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Inspection Bureau

Know Florida

Circa 1935

The Inspection Bureau is charged with the enforcement of the following State laws:

The Gasoline Inspection Law.
The Fertilizer Law.
The Commercial Feeding Stuffs Law.
The Pure Food and Drugs Law.
The Egg and Poultry Laws.
The Citrus Inspection Laws.
The Milk and Milk Products Law.
The Frozen Desserts (lce Cream) Law.

Gasoline and Kerosene

All gasoline and kerosene prior to sale in Florida must be registered with this Bureau showing that it meets State standards. Inspectors draw samples from barges unloading in Florida ports, from storage plants and tank cars and from retail filling stations. These samples are analyzed by two traveling laboratories and by the main laboratory at Tallahassee. Adulteration or staleness of gasoline results in the immediate seizure of the product, thus preventing further sale. The mechanism of all retail gasoline stations is periodically tested for accuracy by field inspectors. Pumps not giving correct measurement are locked up until properly adjusted. This inspection service assures the quality of the gasoline and kerosene used in Florida as well as accuracy of the pumps which deliver it.


Florida farmers, truckers and fruit growers consume between four and five hundred thousand tons of commercial fertilizer annually. To protect them it is required that a fertilizer, prior to sale, have its guaranteed analysis registered with the Inspection Bureau showing exactly the percentages of plant foods it carries and the ingredients from which it is made, and must also have attached to each bag a tag attesting the registration and showing the guaranteed analysis exactly as registered.

To check up on this, thousands of samples are drawn each year by inspectors and tested by chemists in the laboratory of the State Chemist at Tallahassee. Brands which are found to fall below the guarantee registered are subject to seizure and under the Fertilizer Law, the purchaser of deficient fertilizer is allowed to collect from the manufacturer the value of the deficient goods which he has purchased. Florida has a new Fertilizer law which became effective September 1st and which provides a larger degree of truth telling about commercial fertilizers than has hitherto been practiced.

Commercial Feeds

or Commercial stock feed used in Florida aggregate 225,000 tons per year. All such feeds must be registered with the Inspection Bureau so as to give the guaranteed analysis of each, together with statement of ingredients. As with fertilizers, stock feeds are sampled wherever found for sale in the State and these triples are tested by the State Chemist. Seizure and sale of deficient products is provided as a penalty by the Feed Law. Each bag, parcel or package of commercial feed, prior to sale in this State, must have attached the official feeding stuff tag showing the same to be registered and also showing the guaranteed analysis which must exactly agree with the registration records.

Pure Food and Drugs

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of Florida follows in its main essentials the Federal law on the same subject. This Act does not require registration of foods, but it does enforce rules and regulations under which penalties are inflicted for violations as to incorrect labelling, shortage in weight, misbranding and adulteration. The samples of butter, canned meats, fruits and vegetables, breads and other bakery products, pickles, vinegar and similar edibles, are examined by the Food Analyst in the State Laboratories. Impurities, inedible properties and adulterants, when reported by the State Chemist, subject the article tested to seizure and if its quality is enough to warrant the action, confiscation and destruction is carried out by the food inspectors. In this way many tons of impure, unwholesome and possibly dangerous low grade foods are taken off the market every year and destroyed.

Eggs and Poultry

Egg and poultry laws constitute the most recent effort to protect the producer and consumer alike through State statute. Egg dealers are required to obtain a certificate authorizing them to buy and sell eggs, and they must use the label prescribed by the law showing thereon the standards of weight and quality set up by the law. The label must also indicate whether the eggs were produced in Florida, whether they had been placed in cold storage, or whether they were shipped from other States. These restrictions safeguard Florida producers against unfair competition from out-of-State shippers, and also give reasonable protection to housewives entitled to know the truth about the eggs they buy. The main feature of the Poultry Law is the requirement that all dressed fowl, prior to sale, must bear a label showing the class to which it belongs and its net weight.

Citrus Inspection Laws

These laws fix standards of maturity for grapefruit and oranges and provide for an inspection service governing their movement to the market. A subdivision of the Bureau of Inspection with headquarters at Winter Haven directs the field force necessary to supervise the packing, grading and shipment of the citrus fruit crop moving out of the State. A laboratory is maintained at Winter Haven which adds additional control through chemical examination of fruit being packed and shipped. The enforcement of these Citrus Control laws constitutes the largest single activity of the State Department of Agriculture during the fall and winter months and requires at the peak of the season, the employment of 150 or more inspectors. The importance of this work is appreciated when you realize that Florida's citrus crop has an average retail market value of around fifty million dollars per year.

Milk and Milk Products Law

The purpose of the dairy inspection as stated in the law is to give the people of Florida a safe milk supply. The law also provides that the Commissioner of Agriculture has the power to make and enforce rules and regulations to insure such a supply of milk.

The work as carried on by the inspectors has been more educational than otherwise, and for the most part has met with the full cooperation of the dairymen. Very few court cases have been made.

Instructions in the building of new barns, repairing old ones, methods of cleaning barns and all other equipment, keeping the cows clean and healthy and better methods of handling the milk have been some of the most common lines of work done.

One of the chief objects of the Act was to guard against the bringing into Florida unsafe dairy products. In order to prevent this, the Florida dairies must be of such a standard that inspection could be invited and the milk from all outside dairies that did not meet this standard could then be stopped.

The law also provides that all milk sold must be plainly labeled as to the State where produced. The purpose of this being to appeal to the patrons to use Florida milk. So well has the clean-up work been carried on that it is safe to say that no State has a supply of milk that is any better.

All herds have been tested for tuberculosis and less than one-half of one per cent reactors found and these were largely cows brought into the State.

In 1935 the frozen desserts law was passed and this law is being enforced by the State Milk Inspectors. Every dairy, milk plant and ice cream plant in the State is given regular inspection.

Since the inspection work began the herds of the State have greatly improved and increased in number. Thousands of gallons of fresh milk were shipped into the State before these regulations were adopted and at present no fresh milk is being imported.

Revenue from Inspection Work

A vital activity of the Inspection Bureau is the collection of the various inspection fees which constitute the General Inspection Fund from which is paid all of the operating expenses of the entire State Department of Agriculture , with its several subdivisions. Revenues making up the general inspection fund consist of the following:

1/8¢ per gallon on all gasoline and kerosene.
25¢ per ton on all commercial fertilizer.
25¢ per ton on all commercial feed.
4¢ per 30 dozen cases of eggs.
Inspection fees on citrus fruit, and
Fees charged for milk dealer's licenses.

Excerpt from "Inspection Bureau" Know Florida, Issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Circa 1935, pgs. 6-8.


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