U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
Skip Navigation, go to content







AMEDD MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS External Link, Opens in New Window






Chapter XX



Military Meat and Dairy Hygiene

Military meat and dairy hygiene was the defined responsibility of the Army Veterinary Service and was conducted at a professional level, paralleling the care and treatment of Army animals (1, 2, 3). In World War I, an estimated 20 percent of the veterinary personnel were utilized as inspectors of the Army's subsistence supply, but in World War II, 90 to 95 percent were so utilized. During the period from 1940 through 1945, these personnel conducted a meat and dairy products inspection service aggregating more than 142 billion pounds. The expensiveness of veterinary food inspection during a single war year was described by a veterinary officer representative of the Surgeon General's Office as follows (4):

The Army spent over two and one-quarter billion dollars for food during the past year. About 38 percent of the soldier's ration consists of meat, meat-food and dairy products. These items represent approximately 60 percent of the cost of the ration. Of all the foods consumed by the soldier, meat, meat-food and dairy products are the most dangerous to his health when contaminated or spoiled. It is for this reason that the Army maintains the strictest possible supervision over these products from the time of preparation and purchase to and including the issue to troop finesses. At the present [November 1944] the Veterinary Corps is inspecting over one-half billion pounds of foods of animal origin per month. Each day it requires about 19 thousand cattle, 27 thousand hogs, 600 calves and 5 thousand sheep and lambs to supply the Armed Forces of the United States with meat and meat products. During the year 1943 rejections prior to purchase ran 5.1 percent. The estimated equivalent monetary saving represented by the difference in value of items offered for delivery and those accepted following Veterinary Corps inspection is a very substantial figure. In this connection, it is desired to point out that the estimated equivalent monetary saving for the year 1943 exceeded the total pay of all Veterinary Corps officers and all veterinary service enlisted men on duty in the entire Army for that year.

In connection with these monetary savings, it may be mentioned that for the war period this amount was set at $88 million,1 covering more than the 1¼ billion pounds of meat and dairy products which were rejected at the time of procurement (5). Another 100 million pounds of Goverment-owned foods were rejected from issue to troop messhalls, but no monetary estimate can be made of the expected costs for hospitalization, inefficiency, and other military factors, had even only a small fraction of such foods been consumed and the troops made ill.

The veterinary meat and dairy hygiene operations were twofold in nature and operated: (1) To protect the health of troops endangered by foods which

1The estimate was determined by allowing 4 cents per pound for any or all products rejected for failure to meet grade quality as required in contractual documents and allowing the full value on products which were rejected from procurement on account of insanitary condition or unsoundness.


might be spoiled, damaged, contaminated, or otherwise unsafe and unsound for eating, and (2) in conjunction with Quartermaster Corps procurement officers to protect the financial interests of the Government by inspecting products to determine compliance with contractual requirements governing their quality and manufacture. Actually, this veterinary food inspection service was essentially sanitary in its nature. Its purpose was to protect the health of troops by preventing the procurement and issue of meat and dairy products which, by reason of their origin, nature, handling, or condition, would be unsafe or unsuitable. The animals, from which products of animal origin were obtained, were subject to many diseases directly transmissible to man, such as tuberculosis, trichinosis, Malta fever, anthrax, milk sickness, actitnomycosis, taeniasis, foot-and-mouth disease, and glanders. The food products might also become contaminated during preparation and might carry such diseases as typhoid fever, septic sore throat, Weil's disease, dysentery, scarlet fever, and diphtheria. They might also become contaminated either by the action of the bacteria present, such as Salmonella species, or by toxins produced by certain bacteria, such as the staphylococci and Clostridium botulinum. As a sanitary and preventive medicine procedure, the veterinary inspection of the Army's subsistence supply was an extension of the troop health programs maintained by the Medical Department.

The Army Veterinary Service cooperated closely with purchasing and issuing officers in assuring that the subsistence supplies they handled would comply with the requirements under which the products were procured or issued. Similarly, the Army Veterinary Service cooperated with the Transportation Corps whose officers moved the subsistence by railroad in the Zone of Interior to the ports of embarkation from whence the Army food supply chain reached into the oversea theaters. Both the Quartermaster Corps and the Transportation Corps necessarily depended on the professional and expert advice of Veterinary Corps officers who made the inspections, and, of course, the full cooperation of all concerned was needed and exercised with the view to adequately protect the Army's health and the financial interests of the Government. A special feature of veterinary inspections for quartermaster purchasing officers was the examination of products for grade quality, as well as the conducting of tests and inspections for count or weight, packaging and packing, labeling and marking, and for any other requirement set forth in the pertinent contractual documents. Usually, these examinations and the professional sanitary inspections were conducted in the same veterinary inspection procedure, but the sanitary inspections were regarded as being more comprehensive and were repeated along the entire chain of supply from procurement points to the final point of issue. Therefore, sanitary inspections were made of the products when purchased, while in storage, and when shipped or sold. Summarizing, military meat and dairy hygiene inspections constituted an official inspection and examination of foods, before or at the time of their acceptance by the Army and subsequent to procurement until  


issued or otherwise disposed of, to insure their military, sanitary, grade, and other quality features but not to exclude their nutritive values which paralleled grade quality.


Military meat and dairy hygiene included inspections of the live animals which were procured for food, dressed carcasses, and items such as meats and meat foods; poultry and poultry products; eggs; game; milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products; fish, oysters, and other seafoods; lard, lard substitutes, and edible oils; assembled rations; and other subsistence in which foods of animal origin formed a considerable part, whether these were fresh, frozen, cured, canned, or otherwise processed. Also, it included the sanitary supervision of the sources of such food products, as well as the facilities and condition of the food establishments, storage places, and carriers by air, rail, or water in which the products were processed, manufactured, stored, transported, or otherwise handled. The facilities for processing and the procedures of operation in establishments, storage places, and transport facilities which were concerned in the supply and distribution of meat and dairy products to the Army were matters of careful sanitary survey, as were the dairy herds and pasteurizing plants which supplied milk to the Army (fig. 88).

The veterinary inspection procedures applicable to meat and dairy products were considered under three headings: (1) Ante mortem and post mortem inspections; (2) inspections incident to procurement which were made to determine the quality, including type, class, and grade, the measurement, and the sanitary condition of products; and (3) continuing inspections or surveillance over the Army food supplies from procurement points up to the place of issue to troop messhalls. Information concerning the condition of subsistence supplies was obtained by conducting several classes of inspections:

     Class 1. Ante mortem inspection 
     Class 2. Post mortem inspection 
Procurement Inspection:
     Class 3. Inspection prior to purchase
     Class 4. Inspection at time of delivery on receipt 
Surveillance Inspection (of Government-owned subsistence):
     Class 5. Inspection of any receipt except purchase 
     Class 6. Inspection prior to shipment
     Class 7. Inspection at issue or sale 
     Class 9. Inspection in storage

Another class of inspection, not listed here, was class 8, or the inspection of purchases made by the Army Exchange Service, but this class is generally excluded from the regular discussions because the products technically were not a part of Army supply. Also, it must be noted that before 1943, the class 9 inspection procedure was not conducted separately but was integrated  


FIGURE 88.-Veterinary Corps officer conducting routine sanitary inspection of milk pasteurizing plant.

with surveillance inspections conducted before shipment; these two procedures were conducted and reported under the single heading of class 6, then named "inspection in storage."

Commercial Food Establishments

The preceding classification of inspection procedures, for the most part, referred to the inspection of products. However, conducted simultaneously with, and as a component procedure of, these class products inspections, there was the veterinary sanitary inspection of establishments. The term "establishments" included dairy farms, animal slaughtering plants, packing houses, cold storage plants, butcher shops, markets, warehouses, milk plants, ice cream plants, sales commissaries, railroad cars, trucks, ships, aircraft, and any other establishment or conveyance in which meat and dairy products were processed, manufactured, assembled, stored, transported, or otherwise handled, either commercially under contractual agreement or by the Army. The veterinary inspections of establishments routinely consisted of the sanitary investigation of the following matters:


Receiving facilities 
Interior construction of buildings 
Water supply, ice, plumbing 
Equipment and utensils 
Cleanliness and disinfection 
Contamination by rejected products
Disposal of byproducts 
Dressing rooms and toilets 
Handling, packing, and transporting 
Storage and issue rooms  
Other sanitary inspection agencies

The inspection procedures for commercial establishments were closely related to veterinary food procurement inspections, whereas those for Army establishments were more directly concerned with veterinary surveillance inspections.

Pursuant to the procedures of Army subsistence procurement, the awarding of contracts was limited to the commercial food establishments which had passed an Army veterinary sanitary inspection. The inspection usually was made within the calendar month preceding the opening date of bids. (Of course, establishments operating under the supervision of approved sanitary inspection agencies were regarded as Veterinary Corps approved sources.) Special administrative procedures were set up during the war for owners of commercial food establishments to forward requests for veterinary sanitary inspections of their plants, through a quartermaster purchasing office, to the commanding general of a service command, who then indorsed these requests to Veterinary Corps officers located nearest the plants. These officers, after their inspections, recommended the acceptance or rejection of the establishments to the service command headquarters which made the final decision as to listing the establishments as approved sources of supply; the purchasing officer was then advised of the final decision. This comprised the so-called initial inspection of commercial food establishments. At least once each month thereafter, the establishments were reinspected as long as they were producing under an Army contract or the owners manifested an interest in gaining the award of Army contracts. During 1944, approximately 4,000 commercial food establishments were being regularly inspected each month, exclusive of those operating under the supervision of a recognized civilian inspection agency. When the owners of approved establishments failed to maintain satisfactory levels of sanitation or did not properly correct defective operations or facilities, the inspecting veterinary officers recommended, to the concerned service command headquarters, the withdrawal of the establishments from the current list of approved sources of supply. As of June 1945, the establishments disapproved for use of the Army, because of insanitary conditions, for procuring fresh meats and dairy products totaled more than 1,100 in the United States (6). The lists of approved and of disapproved commercial food establishments were circularized between service commands and were forwarded to quartermaster contracting officers for their guidance. These veterinary sanitary inspections were di-  


rected only at the sanitary features of food manufacture, storage, and handling and were unrelated to veterinary surveys to determine the operating potential of establishments or to the blacklisting of establishments for legal reasons.

