FOOD INSPECTION DECISION 147 – The US Ban on Absinthe
This is the complete text of Food Inspection Decision 147, which effectively banned absinthe by declaring wormwood a deleterious food additive, a position which, as modern science has demonstrated, is unfounded in fact.
F. I. D. 147. Issued July 25, 1912.
United States Department of Agriculture,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY.
FOOD INSPECTION DECISION 147.
It is generally recognized in countries which have had experience with the sale and consumption of absinth that this beverage is dangerous to health. Belgium, Switzerland, and Holland have forbidden its manufacture, sale, and importation; absinth is also condemned by the laws of Brazil and its importation forbidden.
The Food and Drugs Act of June 30, 1906, section 11, forbids the importation of any food or drug which is “of a kind forbidden entry into, or forbidden to be sold or restricted in sale in the country in which it is made, or from which it is exported,” and also of any food or drug which is “otherwise dangerous to the health of the people of the United States.”
Importations of absinth into the United States, therefore, are prohibited, both because they come from countries which forbid or restrict its manufacture and sale, and because these products are injurious to the health of the people of the United States.
Section 7, paragraph 5, in the case of foods, of the Food and Drugs Act, June 30, 1906, provides further that an article shall be deemed to be adulterated within the meaning of the Act “if it contains any added poisonous or other added deleterious ingredient which may render such article injurious to health.” The beverage commonly known as absinth is a manufactured product containing wormwood, or absinth (Artemisia absinthium), an added deleterious ingredient. The interstate shipment of this product is, therefore, prohibited under this provision of the Food and Drugs Act.
The Secretary of Agriculture, therefore, will regard as adulterated under the Food and Drugs Act absinth which, on and after October 1, 1912, is manufactured or offered for sale in the District of Columbia or the Territories, or shipped in interstate commerce or offered for importation into the United States.
R. E. DOOLITTLE,
F. L. DUNLAP,
A. S. MITCHELL,
Board of Food and Drug Inspection.
Approved : JAMES WILSON, Secretary of Agriculture.
WASHINGTON, D. C., July 12, 1912.