62 Cases, More or Less, Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. United States 8212 1951, No. 363

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation95 L.Ed. 566,71 S.Ct. 515,340 U.S. 593
Docket NumberNo. 363
Decision Date26 March 1951
Parties62 CASES, MORE OR LESS, EACH CONTAINING SIX JARS OF JAM et al. v. UNITED STATES. Argued March 5—6, 1951

340 U.S. 593
71 S.Ct. 515
95 L.Ed. 566
62 CASES, MORE OR LESS, EACH CONTAINING SIX JARS
OF JAM et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 363.
Argued March 5—6, 1951.
Decided March 26, 1951.

Mr. Benjamin F. Stapleton, Jr., Denver, Colo., for petitioners.

Mr. Robert L. Stern, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Page 594

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act authorizes the United States to bring a libel against any article of food which is 'misbranded' when using the channels of interstate commerce. Act of June 25, 1938, § 304, 52 Stat. 1040, 1044, 21 U.S.C. § 334, 21 U.S.C.A. § 334. The Act defines 'misbranded' in the eleven paragraphs of § 403. 52 Stat. 1047—1048, 21 U.S.C. § 343, 21 U.S.C.A. § 343. The question before us is raised by two apparently conflicting paragraphs.

One of them, subsection (c), comes from the original Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. Act of June 30, 1906, 34 Stat. 768, 770—771, § 8 (first paragraph concerning 'food,' and second proviso). It directs that a food shall be deemed 'misbranded' if it 'is an imitation of another food, unless its label bears, in type of uniform size and prominence, the word 'imitation' and, immediately thereafter, the name of the food imitated.' The other, subsection (g), was added to the enlargement of the statute in 1938. It condemns as 'misbranded' a product which 'purports to be or is represented as a food', the ingredients of which the Administrator has standardized, if the product does not conform in all respects to the standards prescribed. The Administrator has authority to promulgate standards when in his judgment 'such action will promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers'. § 401, 52 Stat. 1046, 21 U.S.C. § 341, 21 U.S.C.A. § 341.

The proceeding before us was commenced in 1949 in the District Court for the District of New Mexico. By it the United States seeks to condemn 62 cases of 'Delicious Brand Imitation Jam,' manufactured in Colorado and shipped to New Mexico. The Government claims that this product 'purports' to be fruit jam, a food for which the Federal Security Administrator has promulgated a 'definition and standard of identity.' The regulation

Page 595

specifies that a fruit jam must contain 'not less than 45 parts by weight' of the fruit ingredient. 21 C.F.R. (1949 ed.) § 29.0. The product in question is composed of 55% sugar, 25% fruit, 20% pectin, and small amounts of citric acid and soda. These specifications show that pectin, a gelatinized solution consisting largely of water, has been substituted for a substantial proportion of the fruit required. The Government contends that the product is therefore to be deemed 'misbranded' under § 403(g).

On the basis of stipulated testimony the District Judge found that although the product seized did not meet the prescribed standards for fruit jam, it was 'wholesome' and 'in every way fit for human consumption.' It was found to have the appearance and taste of standardized jam, and to be used as a less expensive substitute for the standard product. In some instances, products similar to those seized were sold at retail to the public in response to telephone orders for jams, and were served to patrons of restaurants, ranches and similar establishments, who had no opportunity to learn the quality of what they received. But there is no suggestion of misrepresentation. The judge found that the labels on the seized jars were substantially accurate; and he concluded that since the product purported to be only an imitation fruit preserve and complied in all respects with subsection (c) of § 403 of the Act, it could not be deemed 'misbranded.' D.C., 87 F.Supp. 735.

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, one judge dissenting, reversed this judgment. 183 F.2d 1014. It held that since the product seized closely resembled fruit jam in appearance and taste, and was used as a substitute for the standardized food, it 'purported' to be fruit jam, and must be deemed 'misbranded' notwithstanding that it was duly labeled an 'imitation.' The court therefore remanded the cause with instructions to

Page 596

enter a judgment for condemnation. We granted certiorari, 340 U.S. 890, 71 S.Ct. 207, because of the importance of the question in the administration of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

1. By the Act of 1906, 34 Stat. 768, as successively strengthened, Congress exerted its power to keep impure and adulterated foods and drugs out of the channels of commerce. The purposes of this legislation, we have said, 'touch phases of the lives and health of people which, in the circumstances of modern industrialism, are largely beyond self-protection. Regard for these purposes should infuse construction of the legislation if it is to be treated as a working instrument of government and not merely as a collection of English words.' United States v. Dotterweich, 320 U.S. 277, 280, 64 S.Ct. 134, 136, 88 L.Ed. 48. This is the attitude with which we should approach the problem of statutory construction now presented. But our problem is to construe what Congress has written. After all, Congress expresses its purpose by words. It is for us to ascertain—neither to add nor to subtract, neither to delete nor to distort.