These inspections of plants and establishments were not simple procedures and were not conducted without regard to the fact that there were a variety of other inspection agencies, including the Bureau of Animal Industry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Federal Food and Drug Administration of the Federal Security Agency, and the various State, country, and city public health and agricultural authorities. However, there was not one single agency among the foregoing that performed the necessary sanitary inspections of all types of food establishments which were in the Army supply program. All were primarily engaged in the surveillance of compliances with the pertinent Federal, State, or municipal food laws and regulations under which the agencies operated; furthermore, below the level of Federal regulating controls, there were as many sanitary laws and law enforcement agencies as there were States and municipalities. None, for example, would have protected the Army's total milk supply in regard to the requirements for pasteurized milk. There were several nationally organized food industries which set up sanitary standards, but, unfortunately, these were not fully policed. It would not be fair to state that the civilian food industry's standards were not used, because some were, but the Army Veterinary Service made no agreement or other action of acceptance that could have been interpreted as formal Army approval of them.

Separate doctrines for Veterinary Corps sanitary inspections were developed, dependent upon the particular products that were being manufactured and upon the nature of the procedure involved, whether it be processing, assembling, storing, or shipping. Thus, meat plants operating under the supervision of the Bureau of Animal Industry were regularly accepted as satisfying sanitary standards of the Army, and the same was true for such of the canned oysters and shrimp plants which operated under continuous supervision of the Seafood Inspection Service, Federal Food and Drug Administration. However, milk plants, ice cream plants, and fish plants, although operating under sanitary regulations of State and local inspection agencies, were routinely inspected by the Army Veterinary Service because many laws and regulations were inadequate or were improperly enforced, even in peacetime when no real shortage of manpower existed. Some of these regulatory agencies were agricultural in nature and had no responsibility in regard to the health of the consumer public. Creameries (butter plants), cheese factories, and milk canning plants likewise were inspected for sanitation by the Army Veterinary Service before and after contracts were awarded, and the same was true for ration assembly plants, dry storage warehouses  


FIGURE 89.-Veterinary Corps officers at Perth, Australia, inspecting procurements of dehydrated vegetables made by the U.S. Navy.

and cold storage plants, and the railroad cars, trucks, ships, and other conveyances which were used to transport subsistence for the Army.

Foods of Nonanimal Origin

The Army Veterinary Service was concerned principally with foods of animal origin, or meat and dairy products, and their sources of supply. However, during the war, large quantities of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and a variety of food products other than those of animal origin were inspected (fig. 89). The wartime inspections of the Army supply of fruits, vegetables, and like subsistence items were limited generally to places where no sanitary inspection agency existed and when specifically authorized by military commanders and Army purchasing officers.

The last-named requirement was impressed on all Veterinary Corps officers in the Zone of Interior who were reporting on any inspections of foods other than those of animal origin. Thus, throughout the war, the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, advised its personnel in the field that this activity was not a regularly defined veterinary activity, that no specialized training programs would be conducted to qualify veterinary personnel as fruit and vegetable inspectors, and that where the local commanders or purchasing officers had authorized them to conduct such inspections, then this  


FIGURE 90.-Army Veterinary Service personnel in the European theater inspecting subsistence supplies for sanitary condition.

requirement would be limited to products inspection for sanitary condition only. The Surgeon General's Office was particularly interested in the suggestion made by the Office of the Quartermaster General in 1941 that, due to seasonal conditions and existing military demands for large quantities, the grading of these products was being varied by civilian inspectors (7, 8); it was held unreasonable for veterinary personnel to review the grade quality of products being delivered if the grade standards were unknown. Presumably, the suggestion was made to emphasize that quartermaster purchasing officers would discourage Veterinary Corps examinations of nonanimal foods  


FIGURE 91.-Inspecting vegetables and fruit at a U.S. general depot in England.

for grade quality but that veterinary sanitary inspections of such foods for fitness or sanitary condition were desired. In practice, it was shown, however, that better quality foods of nonanimal origin were received (following grade examinations by civilian inspection personnel and agencies) when Veterinary Corps officers check graded these products at the time of delivery and reported gross deviations from normal, acceptable standards. At about one-half of the quartermaster depots and sections of general depots in the Zone of Interior that received, stored, and distributed nonperishable subsistence, the depot veterinarians were delegated inspection responsibility over canned fruits and vegetables.

In many oversea theater commands, the Army Veterinary Service routinely inspected the supply of foods other than those of animal origin concurrently with its surveillance inspections of meat and dairy products (figs. 90 and 91). Sometimes, however, the Army Veterinary Service was requested to inspect these products only when they had deteriorated or become spoiled. Salvage procedures were then set up under veterinary supervision, and, of course, the losses then were dropped from quartermaster accountability under the provisions of veterinary certificates for food found unfit for troop issue. Under these circumstances, little could be accomplished to improve the methods and procedures for the receipt, storage, distribution, and other handling of non-animal-origin foods within the theaters such as was accomplished 


with meat and dairy products. Beginning with reports of mid-1943, the Surgeon General's Office, on request, furnished statistical data to the Office of the Quartermaster General on the losses of foods other than those of animal origin that were reported by the Army Veterinary Service in the oversea theaters (9, 10, 11). By October 1944, veterinary reports of condemnations had increased from 133,106 pounds to 714,375 pounds each month in five or six theaters, but even this was admittedly a very incomplete record of the quantities actually lost; in the 18-month period from July 1943 through December 1944, the reported rejections aggregated 5,863,199 pounds.

Veterinary Food Inspection Service Organization

The Surgeon General was responsible for obtaining and maintaining the state of health of the Army. Thus, nutritional adequacy and the fitness of all foods used by the Army were of real concern to the Medical Department. This was particularly true with respect to the supply of meat and dairy products which are capable of transmitting diseases to the human being and are in themselves favorable media for the development of viral agents. The Army Veterinary Service, as an agency of The Surgeon General, was responsible for determining whether foods of animal origin were sound, fit for human consumption, and of proper grade and sanitary quality. It did not limit itself to products inspections but also inspected the establishments where these products were processed, produced, stored, or otherwise handled. For purposes of carrying out this responsibility, the Army Veterinary Service was organized and administered in a manner somewhat paralleling the Quartermaster Corps organization concerned with subsistence procurement, storage, and distribution. In general, the Chief of the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, exercised technical and professional supervision over all subsistence inspections performed in the field by the Army Veterinary Service, this supervision being more direct in the Zone of Interior than in the oversea theater commands. In the Zone of Interior, the veterinary operating agencies or personnel actually performing the inspections included the veterinary officers who were assigned to or detailed to the field headquarters and to market centers of the Quartermaster Market Center System, the service command veterinarians, camp or station veterinarians, Army Air Forces base veterinarians, depot veterinarians, and veterinarians assigned to the Transportation Corps ports of embarkation.

The veterinary personnel who were on duty within the quartermaster center system represented the Surgeon General's Office, and, working under the officer in charge of that system, coordinated and directed the field veterinary inspections as concerned the procurement, storage, and distribution of perishable subsistence of animal origin. In each service command, the service command veterinarian, as a member of the staff of the service command surgeon, coordinated all inspection activities within the geographic limit of the command (except in areas in the immediate vicinity of depot veterinary  


detachments) and maintained close liaison with the veterinary personnel of the market center system to insure that the most effective procurement inspection service was rendered. Also, the service command veterinarian administered and supervised the inspections of establishments which were located in the areas of the service commands. At the camps or stations under the jurisdiction of service commands, the station veterinarians, normally on the staff of the station surgeon, inspected the meat and dairy products which were received for local issue to troops. This was also true at Army Air Forces bases. Usually, most items, having been received through quartermaster depots and market centers, had been inspected at their sources for grade quality and sanitary condition so that the station veterinarian reexamined such items for sanitary condition only. Of course, complete acceptance inspections were performed whenever contractual documents of the quartermaster market centers and procuring depots so specified, and on all locally purchased products, including those bought by Army exchanges and concessionaires. Other inspections made by station veterinarians included periodic checks of the products in storage locally and final inspection of the products at the time of issue to messhalls or sale. The depot veterinarians, operating directly under depot commanders, inspected the nonperishable foods of animal origin which were received, stored, and distributed at the depots and performed food procurement inspections in nearby metropolitan areas; close liaison was maintained by depot veterinarians with the service command veterinarians. To insure that the veterinary food inspection activities were standard and uniformly applied on a nationwide basis, specially selected and qualified veterinary officers were detailed, under the supervision of The Surgeon General, as traveling veterinary consultants to routinely inspect or to specially investigate and to provide assistance and instructions to service command, station, and depot veterinarians on the principles and practices of military meat and dairy hygiene inspections. This was started in the spring-summer of 1943.

In the theater commands overseas, the veterinary inspections of the Army's food supply were conducted by personnel assigned to hospital units, major and medium port headquarters, quartermaster refrigeration companies, and various other air, ground, and service forces units. Also, a large number of food inspecting personnel were placed on detached service with units such as quartermaster depots, and others were assigned to so-called provisional organizations set up within the theaters, such as base commands, service commands, island commands, base sections, and army garrison forces. However, there were two units, described in War Department tables of organization, that were specially developed and deployed in the theaters specifically for the inspection of foods. One was the veterinary food inspection detachment and the other was the veterinary detachment, aviation. The former, composed of a veterinary officer (in the grade of captain or first lieutenant) and four enlisted personnel, first appeared in September 1942 when several such units were organized and then field tested at the Desert Training Center. The original


ones were designated as lettered veterinary detachments (food inspection), but this name was changed later to a numbered medical composite section (food inspection). By mid-1945, these units were redesignated as numbered veterinary food inspection detachments. During World War II, 120 such units were activated pursuant to War Department authorization, 31 in the Zone of Interior and the remainder in the oversea theaters.

The other unit was the veterinary detachment, aviation, designed for deployment with a numbered air force. The unit was made up of two parts, the detachment or basic element and the section or augmentation element. The former provided space authorization for one officer (in the grade of major) and three enlisted personnel to be operational for an air force of approximately 25,000 troop strength, whereas the section, authorized one officer (in the grade of captain or first lieutenant) and two enlisted personnel, was designed to augment the detachment at the rate of one section for each additional 25,000 troops. During World War II, eight such numbered detachments were named for activation (the 1st through the 8th), but only five of them were organized, the latter including a total of 27 augmentation sections as follows: 1st Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, with the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 17th, 21st, 22d, 23d, and 26th Veterinary Sections, on duty with the Eighth Air Force in the European theater; the 2d Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, with the 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 25th, and 27th Veterinary Sections, on duty with the Ninth Air Force in the European theater; the 3d Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, with five subsections, in the Southwest Pacific with the Fifth Air Force; the 4th Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, with sections I and II, in the Southwest Pacific Area with the Thirteenth Air Force; and the 5th Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, with two subsections, which was on duty with the XXI Bomber Command, later the Twentieth Air Force, in the Central Pacific Area. All of these were operational before the end of 1944, and, with the exception of the 5th Veterinary Detachment, Aviation, they were organized in the oversea theaters.

