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U.S. Supreme Court

Carolene Products Co. v. United States, 323 U.S. 18 (1944)

Carolene Products Co. v. United States

No. 21

Argued October 16, 17, 1944

Decided November 6, 1944

323 U.S. 18


The Filled Milk Act forbids shipment in interstate commerce of milk

"to which has been added, or which has been blended or compounded with, any fat or oil other than milk fat, so that the resulting product is in imitation or semblance of milk."


1. In a prosecution for violation of the Act, evidence that the defendant's compound was not nutritionally deficient was properly excluded. P. 323 U. S. 22.

(a) The Act is not to be construed as inapplicable to products in which nutritional deficiency has been corrected, although by methods developed subsequently to the passage of the Act, since the Act was aimed not only at nutritional deficiency, but also at substitution for or confusion with milk products. P. 323 U. S. 22.

(b) Thus, to control shipments in interstate commerce so as to prevent confusion, deception, and substitution is within the power of Congress under the commerce clause. P. 323 U. S. 23.

2. Though the Act applies only to products "in imitation or semblance of milk," such imitation or semblance may result from the ingredients used, and need not be the result of conscious effort. P. 323 U. S. 25.

3. As applied to the filled milk involved here, though the product be assumed to be wholesome and properly labeled, the Act does not violate the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. P. 323 U. S. 31.

(a) Judicial notice may be taken of reports of committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate which show that considerations besides nutritional deficiency influenced passage of the Act. P. 323 U. S. 28.

(b) Here, milk from which a valuable element (butterfat) has been removed is artificially enriched with cheaper fats and vitamins so that it is indistinguishable by the average purchaser from whole milk products. The result is that the compound is confused with, and passed off as, the whole milk product despite proper labeling. P. 323 U. S. 31.

(c) When Congress exercises a delegated power such as that over interstate commerce, the methods which it employs may be chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 323 U. S. 19

stricken down only upon a clear and convincing showing that there is no rational basis for the legislation. P. 323 U. S. 31.

140 F.2d 61 affirmed.

Certiorari, 321 U.S. 760, to review the affirmance of convictions of violation of the Filled Milk Act.

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