2. Misbranding was one of the chief evils Congress sought to stop. It was both within the right and the wisdom of Congress not to trust to the colloquial or the dictionary meaning of misbranding, but to write its own. Concededly we are not dealing here with misbranding in its crude manifestations, what would colloquially be deemed a false representation. Compare § 403(a), (b), (d), 52 Stat. 1047, 21 U.S.C. § 343(a), (b), (d), 21 U.S.C.A. § 343(a, b, d). Our concern is whether the article of food sold as 'Delicious Brand Imitation Jam' is 'deemed...

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157 practice notes
  • Rosewell v. Salle National Bank, No. 79-1157
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 24 March 1981
    ...statute itself. Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 337, 99 S.Ct. 2326, 2330, 60 L.Ed.2d 931 (1979); 62 Cases of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed.2d 566 (1951). See EPA v. National Crushed Stone Assn., 449 U.S. 64, 73, 101 S.Ct. 295, 302, 66 L.Ed.2d 26......
  • Texas State Com'n for the Blind v. U.S., No. 85-1954
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • 26 June 1986
    ...United States, 396 F.2d 454, 456, 184 Ct.Cl. 402 (1968) (quoting 62 Cases, More or Less Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed. 566 56 Ricker, 396 F.2d at 456. 57 Id. 58 Id. 59 20 U.S.C. Sec. 107d-3(b) (1982). 60 See 2A N. SINGER, SUT......
  • California State Grange v. National Marine Fish., No. 1:06-CV-00308 OWW DLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 27 October 2008
    ...to add nor to subtract, neither to delete nor to distort." 62 Cases, More or Less, Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 95 L.Ed. 566 (1951); Xi v. INS, 298 F.3d 832, 839 (9th Cir.2002) ("[A] decision to rearrange or rewrite [a] statute falls wit......
  • Bellsouth Telecommunications v. Mcimetro Access, No. 00-12809.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • 10 January 2003
    ...— neither to add nor to subtract, neither to delete nor to distort." 62 Cases, More or Less, Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. U.S., 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed. 566 Aside from the obvious separation-of-powers concern, there are two additional problems with judicially man......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
156 cases
  • Rosewell v. Salle National Bank, No. 79-1157
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 24 March 1981
    ...statute itself. Reiter v. Sonotone Corp., 442 U.S. 330, 337, 99 S.Ct. 2326, 2330, 60 L.Ed.2d 931 (1979); 62 Cases of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed.2d 566 (1951). See EPA v. National Crushed Stone Assn., 449 U.S. 64, 73, 101 S.Ct. 295, 302, 66 L.Ed.2d 26......
  • Texas State Com'n for the Blind v. U.S., No. 85-1954
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • 26 June 1986
    ...United States, 396 F.2d 454, 456, 184 Ct.Cl. 402 (1968) (quoting 62 Cases, More or Less Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed. 566 56 Ricker, 396 F.2d at 456. 57 Id. 58 Id. 59 20 U.S.C. Sec. 107d-3(b) (1982). 60 See 2A N. SINGER, SUT......
  • California State Grange v. National Marine Fish., No. 1:06-CV-00308 OWW DLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 27 October 2008
    ...to add nor to subtract, neither to delete nor to distort." 62 Cases, More or Less, Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 95 L.Ed. 566 (1951); Xi v. INS, 298 F.3d 832, 839 (9th Cir.2002) ("[A] decision to rearrange or rewrite [a] statute falls wit......
  • Bellsouth Telecommunications v. Mcimetro Access, No. 00-12809.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • 10 January 2003
    ...— neither to add nor to subtract, neither to delete nor to distort." 62 Cases, More or Less, Each Containing Six Jars of Jam v. U.S., 340 U.S. 593, 596, 71 S.Ct. 515, 518, 95 L.Ed. 566 Aside from the obvious separation-of-powers concern, there are two additional problems with judicially man......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Section 7 of the Clayton Act and “Control” in Bank Holding Company Regulation
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 18-4, December 1973
    • 1 December 1973
    ...noted, "control" is usedin effectiveBHCAprovisionsthatwerenotamended in 1970.31E.g., 662Casesof Jam v. United States, 340 U.S. 593, 600(1951); Addison v. Holly Hill Fruit Products, Inc., 322 U.S. 607,617 (1944). See generally, C. D. Sands, Statutes and StatutoryConstruction (4th ed. 1972). ......

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