In this discussion of functional organization of the Army Veterinary Service which was concerned with food inspection, several matters may be described in regard to the veterinary personnel as individuals. The inspection of subsistence is perhaps the most difficult type of inspection. A manufactured article such as the key-opening can may be tested for strength, analyzed for materiel composition, and measured for size and shape; the machine that manufactured one will manufacture others that are practically identical. Rigid contractual requirements and specifications are prescribed for these, and those cans showing a defect or fault of one kind or another are rejected. This is not true for subsistence products. No two carcasses of beef are replicas, just as there are no two disease epizootics identical. Inspection of subsistence thus remains humanized. It is a matter of piece-by-piece inspection, with the inspector determining the compliance of each piece within a variable range of requirements. Under this situation, the qualifications of  


veterinary subsistence inspector personnel necessarily were experience, alertness in the early detection of defects in products and operations, and sound judgment. Training was a valuable and necessary adjunct to these qualification factors. All veterinary officers and enlisted personnel were specially trained in military meat and dairy hygiene inspection procedures. Much may be said concerning the relations with contractors, but the following is a formal and brief comment on this important subject (12):

a. Authority.-All the weight of the Army is behind the inspector. He is entrusted with a job of vital importance and relied upon to do it well. When a large proportion of the output of a plant is contracted for by the Army, as is often the case, it is within his power to suspend the plant's operations if products do not conform [by simply halting inspection procedures]. However, he should use this power wisely, and not abuse it. Protecting the Government is his major concern, and no other interest should be allowed to interfere. But he should realize that a vendor's failure to meet a point in contract requirements is usually not a deliberate slighting but a deficiency that the inspector can indicate and have rectified in a routine manner. He should also remember that an unnecessary stoppage of production delays delivery of needed food to troops at home and at the fighting fronts.

b. Cooperation.-The inspector will in no way obligate himself to the contractor. His personal relations with the contractor, however, should be of a cooperative nature. The contractor is required to provide the inspector with desk space, locker space, space for storing Government forms, and such other facilities as are needed in the efficient operation of his work. In turn, the inspector must show consideration for the problems of the contractor. By working together they can attain their legitimate objectives with the least amount of friction.

Special rules of conduct were observed in the veterinary organizations conducting inspections in contractor plants that were generally more restrictive than prescribed in the regulations of the Army (13) and in the standard contractual documents relating to fraud. The duties of veterinary food inspection personnel varied with each situation, and, in connection with their procurement inspection activities, the duties and scope of inspection generally were set forth in the contractual documents. The more common duties were as follows: (1) Sanitary inspection of plants and establishments that produced, prepared, manufactured, stored, transported, or otherwise handled subsistence products for the Army; (2) inspection of products for sanitary condition and soundness; (3) quality inspections of products for type, class, grade, and special requirements of individual contracts; (4) submission of representative samples of products, raw materiel, basic components, or partially processed items to designated laboratories for analysis; (5) inspection of packaging and labeling, packing and marking, and strapping, and of the count or weight; (6) inspection of sanitation, icing, and storage of conveyances used to transport the products; (7) inspection of loading operations; (8) inspection of products for quantity and condition upon arrival at first destination; (9) inspection of the Army food items in commercial and Government-owned warehouses, cold storage, and any other places where such stores are received, stored, or handled; (10) maintenance of daily and other


regular records of quantities inspected, passed, or rejected, and of such other activities as were indicated; (11) reporting to immediate superiors or contracting officers on sanitary conditions, progress of production, labor conditions, and any unusual conditions which would affect contractual relations; and (12) surveillance against pilferage, sabotage, improper handling, and other actions that would contribute to food losses and unfit foods for issue to troops (12).


The veterinary inspections incident to Army procurements were purposefully made to determine both the quality, including type, class, and grade, and the sanitary condition of subsistence products and included also the sanitary inspection of commercial establishments or plants from which these meat and dairy products originated, with the exception of such plants as were operating under the supervision of a recognized inspection agency. The products were inspected upon delivery and, in addition, were frequently inspected before purchase or delivery; that is, during the processes of production, preparation, or manufacture, if the nature of the products or the interests of the Government made such inspections necessary. Thus, veterinary food procurement inspection commonly made reference to two specific procedures or classes of inspection: (1) Class 3, or inspection prior to purchase, and (2) class 4, or inspection on delivery at purchase. These were described in Army Regulations No. 40-2150:

Prior to purchase (class 3).-Inspections conducted prior to purchase are made for the purpose of determining compliance with contract requirements and the sanitary condition of the product at the time of preparation or manufacture, and are made only when the contract or other written purchase instrument makes specific provision for this inspection. Normally, provision is made for such inspection only in the case of canned, cured, or prepared products. Many packing house products such as sausage, meat loaves, etc., can be most satisfactorily inspected during preparation. The quality, condition, and proportions of the ingredients used in products of this nature are masked by seasoning and the various procedures of processing. Wherever practical, an inspection of manufactured products should be made at point of origin during manufacture. Point of origin inspection for compliance with the contract provisions and with final inspection for condition and soundness only, at destination, is sometimes provided for in the purchase instrument, when the point of origin of the product is distant from the receiving station, or when such point of origin inspection is manifestly to the advantage of the Government.

On delivery at purchase (class 4).-The inspections of products made at the time they are offered for delivery at purchase are made for the purpose of final determination as to acceptability. These will ordinarily be made at the points of delivery to the Army, such as quartermaster commissaries, depots, refrigerating plants and storehouses, docks, piers, etc., and occasionally when so specified, at points of acceptance such as contractors' plant, public cold storage plants, storehouses, etc. Products reported as inspected and passed under this inspection will be limited to those purchased with federally appropriated funds. Inspections on delivery at purchase are made of all products offered for delivery by a contractor. These products, if accepted, would be accounted for at receipt


by the preparation of a receiving report by the receiving quartermaster. The inspection certificate on this form should be signed by the veterinary officer making the inspection. This includes inspection both for compliance with specified requirements as to type, class, and grade, and for sanitary condition of the product, except in those instances in which the written purchase instrument provides for a prior to purchase inspection for compliance with specified requirements at point of preparation or manufacture and for final inspection for quantity, condition, and soundness only at time of delivery at purchase. Inspections will be made upon delivery at a station of all products purchased locally, and also of all products delivered to the station by the contractor which have been contracted for by a depot under a stipulation that the products will be delivered to the consuming station at contractor's expense, and providing for acceptance inspection at destination.

All subsistence coming into ownership of the Army was subjected to a class 4 inspection, but provision for class 3 product inspection was optional with the contracting officer, usually with the advice of a veterinary officer, and this class of inspection was conducted only if specifically provided for in the pertinent contractual document. Class 4 inspection only was the usual food procurement inspection procedure in the peacetime Army, but, during World War II, emphasis was placed on the class 3 products inspections in contractors' plants followed by the class 4 inspection which was made at the time of delivery of the finished product. In fact, by 1944, all meats and nearly all other foods of animal origin were inspected at origin or in contractors' plants and then for sanitary condition and quantity at the point of delivery. In July 1944, class 3 inspections were being made in 1,000 establishments. The term "origin inspection" or "in-plant inspection" was commonly used to indicate the class 3 product inspection, and the class 4 inspection was termed destination inspection. The latter class of inspections was conducted in depots, market centers, camps, ports of embarkation, and Army and commercial storage plants immediately upon receipt of the products from the contractors. It was a regular, prescribed procedure that no meat and dairy product would be formally received and that the civilian contractor would not be paid, until the report of the veterinary class 4 inspection was rendered (14).

When the two classes of inspection were specified in the contractual documents, the class 3 inspection included both the examination for the grade quality of the product and the veterinary professional inspection for its sanitary condition; the product which was found to be acceptable on the class 3 inspection was then reinspected when actually procured. The second part of veterinary procurement inspection, or class 4 inspection, was conducted only to determine the product's sanitary condition and count. The inspections for contractual compliance were normally required but once, as the type, class, and grade qualities usually did not change when once properly determined; however, sanitary inspections were conducted repeatedly, or on the class 4 inspection, of the same product to insure the continuance of the condition found to be correct when the class 3 inspection was conducted.  


FIGURE 92.-In Iceland, the veterinary inspection program for the fresh milk supply to the Armed Forces started with the dairy herd at the farms and continued through the milk pasteurizing plant.

When the contractual documents did not authorize class 3 inspections, the class 4 inspections included both the examination for type, class, and grade quality, and the inspection for sanitary condition. This examination for grade quality and professional inspection for sanitary condition was conducted concurrently by the same Army veterinary officer because the two procedures overlapped and blended in their essential features. In military meat and dairy hygiene, it was axiomatic that no quality grading or inspection for contractual requirements was contemplated which did not include simultaneously a professional investigation of the sanitary condition of products and the environs in which those products were handled; the combination proved to be an efficient, practical procedure and was economical in terms of costs, manpower, and unity of supervision.

The previous discussions were pertinent not only to veterinary food procurement inspections during World War II in the Zone of Interior but also to activities in the theater commands wherever the Army procured subsistence. These classes of inspections were conducted on all local procurements, such as by the Iceland Base Command (fig. 92), in Canada, in the  


FIGURE 93.-In Australia, close supervision was necessarily maintained on the processing or "cook" times and temperatures of canned meats procured for the Armed Forces.

Central and South American countries, on the African Continent, and in a great many other places. There were modifications of this procedure, however, where the U.S. forces were not subsisted on Army-procured foods. Thus, in 1942, Army troops in Australia were rationed by the Australian Army, and, in China throughout the war period, military personnel were regarded by the Allied Chinese Nationalist Government as guests and thus were housed and fed by the special Chinese Army Service Corps. There were a variety of problems in regard to the inspection of these supplies by the Army Veterinary Service; however, no objections were seriously interposed by these two foreign agencies against Army Veterinary Corps officers inspecting the products for sanitary quality. In fact, only in Australia did any real problem arise, and this originated with the senior U.S. Army headquarters staff and quartermaster procurement officers who, without reasonable argument, seemed to have permitted the health matters of the Army and business economies to be subordinated to political aspects for gaining Allied cooperation or maintaining international good will. Fortunately, this argument did not last long, and a full-scale veterinary food procurement inspectional service was soon established in Australia (fig. 93).  


