Mr. Assistant Attorney General Frierson, for the United states.
Mr. Joseph S. Rosalsky, of New York City, for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
An indictment containing six counts charged defendant, Schider, with violating the Food & Drug Act of June 30, 1906 (34 Stat. 768, c. 3915 [ Comp. St. 1916, 8717-8728]), by delivering for shipment in interstate commerce food contained in a bottle plainly labeled as follows: [246 U.S. 519, 520] Compound
Jos. L. Schider & Co.
93-95 Maiden Lane, New York.
Each count alleged the article was an imitation of grape essence artificially prepared from alcohol, water and synthetically produced imitation oils and contained no product of the grape nor any added poisonous or deleterious ingredient; and that the word 'imitation' nowhere appeared.
The first count further alleged it was 'unlawfully adulterated in that an imitation grape essence artificially prepared from alcohol, water and synthetically produced imitation essential oils had been wholly substituted for a true grape product, which the article purported to be'; and the second that it was 'unlawfully adulterated in that an imitation grape essence artificially prepared from alcohol, water and synthetically produced imitation essential oils, had been mixed with the said article so as to reduce and lower and injuriously affect the quality and strength of the said article.'
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth counts, in varying ways, further alleged misbranding so as to deceive and mislead in that the label indicated a true grape product, whereas the article was not such but an imitation artificially prepared, one which contained nothing from grapes.
The trial court sustained a demurrer to each count upon the view that, properly construed the Food & Drug Act did not apply to facts stated.
Pertinent portions of the act follow:
The obvious and undisputed purpose and effect of the label was to declare the bottled article 'a compound essence of grape.' In fact, it contained nothing from grapes and was a mere imitation.
Within the statute's general terms the article must be [246 U.S. 519, 522] deemed adulterated since some other substance had been substituted wholly for the one indicated by the label; and, also, it was misbranded, for the label carried a false and misleading statement.
Defendant relies on the proviso in section 8 which declares articles of food shall not be deemed adulterated or misbranded if they are 'labeled, branded, or tagged so as to plainly indicate that they are compounds, imitations, or blends and the word 'compound,' 'imitation,' or 'blend,' as the case may be, is plainly stated on the package in which it is offered for sale.' But we are unable to conclude that by simply using 'compound' upon his label a dishonest manufacturer exempts his wares from all inhibitions of the statute, and obtains full license to befool the public. Such a construction would defeat the highly beneficent end which Congress had in view.
We have heretofore said:
And see United States v. Coca-Cola Co., 241 U.S. 265, 277 , 36 S. Sup. Ct. 573, Ann. Cas. 1917C, 487.
The stuff put into commerce by defendant was an 'imitation' and if so labeled purchasers would have had some notice. To call it 'compound essence of grape' certainly did not suggest a mere imitation but on the contrary falsely indicated that it contained something derived from grapes. See Frank v. United States, 192 Fed. 864, 113 C. C. A. 188. The statute enjoins truth; this label exhales deceit. [246 U.S. 519, 523] The trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer. Its judgment is reversed and the cause remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.