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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144 (1938)

United States v. Carolene Products Co.

No. 640

Argued April 6, 1938

Decided April 25, 1938

304 U.S. 144


The Filled Milk Act of Congress of Mar. 4, 1923, defines the term Filled Milk as meaning any milk, cream, or skimmed milk, whether or not condensed or dried, etc., 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, cream, or skimmed milk, whether or not condensed, dried, etc.; it declares that Filled Milk, as so defined, "is an adulterated article of food, injurious to the public health, and its sale constitutes a fraud upon the public", and it forbids and penalizes the shipment of such Filled Milk in interstate commerce. Defendant was indicted for shipping interstate certain packages of an article described in the indictment as a compound of condensed skimmed milk and coconut oil made in the imitation or semblance of condensed milk or cream, and further characterized by the indictment in the words of the statute, as "an adulterated article of food, injurious to the public health."

Held: chanrobles.com-red

Page 304 U. S. 145

1. That upon its face, and as supported by judicial knowledge, including facts found in the reports of the congressional committees, the Act is presumptively within the scope of the power to regulate interstate commerce and consistent with due process. Demurrer to the indictment should have been overruled. Hebe Co. v. Shaw, 248 U. S. 297. P. 304 U. S. 147.

2. It is no valid objection that the prohibition of the Act does not extend to oleomargarine or other butter substitutes in which vegetable fats or oils replace butter. P. 304 U. S. 151.

3. The statutory characterization of filled milk as injurious to health and as a fraud upon the public may, for the purposes of this case, be considered as a declaration of legislative findings deemed to support the Act as a constitutional exertion of the legislative power, aiding informed judicial review by revealing the rationale of the legislation, as do the reports of legislative committees. P. 304 U. S. 152.

7 F.Supp. 500, reversed.

APPEAL under the Criminal Appeals Act from a judgment sustaining a demurrer to an indictment.


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