Procurement Inspection Responsibility

The Quartermaster Corps was responsible for the procurement of subsistence and for insuring that such procurements conformed fully to contract and specification requirements. In the performance of this responsibility, particularly as it applied to foods of animal origin, the Quartermaster Corps was regularly assisted by the Army Veterinary Service which conducted the inspections. These veterinary inspections were usually advisory in nature, with the exception of those conducted to determine soundness and sanitation at which time the veterinary reports and recommendations were accepted as final, and the subsistence found unsound or unfit for human consumption was not procured. However, on the basis of veterinary reports of type, class, or grade quality, and quantity, the quartermaster contracting officer had the final authority to accept or reject the products. Thus, in regard to the latter, the Army Veterinary Service truly acted as a technical adviser, assisting contracting officers in the interpretation and application of contractual requirements and specifications as they applied to the products being procured. Naturally, inspection per se stood for grade quality, and, in extreme situations, procurement per se stood only for quantity. Veterinary inspectors, however, would reject everything, and contracting officers would buy anything, while the civilian contractors complicated the picture by offering everything and anything. In regard to these inspections, the following was reported (15):

* * * In this conflict between quality and quantity, inspection found itself squarely in the middle. Inspectors were bound by the legal aspects of the contract and consequently were obliged to insist upon deliveries conforming to specifications and other terms of the contract. Where conflicts between quality and quantity occurred, a compromise had to be evolved by cooperation among these three groups so that delivery of supplies would not be delayed. It mattered little how accurately and scientifically specifications were drawn if commodities were not kept up to the established standard by means of careful testing and inspection. At the same time, proper inspection, by insuring a smooth flow of adequate * * * [subsistence supplies] from production line to training camp and battlefield, constituted a vital link in the chain of * * * [subsistence] supply.

Thus, it was obvious the "duties of the veterinary officer in respect to the inspection of foods and the duties of the quartermaster officers in connection with procurement, storage, and issue are closely related" and that a "* * * spirit of cooperation and understanding of each other's duties and responsibilities must exist for efficient operation" (16).

Changes in Veterinary Food Procurement Inspections

There was considerable change in the procedures for veterinary food procurement inspections during World War II. This paralleled the changes which were made in the Quartermaster Corps procedures for procuring subsistence for the Army and, in fact, was in great part responsible for the  


successes in the quartermaster market center system and centralized procurement system for nonperishable subsistence that were evolved during the war. 

In the spring of 1941, The Quartermaster General authorized post quartermaster or purchasing officers to procure Army boneless beef for local issue purposes and to communicate directly with the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, with regard to arrangements for veterinary officers to conduct class 3 inspections in all procurements of that product (17, 18). Concurrently, changes were proposed in Federal specifications concerning carcass or wholesale market cuts of fresh or frozen beef so that the latter would be inspected, if so specified in contractual agreements, for grade quality at contractors' establishments (that is, class 3 inspection) and inspected at point of delivery or final acceptance (that is, class 4 inspection) for condition only. The procurement actions in 1940-41 were a major advance in the developing trend for class 3 inspection and were important because they antedated the veterinary inspection procedures that were set up with the start of the quartermaster market center system for centralized perishable subsistence buying. In anticipation of the demands that the growing Army would place on the newly developing system of food procurement, the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, in August 1940 and again in January 1941, requested personnel space authorizations for ordering 60 or 70 Veterinary Reserve Corps officers to extended active duty (19, 20). By that time, many contractors supplying meats to the Army were in need of veterinary class 3 inspectors at a number of widely separated establishments. It may be noted that the Surgeon General's Office remained operationally responsible regarding arrangements for the conduct of class 3 inspections; this responsibility was transferred later to the service commands.

The quartermaster procedures for perishable and nonperishable subsistence procurement were transferred from the many individual Army camps and were regrouped by the Quartermaster Corps under two rapidly developing procedures for subsistence procurement and distribution in the Zone of Interior: The centralized purchasing of nonperishable (canned) subsistence by quartermaster depots, and the quartermaster market system which was concerned with the supply of perishable or fresh food products. Thus, only one depot and one market center procured nonperishable and perishable products in a given city, and no longer were the products, previously rejected, reinspected by the Army Veterinary Service and passed for Army procurement. The more singular advantages of class 3 inspections under the new quartermaster purchasing systems were that, under wartime conditions, it operated to keep rejections at a minimum; facilitated the correction of faulty processing operations before these led to the production of substandard products; conserved labor, critical materiel, and transportation facilities; and expedited the movement of products from the establishments to camps, depots and storage areas, and ports.  


Federal and Other Specifications in Contractual Agreements

Regarding the grade quality which was mentioned so many times as comprising one of the major features of veterinary food products procurement inspection, it must be understood that this was set forth in the contractual agreements between quartermaster purchasing officers and the civilian contractors. Actually, the contractual documents most frequently did not describe the grade quality so much as they made reference to one or more specifications that did, and the specifications thus became an integral and legal part of the contract. Generally, there was a specification for each meat and dairy product which was procured by the Army, and there were other specifications, also made a part of the legal contractual documents, relative to such matters as packaging and labeling, packing and marking, and the general considerations of Army procurement procedures. These commodity specifications were of several major types: Federal specifications, which were promulgated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury; U.S. Army specifications; Quartermaster Corps tentative specifications; and, of course, the modifications of the foregoing types or certain special requirements such as were written into the contractual documents. The specifications were the basis for conducting veterinary procurement inspections concerning grade and by common practice comprised part of the regular equipment for all veterinary inspection personnel. The possession of the pertinent specification was as essential to them as was the possession and knowledge of the contractual document. Federal specifications may be regarded as governing the procurement of commodities by any or all Federal agencies which purchased them, including the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Veterans' Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Navy Department, and War Department. These, when they were first issued in 1922, were termed Standard Specifications, later U.S. Government Master Specifications, and, after September 1929, Federal Specifications.

At the beginning of the war, there were 68 Federal specifications of meat and dairy products which were cited  in contractual agreements and were the basis for veterinary inspections and grade quality. Each specification followed the same topical outline:

Other applicable Federal specifications 
Types, classes, and grades  
Material and workmanship (that is, standards of raw material)
General requirements (as to delivery)  
Detail requirements (of the various types, classes, and grades of the commodity)  
Method of inspection and test  
Packaging, packing, and marking for shipment 
Requirements applicable to individual procuring agencies

The promulgation of these specifications was the responsibility of an agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Specifications Board,  


or the Executive Committee, Procurement Division. This agency was subdivided into a variety of subcommittees such as Feeds and Forage Technical Committee and Provisions Technical Committee, whose chairmanships and memberships included, on invitation of the Federal Specifications Board or Executive Committee, representatives from civilian industry and various governmental departments. After the issuance of such an invitation, approved on 8 November 1934, by the Assistant Secretary of War (21, 22), Veterinary Corps officers who were assigned to the Surgeon General's Office were seated as permanent members of the Provisions Technical Committee and at various times were named as chairmen of such of the technical committee's subcommittees as were concerned with the development of specifications on meat and dairy products.

During the war, the developmental work on specifications was under constant study, but there were no major revisions or many newly promulgated ones; in fact, the procedures for developing Federal specifications that would meet the needs and approval of all wartime procurement agencies of the Government were generally quite slow, and the Army resorted to the development of its own military specifications for the many new kinds of food products that it procured during World War II. In fact, this military specification development was begun in 1941 at the Subsistence Research Laboratory (in February 1944, designated the Subsistence Research and Development Laboratory, and after the war, renamed the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces) at the Chicago Quartermaster Depot, Chicago, Ill. Its specifications were referred to as "Quartermaster Corps Tentative Specification C.Q.D. No.  _____." For canned meats alone more than 50 such specifications were developed (23). Each specification described in particular the raw materials, the procedures, and the testing that would be observed by the veterinary inspection personnel in the establishments which were producing these products. Near the end of the war, sample cans of these products were submitted routinely by the Veterinary Corps officer from the establishment to the quartermaster research laboratory for so-called acceptability testing, but, unfortunately, the results of this test were returned direct to the contractor and, most frequently, long after the establishment had stopped production and had shipped the product. Of course, in-plant veterinary organoleptic examinations of the end products and the chemical and other analytical tests, which were conducted at the service command medical laboratories, were completed to the satisfaction of the inspecting Veterinary Corps officer before the contractors made the shipments.

Centralized Procurement of Nonperishable Animal-Origin Foods

Before World War II, nonperishable (canned) meat and dairy products were little needed in feeding the Army, and only a few items were procured on a centralized basis. During the 1930's, canned bacon was being procured by the Chicago Quartermaster Depot for supply to the oversea departments,  


and a few other items were purchased for distribution to nearby Army camps. In 1939, the first real change to improve the Army's canned meat supply was made by the Office of the Quartermaster General when five frequently procured items were designated for central procurement and distribution by the Chicago Quartermaster Depot. However, another 2 years elapsed before the centralized procurement system for canned meat and dairy products was expanded to become effective. Actually, products such as canned corned beef, corned beef hash, meat and vegetable stew, meat and vegetable hash, pork luncheon meat, and Vienna-style sausage were quite similar to those available commercially and were obtained in their commercial forms. Inspections were made usually at the depot by examining representative sample cans of the end products that were forwarded by the contractor, and only infrequently was a depot-assigned veterinary officer ordered to temporary duty in the contractor's establishment to conduct class 3 inspections.

This peacetime inspection procedure for canned foods was halted in January 1941 when The Quartermaster General and The Surgeon General concurred in a proposal to move procurement inspection from the depots to contractors' establishments (24, 25, 26, 27). The proposal, approved by the Secretary of War on 18 January 1941, granted authorization to any or all depots which procured subsistence to communicate directly with corps area (later, service command) commanders to issue orders for the latter's Veterinary Corps officers to travel to such places as would be required in connection with class 3 inspection of foods procured for the Army. Of course, at this time nearly all depots were buying some canned meats and dairy products other than those few previously named for central procurement by the Chicago Quartermaster Depot. Effective on 1 October 1941, a new system for nonperishable subsistence procurement and distribution was set up by the Quartermaster Corps, and three depots were named as procurement points: Chicago, Ill., New York (later Jersey City, N.J.), and San Francisco, latter designated California-each being assigned the commodities it would procure. Thus, eight canned meat items, dried egg powder, dried milk powder, and canned evaporated milk were designated for central procurement by the Chicago Quartermaster Depot. (This depot also undertook the buying of certain cured and smoked products, such as bacon and ham, and of frozen boneless beef, but the procurement responsibilities for these, as perishable products, were transferred later to the new quartermaster market center system.) Canned salmon was to be centrally procured by the San Francisco General Depot; canned fruits and vegetables, and cereals were also listed for procurement by these depots as well as by the depot at Jersey City.

