copies of the act of March 3, 1891, be sent to me, as it will show the requirements. When received I will again see the inspection board and come to a clear understanding, but at the same time it might expedite matters if the Swedish-Norwegian consulgeneral at Washington was requested to interfere.

The main reason for the trouble here at this time is, that last winter a lot of American horse meat arrived in a very bad condition and was condemned. It was not inspected in America, however, as near as I can learn, and I was not notified at the time.

In my opinion, all American meats and pork for export should be accompanied with inspection certificates, and arrangements made, as far as possible, that these [Page 723] certificates are taken as ample proof that the respective goods are wholesome human food.

I have, etc.,

Henry Bordewich,
United States Consul, Christiania.

From Christiania Board of Health.

Under provision of the rules for the protection of the public health, approved by royal resolution of December 14 last year, this board may, from March 19 last, forbid the sale of foods prepared outside the city, in the composition of which, enters smaller pieces of meat, pork, intestines of domestic animals, or blood, unless it is made manifest to the board, either by certificate from Norwegian authorities in other ports or in some other reliable manner, that such food was prepared in such a manner and from such material that it is not injurious to health.

We take the permission to inform the honorable firm of this rule, and would request that with each shipment of such food from other places to this city care is taken that the required guaranty is furnished, as a rule, by certificate from one (by proper authority appointed) veterinary surgeon, to the effect that the food in question is prepared in such manner and from such material that it is not injurious to health.

In cases where the foods are imported from abroad, the certificate of a veterinary surgeon must be accompanied by a certificate from the police authorities at the place of export, or by Norwegian consul, if one is found in the place.

  • G. E. Bentzen,
  • Josef Jacobsen.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Brigham to Mr. Hay.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge, with thanks, receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, inclosing for my information a copy of a dispatch from the consul at Christiania, Norway, No. 51, April 14, 1899, with inclosure, concerning new rules adopted there for inspection of animal food.

I would respectfully request that, if deemed advisable by your Department, the subject-matter of these regulations be taken up, either with the Swedish-Norwegian consul-general at Washington, as suggested by Mr. Bordewich, or directly with the Government of those countries, with a view of securing the acceptance of the certificates and meat inspection stamps of this Government without authentication by the Swedish-Norwegian consul at port of shipment. This Department does not understand the necessity for authentication of Government certificate. The alleged reason for the new regulations, that a shipment of horse meat arrived in bad condition, certainly does not warrant the proposed measure, nor would that measure be sufficient to prevent other meats in bad condition from arriving at such distant ports. Of course, no inspection can guarantee that meat will not deteriorate and decompose if it is kept under improper conditions. The inspection is to determine that the animals are healthful at the time of slaughter—not that the meat will keep indefinitely.

Very respectfully,

J. H. Brigham, Acting Secretary.
  1. Not printed.