As the centralized procurement system for nonperishable meat and dairy products was launched, the responsibility for conducting the veterinary inspection was often transferred to another depot more closely located to the contractor's establishment. Thus, the veterinary detachment, Seattle Army


Service Depot, routinely conducted the procurement inspections for canned salmon, although the San Francisco (or California) Quartermaster Depot was designated as the procurement depot. Similarly, as the Chicago Quartermaster Depot's procurements of canned meats were expanded to 70 cities and towns, a varying number of newly developing depot veterinary detachments conducted class 3 inspections in the plants which were producing canned meats under contractual agreements with the Chicago installation. These developments did not follow those principles originally set forth in January 1941, but there was no doubt that certain procurement officers and quartermaster field installation commanders had come to the unjustifiable opinion that depot veterinary detachments were better qualified and were more appreciative of the problems in rendering the procurement inspection services than were those personnel and detachments which were under service command jurisdiction (23, 28, 29). The Office of the Quartermaster General supported this development but limited it to the extent, measured only in geographic terms, of requesting depot commanders to retain the operational boundaries of depot veterinary detachments within a 30-mile radius of their installations (30, 31). Only when the class 3 inspections were required at places 30 miles or more distant from the depot conducting the inspections did The Quartermaster General recommend that the depot desiring the inspection request the services of veterinary personnel from the service commands.

Another major inspection problem relating to nonperishable subsistence was that the Procurement Division, Chicago Quartermaster Depot, was without direct veterinary representation, and problems of inspection at contractors' plants were belatedly answered, sometimes by the meat buyers themselves. Not infrequently, contract provisions were changed without proper notification to inspecting Veterinary Corps officers, and the Quartermaster Subsistence Research and Development Laboratory added to the complexity by setting forth requirements on production in the plants. In the Zone of Interior, service command veterinarians were especially critical of the inflexibility of procurement inspection actions imposed by the Chicago Quartermaster Depot (32, 33, 34), and it was not until the last year of the war that the professional and technical problems of inspection relating to canned meat and dairy products procurement were handled in a manner comparable to that evolved by the quartermaster market center system for inspections of perishable foods. Eventually, however, the depot veterinarian, Chicago Quartermaster Depot, gained direct representation on the staff of the depot's Procurement Division and rendered professional and technical assistance on nonperishable food procurement inspections.

As to the extent of canned meat and dairy products procurement inspections, it may be noted that contractors for canned meats alone numbered 135; these had approximately 20 branch plants, located in 70 or more cities and


towns throughout the United States. Between August 1941 and June 1945, procurements from these sources totaled 3,580,617,869 pounds of canned meats:



(August through December) 












(January through June)




This quantity included 221,148,305 pounds purchased by the Quartermaster Corps for the U.S. Navy, under a coordinated Army-Navy procurement program that began in June 1942.

Quartermaster Market Center System

To facilitate the procurement and distribution of perishable foods, the Quartermaster Corps formulated its market center system in April 1941 (35, 36, 37). Under this system, The Quartermaster General established and maintained purchasing offices in various parts of the United States, designated as quartermaster market centers, to purchase perishable food in the important city markets and to spread the purchases geographically as widely as was possible. At the onset, only fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables were procured by the market center system, but, in mid-1941, The Quartermaster General indicated that other food items would soon be designated for procurement by the market centers. Thus, on 6 October 1941, the first food items of animal origin, butter, cheese, eggs, and poultry, were added to the procurement schedules. By this time, 29 quartermaster market centers had been established and were accomplishing perishable food procurement for approximately 100 Army camps throughout the United States. In effect, the market center system of buying replaced the peacetime purchasing system for fresh meat and dairy products by separate Army camps and airfields, many of which by this time had expanded or were so located that the city markets in their vicinity were too small to meet their needs. Under the market center system, these installations made their needs known to a specified market center where arrangements were then made for procurement and delivery. In this manner, there was an equitable distribution of perishable meat and dairy products to all Army camps and airbases in the United States, regardless of their location and without respect to the availability of such supplies in nearby city markets.

The market centers were controlled by The Quartermaster General who established, on 16 June 1941, the Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, Office of the Quartermaster General (38), with station in Chicago, under which these market centers actually operated. On 2 October 1941, a Veterinary Corps officer was assigned to this central headquarters for market


centers to act as the technical adviser on veterinary inspection procedures; he acted informally also as a representative of the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office (39). After that time, veterinary officers were assigned to a few of the market centers, but, for the most part, the latter depended on the additional duty assignments of veterinary officers from a nearby Army camp under service command jurisdiction or from a quartermaster depot to act as market center veterinarians. Their duties were to coordinate and process the requests for veterinary inspections and to review the reports of inspections which were conducted for the market centers. The actual inspection workload at procurement points, cold storage plants, and other establishments concerned in the Army's perishable subsistence supply was carried on by the Army Veterinary Service with service commands, with quartermaster depots and sections of general depots, and infrequently by Army Air Forces veterinary personnel. It was not intended that the market center system would have any large numbers of veterinary personnel assigned to it but rather that it would utilize the services of those already assigned to the Army camps, depots, airbases, and other military installations to do the actual work. Significantly, the latter also were called upon, as shown previously, to inspect in the nonperishable subsistence supply system.

This utilization of Veterinary Corps personnel to inspect for the quartermaster market center system originated with a proposal agreed to by The Quartermaster General and The Surgeon General (40, 41, 42, 43). On 17 October 1941, The Adjutant General authorized officers in charge of the market centers to call on service commands (then designated corps areas) who would arrange for their assigned Veterinary Corps officers to travel to places of inspections in commercial food establishments. It will be recalled that earlier, in January 1941, depots procuring nonperishable food products were granted similar authorizations. In November 1941, The Quartermaster General authorized the market centers to call on depot veterinary detachments to provide class 3 inspections of meat and dairy products in the vicinity of their depots.

In February 1942, market center operations were expanded to the procurement of meats and meat food products, and, in March 1942, fish and seafoods were added to this procurement list. Frozen boneless beef, war ham and bacon, and war-style lard were transferred from the Chicago Quartermaster Depot to the procurement responsibilities of the market centers in the fall of 1942; fresh milk and cream were added in February 1944 (fig. 94). By mid-1943, the number of market centers had increased to 37; these distributed foods to more than 500 installations and for shipment overseas. The Army market centers served not only Army posts, but also the Navy, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, and War Relocation Authority. The Army scheduled its procurement of these products in harmony with seasonal production and stored some perishable food items, such as eggs,  


FIGURE 94.-Preparation of frozen boneless beef for procurement by market centers.

cheese, and butter, for consumption in slack seasons of production. During 1944, the market center system also took over the purchase of canned butter and Army spread, canned process cheese, and canned chicken and poultry. From the start of the quartermaster market center procurement program to 31 December 1945, meat and dairy products aggregated 13,420,247,886 pounds with a value of $3,359,329,365 (5). Actually, procurement inspection of products for current consumption was only a part of the veterinary food inspection services for the market center system. There were large-scale programs for the procurement of seasonal products to be held in storage for distribution later. Thus, in connection with butter, the headquarters veterinarian of the market center system indicated:

A large butter storage program started May 1943, and required much work of the Veterinary Section of this office and the inspectors in the field. This program resulted in approximately 42 million lbs. of butter being placed in storage. In addition, in July 1943, the Dairy Products Marketing Association offered 36 million lbs. of butter to the Armed Forces. This product was located in 106 cold storages in all parts of the country. Requests for inspection of this butter were handled like requests for inspections of all other products of animal origin. The inspection work was completed in approximately 20 days, with 28,500,000 lbs. being accepted. The Dairy Products Marketing Association


also offered 20,879,035 lbs. more butter on 1 December 1943 and 5 million lbs. more on 11 December 1943. This product was stored in 51 cities in 22 States. Requests for inspection were forwarded as usual, and with the exception of a few places where there was a labor shortage, the inspections were completed in the 20 days allotted for the inspection and reporting of same. Inspection was requested every 30 days on all butter held in storage, and was also requested when bulk butter was removed for printing and shipment to final destination, or return to storage.

During the calendar year 1944, 100 million lbs. of butter were purchased under set­aside orders and stored as Government property.

Major Procurement Inspection Problems

The major problems relating to procurement inspection were the questionable inspections made on class 3 and class 4 inspections, the grading activities by the Agricultural Marketing Service, and the developing controversy over geographic areas of inspectional jurisdiction between depots and service commands. The last-named problem has been outlined and discussed in preceding paragraphs.

Mention must be made of the Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and its utilization coequal with the Army Veterinary Service to determine the grade quality of meat and dairy products which were being procured by the quartermaster market center system. Since about 1916, this civilian agency (then called the Bureau of Agricultural Economics) had been developing standards for grades of beef and other meats in connection with its market-reporting system; in 1927, for the first time, that agency actually undertook the grading of beef in commercial food establishments, limited to nine large city markets (44, 45). In 1932, product grading services in 14 central markets were extended to include butter, cheese, eggs, and dressed poultry and rabbits. By law, the Federal grading was made only on products when offered for interstate shipment or when received at important central markets, and then only when specifically requested on a particular shipment or lot. At the beginning of the war, the agency's field inspection forces were small and were limited to operations in the large city markets, and relatively few members of the Nation's food industries voluntarily applied for its grading service.

In 1941, when the quartermaster market center system undertook the procurement of poultry, butter, eggs, and cheese, either this agency or the Army Veterinary Service was designated to determine the grade quality of these products at points of origin, the selection of one or the other being the choice of the contractor. A variety of complaints, including charges of duplicate inspections, were soon made against the Army Veterinary Service. These complaints were made to appear worse by the confusion that was allowed to persist that the determination of grade quality by the Agricultural Marketing Service was comparable to Army Veterinary Corps inspection which featured both sanitary inspection procedures and grade determination; that is, the Agricultural Marketing Service was truly not an inspection agency.


The Federal grading agency continued to be forced upon the food industries during the war period as the result of the development of wartime price control regulations which provided for price schedules dependent on the product's grade quality; it was a feature of economics and was not the least concerned in sanitary quality control. Even the highest graded cheese or dressed poultry could originate from tuberculosis-infected milk herds or poultry flocks. For example, its definition of grade standards for Swiss cheese was footnoted with the statement "grading certificates shall not be deemed to represent that the product graded meets this definition and shall not excuse failure to comply with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or any other Federal regulation" (46). This was the difference between grading and veterinary inspection.

A common complaint was the number of rejections by the Army Veterinary Service of delivered products which had been previously quality graded by the Agricultural Marketing Service. Of course, there was no general appreciation of the fact that the product grading may have been correct both at origin and destination or that it was entirely possible for perishable food commodities to deteriorate to the next lower grade after the Agricultural Marketing Service grading was originally conducted. This controversy was compromised by the reinspection procedures that were established by the quartermaster market center system, as follows (47):

Where any of the food items indicated above [i.e., butter, eggs, cheese, and poultry] are inspected at point of origin by an inspector of the Agricultural Marketing Service and are found on inspection at receipt to be not the grade contracted for, the vendor will be notified and, if he so desires, may request a reinspection. In such event, the Quartermaster Marketing Center which made the contract will be immediately notified. On request of the Officer in Charge of the Marketing Center, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will send a qualified representative to the camp, post, or station to reinspect the shipment in question. At the same time, the Officer in Charge of the Quartermaster Marketing Center will immediately make request to the Commanding General of the corps area in which the post or camp is located for the detail of a specially selected and qualified veterinary officer to make a reinspection at the same time as that to be made by the representative of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

While the Agricultural Marketing Service representative and the veterinary officer will make their inspections independently, it is expected that they will compare notes of their findings and discuss same before rendering their reports. The result of this reinspection will be accepted by the receiving Quartermaster as being conclusive as to grade unless it should happen that the Agricultural Marketing Service representative and the veterinary officer making the reinspection do not agree. In this event the receiving Quartermaster will consider the certificate rendered by the representative of the Agricultural Marketing Service and the report of the veterinary officer and make final decision as to whether he will accept or reject the contested shipment.

In all cases where the reinspection by the Agricultural Marketing Service representative and the veterinary officer substantiate the station veterinarian in his initial inspection, the cost of the reinspection will be assessed against the contractor, otherwise it will be borne by the Army.


Although the Agricultural Marketing Service was recognized by the market center system throughout the war period, the previously mentioned disagreements did not occur frequently after the first few months because the civilian contractors generally resolved the matter by requesting Army Veterinary Corps inspection on products being prepared in their establishments for Army delivery. Significantly, only the market center procurements of eggs, butter, cheese, and poultry were involved; the Agricultural Marketing Service posed no grading problem in regard to meats and meat products because these were quality graded solely by the Army Veterinary Service as were all other foods of animal origin, including fish, seafoods, and dairy supplies.


Surveillance inspections included the veterinary inspections made to determine the soundness and sanitary condition of Government-owned food products and the sanitary conditions of the places of receipt, storage, and other handling, including warehouses, cold storage plants, and storerooms on Army transports, ships chartered by the Army, and other carriers which handled, stored, or transported foods for the Army. The inspections were made as required on the receipt of Government-owned foods at a station, Army supply point, or in the field, and before transshipment, during storage, at time of issue, or at such other times as were judged to be necessary. Products subject to reclamation, pursuant to the guarantee provisions of contracts, were, in addition, inspected just before the expiration date of the guaranty period. Surveillance inspections were conducted repeatedly on the same products along the entire supply chain to insure the continuance of their soundness and sanitary condition between the time and places of procurement and issue. Although these surveillance inspections were primarily directed at the sanitary features of products and their environs, they also served to conserve food. They were the means of detecting the early signs of deterioration in quality and made it possible to utilize the product before deterioration had progressed to the point that it could not be used. In these activities, the Army Veterinary Service acted as technical and professional advisers to the surgeons who protected troop health, to quartermasters who received, stored, and issued the foods, to the transportation officers who moved the foods, and to the engineers who constructed and maintained the warehousing and cold storage facilities. Only the Army Veterinary Service, as a single agency, could relate the complete, continuous history of the Army's meat and dairy products from the places of manufacture or procurement to the issue points.

Inspection of Any Receipt of Subsistence Except Procurement

Of the several classes of veterinary surveillance inspection procedures, the class 5 inspection, conducted on Government-owned food products when  


FIGURE 95.-Without adequate packing, subsistence arriving overseas became almost worthless.

received from another military installation or other agency, was especially important. It was conducted to determine the sanitary condition of Army products at the time of their receipt at depots for storage, at ports for oversea shipment, at supply points for redistribution, or at stations and airbases where they were to be issued. Usually, the inspections related to products received from another military installation, but some of these products were received direct from the contractors' establishments, as in the instances of shipments of canned meat and dairy products to the ports which had neither the time nor the facilities for full veterinary class 4 inspections. The ports of embarkation in the Zone of Interior became particularly concerned with inspection reports which were rendered on the receipt of products overseas, because the reported losses often pointed out defects in packaging, packing, or the methods of handling subsistence between the United States and the oversea theaters (fig. 95). Also, if the oversea receipt inspection revealed deterioration or spoilage of products, then a reasonable basis existed for an inquiry to be made of the shipping officer who may have shipped deteriorated subsistence or for an investigation to be made to determine the liability of


FIGURE 96.-Aerial port of embarkation for perishable subsistence supply in India, March 1944.

the commercial carrier or Army transportation agency. The class 5 inspection was also a means for reviewing the efficiency of veterinary inspection procedures at the original shipping points (or class 6 inspection).

Inspection Before Shipment

Veterinary class 6 inspection, or the inspection before shipment, was conducted to assure the shipment only of meat and dairy products which were sound and fit for issue to troops (fig. 96). Within the definition of establishments, the conveyances that were used to transport subsistence for the Army also were inspected for suitability and sanitary condition. Conveyances meant railroad cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes. Thus, class 6 inspections referred principally to sanitary inspections of products and of the conveyances. During World War II, veterinary personnel were requested to technically supervise the methods used in the loading or stowing of subsistence, particularly of refrigerated cargo.

In the inspection of perishable meat and dairy products at contractors' establishments and commercial warehouses, the concerned veterinary officers were advised specifically to closely supervise the precooling and loading of railroad cars and trucks as well as the sanitary condition of the conveyances,  


their icing, insulation, refrigeration equipment, ventilation, and the methods of piling and bracing the cargo or loads. Special protective service instructions were issued by Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, Chicago, Ill., relative to the conditions for shipping perishable products, and it became a requirement for contractors and warehousemen to have the manifest of loads placed inside the cars and trucks by veterinary personnel, before their sealing, to insure that these instructions were being followed (48, 49, 50). A variety of publications by the Association of American Railroads were utilized in observing the methods of loading, bracing, and blocking shipments of nonperishable subsistence; these included such matters as tight stowage, even height of the loads, and blocking doorways of full loads or bracing partial loads with bulkheads (or gates). Minimum carloads of canned subsistence were established at 60,000 pounds. At destination, the subsistence-carrying conveyances were inspected for condition, including the security of the seals, the quantity of ice in bunkers, the opening temperatures, evidences of improper loading practices, and any off condition of the products that might have been caused by neglect or other action by the shippers or carriers.

At the ports of embarkation and cargo ports, the Army Veterinary Service played an important role as advisers to the Transportation Corps in the outmovement of subsistence to the theaters overseas. Pursuant to AR 40-2055, port veterinarians were responsible for conducting the inspections of products before their loading on Army transports, chartered ships, or other vessels transporting meat and dairy products for the Army; also, they recommended and, wherever practicable, supervised the methods employed for correcting sanitary defects. Perishable subsistence, in particular, presented a major shipping problem, and, in 1943, the Office of the Chief of Transportation addressed a circular of instructions on some few aspects of the procedures and inspection responsibilities at the ports, as follows (51, 52):

1. It has been brought to the attention of the Chief of Transportation that refrigerated cargo has been received at overseas destination in unusable condition. The storage history of the product prior to loading and the elapsed time of the movement will have an effect upon the condition of the product at destination. Any product which is not thoroughly frozen when loaded may be expected to deteriorate en route, because the refrigeration capacity of the carrier is not sufficient to complete the process of freezing and lower the product temperature. Proper attention needs to be given to stowage, for an even distribution of refrigeration throughout the load. Correctly designed and installed floor dunnage and wall stripping to prevent direct transfer of heat from those surfaces to the product are also very important.

2. Inspection of perishable subsistence at shipside, prior to loading in refrigerated cargo, should be made carefully to assure that the product is in proper condition for shipment. Frozen perishable subsistence should be in a hard-frozen condition, and any such product found at this time to be in a defrosted condition or showing any signs of softening shall be rejected and moved to storage for further freezing. The Office of the Quartermaster General, in Field Headquarters Administrative Memorandum No. 41, 22


April 1943, has issued instructions to assure arrival of frozen subsistence in proper condition at the ports.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

6. It will be understood that the importance of this subject cannot be overemphasized when plans call for much of this perishable cargo to go into storage at destination for periods up to and exceeding ninety days.

Other paragraphs of this document set forth the recommended temperatures of the products at the time of loading and those desired in the refrigerated spaces in ships while en route.

The special conditions at ports, leading to food losses in the oversea stockpiles, included the squeezing pressure exerted by nets and slings, the shocks sustained as the cargo nets hit the pier or bottom of the ship's hold, and the rough handling by the stevedores who worked on top of the cases while the hold was being filled or who dropped or slammed them into a pile. Of course, there was always the constant problem of slow loading so that refrigerated cargo often thawed out or lost its chill on the piers; in some areas, ship loadings and unloadings were conducted at night to avoid the heat of the tropical sun, and inclement weather conditions disrupted or delayed loading schedules. However, one of the most common causes of damage to cases of subsistence and of outright food losses occurred from the use of cargo nets, in lieu of platform slings, to load or discharge products such as shell eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables; also, frozen meats and poultry packed in wirebound wooden boxes fared poorly from the distortion and crushing effects of the nets. Since all shipping space seemed to beg filling, containers were placed under heavier loads or squeezed in between. During the voyages, there were the added factors of shifting cargo, damp salt air, and temperature changes. Cargo transferred from ships to lighters or landing craft received especially rough handling when the boats were in a rough sea. Unskilled native labor, unconcerned about the importance of the job, compounded the damage.

In-Storage Inspections

One of the more important classes of veterinary surveillance inspection procedures was the class 9 inspection, or the inspection of Army subsistence while in storage. Essentially, it was an innovation of the war period in regard to fresh products. In peacetime, practically no fresh meat and dairy products were stored longer than from a few days to 2 or 3 weeks, and any deterioration or spoilage could be uncovered during the inspection at time of issue. The quartermaster market center system was particularly concerned with the veterinary sanitary inspections of products in storage, but the quartermaster depots in the Zone of Interior lagged in recognizing their importance. The in-storage inspection was routinely regarded as a matter of command responsibility wherein the veterinary inspections would be conducted on specific request of the concerned accountable officers (53), but  


FIGURE 97.-Veterinary in-storage inspections of subsistence at an Army depot in the United Kingdom, 1944.

more often-and this was particularly true for storage holdings of perishable foods by the quartermaster market centers in the Zone of Interior and of both perishable and nonperishable subsistence stores in the oversea theaters-the responsibility for conducting in-storage inspections was delegated to the Army Veterinary Service, and the latter scheduled its own workload for conducting such inspections (fig. 97). The in-storage inspections were conducted usually at 30-day intervals, for the purpose of conserving subsistence by timely recommending the utilization of products showing beginning signs of deterioration or of those items held longest in storage, and for the improvement of defective storage facilities and procedures. No subsistence was really nonperishable, even under ideal storage conditions, because all products undergo deterioration and harmful changes rendering them, in whole or in part, unfit for food purposes. Another in-storage inspection, but one closely related to food procurement inspection, was the inspection of canned subsistence before the expiration of the so-called recovery period (usually a year for practically all canned meats) during which the civilian contractors, pursuant to contract requirements, made replacements in kind or compensated the Army for losses incurred because of defective materials or workmanship or faulty cans; infrequently, contractors exempted themselves by granting invoice discounts of one-half of 1 percent to cover normal losses. Of course, during the war there was no recovery action on subsistence after it was shipped overseas.


The importance of in-storage inspections and the quantities of food involved can be appreciated by the fact that the Army could not procure its needs on a hand-to-mouth basis. Approximating the weight of the ration at 5 pounds of food per day per soldier and the maintenance of a 90-day supply level in the Zone of Interior and a 9-month supply which would assure uninterrupted deliveries of food to the theater troops, an estimate has been made that a military force approaching that of World War II would have to have on hand every day 11 billion pounds of food (54); to these operating stocks there would have to be added the production reserves for products of seasonable availability and the emergency reserves. A part of this daily stock was in transit, but the larger share was stored at various points along the chain of Army subsistence supply. Of this total quantity, 38 percent would be meat and dairy products, but meat and dairy products represented 60 percent of the cost of the Army ration.

Within the depots in the United States, the Army Veterinary Service generally encountered no serious losses among the canned meat and dairy products newly arriving from contractors' plants. Of course, there were shipments in which the railroad cars had been "humped" at a terminal, and the cases and cans were seriously damaged and bent during the unloading of the cars; the latter were set aside for special veterinary inspection, repacking, and early redistribution, generally to a nearby Army installation. A major reason for relatively low rates of subsistence losses was the fact that the depots resorted to the use of forklift trucks and other mechanical materiel-handling equipment. This, together with extensive utilization of pallets, constituted the most significant Quartermaster Corps development of the war in regard to the handling and storing of supplies and resulted in considerable savings of manpower, warehouse space, handling time, and damages over the older manual system. An unfortunate practice, however, was the tendency to develop piles which were too high, causing the cases of canned foods at the bottom to be crushed or collapsed. The hazards to safety of personnel by leaning or toppling stockpiles and overloading beyond the prescribed maximum weight for warehouse floors generally became the real reasons for stabilized stacking and for limiting the height of the stacks. During the war, the turnover of subsistence in the Zone of Interior depots was generally rapid so that the Army Veterinary Service encountered no serious problems with stock rotation. Overseas, to the extent that it was possible, stock rotation or policy for the issue of oldest stocks first generally was followed; obviously, only the newest and best on hand was selected for shipment with task forces or for long-time reserve storage. In order to maintain the proper fluidity (or prevent separation of the solids) in evaporated milk, the cases were turned over periodically.

As the result of the depot use of pallets, which were small wooden platforms constructed to provide clearance for the entry of the forks of the lift truck, quartermaster studies were made on the development of palletized


units of subsistence, and some thought was given to the requirement that civilian contractors should ship their products to the depots as palletized units. In the Pacific theaters, palletized unit loading of subsistence was advanced, and sledlike pallets were used to bring supplies ashore to the beaches during the combat phase. On Oahu, T.H., a veterinary officer developed a palletized unit load of canned soups, fruit juices, and other foods desirable or needed in the feeding of wounded patients that was used at frontline or beach first aid stations and hospitals. It must be recognized, however, that palletized loads of subsistence cases, whether held together by metal strapping or by adhesive, were difficult and costly to disassemble for inspection of the components and then to reassemble.

Actually, subsistence losses at the depots in the Zone of Interior were negligible only insofar as these concerned newly procured subsistence and its storage in warehouses. Losses and subsistence damage occurred when the depots, because of the lack of warehouse space, stored the canned foods in open or uncovered areas and in sheds roofed but without side walls. Infrequently, these stockpiles were not properly built on floor dunnage to protect against flooding, were tightly wrapped with tarpaulin without a peaked­roof structure to facilitate the drainage of rainwater and to provide air circulation, and were maintained under extremely adverse conditions of summer heat and freezing weather. Another feature of veterinary reports on subsistence losses in depots was their references to subsistence which, as excess to the needs of Army camps, was returned to depot stocks. Large quantities of these returned foods were found to be deteriorated or spoiled as the result of their age or mishandling in the camps. Other shipments were received from offshore Army bases, particularly from the Alaskan area after the Aleutian campaign. During 1943, more than 70,000 cases of field ration C were returned to the Columbus Army Service Forces Depot from the Newfoundland Base Command; 97 percent of the M-units (meat) in 40,000 cases were found to be sound and suitable for issue after reconditioning. Some returned shipments were freed of most of their spoiled foods before shipment from these bases, and others were not. At one or more depots, the Army Veterinary Service supervised reclamation operations and repacking crews to prepare the returned subsistence for redistribution in the Zone of Interior.

Most of the Army's supply of meat and dairy products that were handled by the quartermaster depot system were stored in Army facilities, and there was no large-scale commercial storage program such as was established for the warehousing of canned fruits and vegetables or by the quartermaster market centers for the holding of perishable subsistence in commercial cold storage plants. However, some canned meats, fish, evaporated milk, and dried eggs were placed in commercial dry storage warehouses, but the Office of the Quartermaster General did not encourage the inauguration of veterinary surveillance inspections over these stored items (23).


When, in early 1943, it became necessary to place considerable quantities of canned meat products in commercial storage, the Chicago Depot [which was accountable for these stores] became alarmed because these shipments were going in and out of warehouses without being checked upon, and sought approval of a plan for further Veterinary Corps inspection of the commercial storage stocks. The Office of the Quartermaster General replied [in February 1943], however, that since the meats stored in public warehouses were inspected before storage and usually remained in storage a relatively short time, the expense of routine inspections would be greater than the benefits. The practice of noninspection of such stock [and for sanitary condition of commercial warehouses] was followed for some time, although there was evidence that it was unwise. Toward the end of the year 1943 a practice of making spot inspections of canned meat stores shipped from commercial warehouses * * * to other depots or ports was adopted. The Depot also recommended that canned meats kept in commercial storage for extended periods should be given a spot inspection every 90 days. The spot inspection given prior to shipment was only to determine that shipping containers were in good condition and properly strapped.

Under the procedures which were set up with regard to the utilization of commercial warehousing, there was no inspectional program except that which the civilian storage contractors conducted for reporting overages, shortages, or damages, and their charges for recooperage of damage containers. These contractors were also authorized to determine whether damaged canned foods were causing an unsanitary condition in the warehouses and, if so, to destroy them.

Of course, there was little concern over in-storage inspections of Army canned products in the Zone of Interior because of their inherent stability or so-called storage life, and they were classified as nonperishable. Canned meats had excellent keeping qualities if stored at temperatures ranging from 40° to 70° F., for periods up to 4 or 5 years or for a somewhat shorter period of time if the canned meat products contained fruit or vegetable constituents. Where the temperatures fluctuated, and especially if it exceeded 90° F., the storage life was considerably shortened; alternate freezing and thawing of canned meats also shortened the storage life and seriously damaged the texture and palatability in those canned meats containing starchy products. It may be mentioned that the latter, and the canned evaporated milk as well, were not always sterile. Though this problem of sterility was actually one of production control at time of procurement, mention must be made that studies were made to determine safe processing (cooking) procedures for canned meats and that some real consideration was given to define a sterile evaporated milk product in Federal specifications.

The storage of perishable subsistence offered a variety of technical problems that were quite different from those encountered in the storage of canned food products. Of course, there were many of the same basic problems such as the economical use of floor space and stacking methods, lot identification, and sanitary practices in and about the cold storage plants, but these were compounded by the factors of frequent and rapid handling into and out of the refrigerated rooms, and of the holding temperature and


humidity, and keeping qualities of the products. The Army Veterinary Service conducted in-storage inspections at the Army cold storage plants located in the camps and stations and at the distribution points and commercial cold storage plants which received, stored, and handled perishable food for the quartermaster market center system. The inspections of refrigerated warehousing in the Army camps and stations were accomplished routinely as a part of station veterinary service. Beginning in January 1941, a construction program was begun by the War Department for building new cold storage plants at 46 Army camps, but a great many antiquated plants were continued in operation. Other camps had no cold storage plants, utilizing refrigerated railroad cars as points of issue to troops. In the latter instances, the station veterinarians set up a products surveillance inspection program that was closely related to the inspections of the products at the time of issue.

By the end of 1942, the need for long-range storage of perishable subsistence in the vicinity of the ports of embarkation and cargo ports where large stocks had to be maintained to load out refrigerator ships for oversea destinations had become obvious. Equally important was the factor of seasonable availability of products, such as eggs, butter, and cheese, which had to be stockpiled in order to be available to meet military needs for a whole year. Thus, beginning in early 1943, shell eggs, butter, and cheese were procured under long-range storage programs of the quartermaster market center system. Later in 1943, poultry and boneless beef were stored. Most of the products were placed in commercial cold storage plants and handled generally by the plant employees. All plants were subjected to a complete veterinary sanitary inspection before Army subsistence was stored in them, and the stored products were inspected routinely, at least once every 30 days.

Because perishable products of animal origin were stored in more than 500 cold storage plants in all sections of the country and involved as much as 400 million pounds at one time, it became very essential to determine that the products were properly stored and that correct temperatures and humidity were maintained and to assure that no lot deteriorated to such an extent that it could not be issued as fit for human consumption. This procedure was considered so valuable that detailed reports of the in-storage inspections were made routinely each month to the market center property officers. In this manner, subsistence showing evidence of beginning deterioration was placed in distribution channels before spoilage occurred. Fortunately, no great losses were experienced; in fact, as the result of the veterinary in­storage inspection and reporting procedures, losses encountered by the property officer, Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, during the peak of buying and storing were less than five one-thousandths of 1 percent. Where losses occurred as the result of actions by plant owners, the contracting officers, of course, could initiate claims. The commercial plants were often in widely scattered locations, and, at times, plant operators undertook


to receive or ship products without proper notice to the inspecting veterinary personnel. Also, many of the establishments were antiquated and frequently experienced operating difficulties when attempts were made to convert the "chill space" into freezer units as the Army shifted emphasis to the use of frozen foods.

Inspection of refrigerated subsistence destined for oversea shipment emphasized the test of the product's sanitary condition and of the packing. Overall, the procedures for inspecting refrigerated subsistence involved a great deal of coordination between the market center, port, and service command veterinary personnel. For example, the products being shipped through the New York Port of Embarkation were stored, at one time, in 70 or more plants located outside of the immediate port area, in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and Syracuse. On call of the New York quartermaster market center, the veterinary personnel nearest to the cold storage plant inspected the carlot or truckload shipments which were moved direct to the ship loading docks and piers. A shipside sanitary inspection was conducted also, where products-if for some reason or other not in proper condition-could be turned back. Sometimes, a 3- to 5-day period of continuous operations was required to load out a "reefer" ship-these veterinary inspectional procedures being conducted throughout. The loading-out inspection of non­perishable subsistence was just as complete but did not require as close coordination and constant veterinary supervision. Of course, usually more than one ship was being loaded out at any given time. The same filler (or backup storage) and port inspectional activities were operated at the other ports of embarkation, and at San Francisco the loadings became a joint Army-Navy operation in which storage holdings and preshipment inspections were conducted by the Army Veterinary Service regardless of the destinations of the ships. In the Central Pacific Area, the Army furnished the food from its storage holdings, and the Navy the shipping, to ration all Armed Forces personnel in the combat areas and on the advanced island bases.

Overseas, the in-storage inspections concerned subsistence which was vastly different from that inspected at the depots, distribution points, commercial dry storage warehouses, and cold storage plants in the Zone of Interior. For example, it was several months older, had been handled as many as 15 to 50 times (sometimes by native laborers, and frequently crushed and squeezed), transported under suboptimal conditions, and then exposed to varying climatic conditions (in the arctic cold or tropical heat and where it was dry or humid) and stored in the open or in temporary warehouses and portable refrigerators (fig. 98). Some stockpiles of canned subsistence were maintained a year or more before they were drawn upon, especially the packed field rations which were held for much longer periods of time. Under suboptimal conditions of storage in the theaters, large quantities of these stockpiles became useless or spoiled long before they should have. The wastes of war became tremendous, because this spoilage occurred in sub-  


FIGURE 98.-Quartermaster refrigerated storage point on Tinian, 1945. Note the protective roof and the water storage tanks.

sistence items which were of high quality, packed in containers specially designed for food protection, and transported over long distances (fig. 99). "Even though the use of manpower, materials, and the time necessary to provide suitable storage overseas are critical considerations in a theater of operations, the fact remains that unless they are expended in assuring good subsistence, items will spoil. The welfare of the troops, which depends to a large extent upon the delivery of the supplies in the proper condition and at the proper time, will suffer correspondingly" (54). Fortunately, there always seemed to be replacement subsistence available as well as the means for transporting it from the major areas of supply, and, thus, the losses that occurred never had a serious effect on any particular campaign or battle during the war. However, opinions prevail that the U.S. forces on Bataan peninsula would have fought a longer defensive campaign against the Japanese invaders in the Philippines in 1941-42 if they had been better rationed (55); after that time, there were relatively few places where large numbers of troops, isolated by enemy action, could not be supplied by airdrop.

Matters relating to subsistence storage, just as the care of Army horses and mules, was a phase of preventive military veterinary medicine in which  


FIGURE 99.-Subsistence stacked on the ground, Ledo area, India. Stacks such as these were subjected to weeks of tropical rains, and it is not surprising that subsistence losses were huge.

veterinary officers acted only as advisers to those who were accountable. Recommendations that were made to lessen or prevent food deterioration and spoilage required the early recognition of bacterial, chemical, and other symptomatic changes of beginning losses, followed by technical supervision of the actual procedures which were taken to segregate the spoiled from the sound supplies and to prevent further deterioration or losses. A great many technical details were involved in the professional conduct of these veterinary in-storage inspections. These included knowledge of the protectiveness of the various types of containers, the nature of so-called epidemic spoilage in the piles, the effects of environmental conditions, the viral growths in, and chemical reactions of, foods as well as insect infestations and rodent damages, and the sanitary features of storage construction and materiel not excluding such matters as selection of sites, dunnage, stacking size and arrangement, and protection front pilferage and enemy attack.

Another feature of subsistence supply to the Pacific theaters and probably elsewhere was that refrigeration equipment for storing perishable products was not fully developed nor adequate in availability. It lagged behind the growing emphasis that was placed on the oversea supply of fresh frozen meat and dairy products in lieu of canned or nonperishable items. The China-Burma-India theater had almost no refrigerated facilities. There was more than one reported instance of stockpiling incoming shipments of perish­


able foods under a tarpaulin and of issuing the items which had thawed out; what could not be force issued, within 2 to 3 days, spoiled. Individual unit or messhall refrigerators on some of the smaller island bases became points of quartermaster holdings of perishable food supplies.

Inspection Prior to Issue

Among the several classes of veterinary food surveillance inspections, class 7 inspection, conducted on subsistence at the time of quartermaster issue to troops, was the most important. It included inspections of Government-owned foods sold to the Army Exchange Service, officers messes, or individuals who were authorized to make such purchases, or at the time of issue to Navy and other consuming agencies. This was the final veterinary sanitary inspection given to food. It marked the final inspection at the end of the Quartermaster Corps chain of food supply; insofar as it was practical, the products were inspected piece by piece. Along with this inspection, veterinary officers supervised the maintenance of sanitation that would be observed in the containers and vehicles which were utilized by the units in transporting the issued rations to their messhalls. The units themselves were responsible for providing covered vehicles, clean paulins, and other devices which would fully protect the issued foods against sun, heat, dust, rain, insects, and other damaging or contaminating agencies.

At the individual Army camps in the Zone of Interior, no major problems arose concerning the issue of canned foods, though issues sometimes included items that otherwise were not suitable for shipment from the Zone of Interior to the oversea theaters, such as rusty cans, old packs, and improper packing. On the other hand, the technical supervision of issues of perishable products was a greater problem; furthermore, most camps did not have sufficient refrigerated space when the camp troop populations approached their normal or maximum levels. Camps, at which combat divisions were organized and trained for oversea deployment, frequently utilized incoming refrigerated cars at railroad sidings for issue points. In the handling of food products at the Army cold storage plants that were constructed in the camps and airbases, the station veterinary personnel acted as advisers to the local quartermaster on the methods of stacking and on the temperature and storage life of the various items. Generally, these Army plants in the Zone of Interior were designed to include a freezer room maintained at 10° F. for holding frozen foods, a chill room (at 32° F.) where fresh meats and products were stored pending their issue, and cooler rooms (at 35° F.) for storing shell eggs and dairy products, and another cooler room for holding fresh fruits and vegetables. The larger plants also had ventilated storage rooms (at 50° to 60° F.) and a special refrigerated room where the perishable foods were broken down for quick issue to units. This classification of refrigerated storage was necessarily modified as the war progressed, because greater use was being made of frozen products than of those in a chilled


state; refrigerated plant mechanisms were overburdened in the conversion from chilled storage to the freezer holding of products. Of course, there were a number of technicalities regarding this, not excluding the requirement that beef, lamb, and veal carcasses if received in a frozen condition were required to be defrosted before their issue to ration breakdown units (56).

At the issue or ration breakdown points, the veterinary inspection problems were variable, dependent to some extent upon the type of rations being provided to the troops. During World War II, reference was made to as many as 12 types of field rations (15, 55). The field ration, type A, which was issued in the Zone of Interior, was an issue in kind, following a prescribed menu schedule, as compared to the garrison ration where the issues of components were made on the basis of monetary credits, that was used in the peacetime Army; the changeover to field ration A was made in the summer of 1941. Ordinarily, this ration type included fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fluid milk, and other commodities which regularly were not found in any other field ration. Field ration B was issued overseas in the theater commands in the manner that the A-ration was used in the Zone of Interior; its component items (or variety) generally were the same except that those of a perishable nature, requiring refrigerated transportation and storage facilities, were replaced by nonperishable products (canned or dehydrated). Generally, the theater commands were provided with refrigerated subsistence, and many procured fresh foods locally so that usually the issues made there included a mixture of the A- and B-ration components.

Then there were C- and D-rations which were developed before the war as so-called combat rations and individual emergency or survival types. The D-ration, once called the Logan bar (in 1937), of course, was a 4-ounce chocolate bar; three bars constituted a day's ration. Old packs of D-rations, under conditions of storage in the Tropics at temperatures approaching the melting point (120° F.) of the chocolate, tended to whiten, because of the separation out of its fat constituents, and finally to crumble into a tasteless powder; it was not completely protectively wrapped against insect contamination in the Tropics; also, molding of the D-ration bar was observed. The C-ration, packed eight rations per case, included three M- (or meat) units and three B- (or biscuit) units in cans and laminated bags of accessories such as toilet paper, cigarettes, chewing gum, and water purification tablets. By the end of the war, 10 different canned meats were grouped into six different menus for the C-ration, and production was begun on the division of the meat contents of the cans into chunk-sized pieces (about ¾-inch cubed) rather than into ground, potted style.

During the earlier part of the war, reference was made also to the new mountain and jungle ration types (essentially 4-in-1 rations) and the 5-in-1 ration for use by armored tank crews, but these were replaced later by the 10-in-1 ration, suitable for the group feeding of 10 men for 1 day when B­rations were not supplied. The original single or individual ration package


for paratroopers was modified and became the K-ration. Both of these contained canned meat and dairy components. There were also a number of survival or emergency types: Liferaft ration for the Army Air Forces, the parachute emergency ration for the Army Air Forces, the airborne lifeboat ration, and such so-called supplementary types as the hospital ration supplement, aid station beverage pack, kitchen spice pack, and the aircrew lunch for in-flight feeding. It may be added that the assembly of rations, originally undertaken at Army quartermaster depots and later by civilian contractors, was conducted under the supervision of the Veterinary Corps. Before the contracts were awarded, the commercial establishments were inspected for sanitary and operating requirements.

Ordinarily, the Army Veterinary Service did not inspect the meat and dairy components of the rations after their issue from quartermaster distribution points; that is, in the troop messes. Though sanitary inspections of messes were the assigned responsibilities of medical inspectors and unit surgeons, much use was made of Veterinary Corps officers in the combat divisions and at Army Air Forces bases during World War II to conduct these inspections. In fact, one air force in the Zone of Interior merged its medical inspectors with, and under the supervision of, base veterinarians. Procedures for conducting such inspections were outlined in various Army publications that included descriptions on the factors which would be utilized by inspectors when determining the soundness and wholesomeness of the meat and dairy products received at the messes (57). Other sanitary inspection features were the condition of mess buildings, food storage, cleaning of utensils and disposal of wastes, menus and food serving, physical examination of foodhandlers, and training status of mess personnel in mess sanitation, it being emphasized that "when improperly handled and stored, meat and meat products are subject to rapid deterioration and during the time products remain in the company kitchens, messes, or refrigerators, very careful supervision should be exercised by medical officers to assure the use of only sanitary products." Actually, unit commanders alone were responsible for mess sanitation and for the enforcement of sanitary regulations, but in this they were guided by the recommendations made by the unit surgeons, medical inspectors, or veterinary officers who were conducting the inspections (58).

Only in a few known instances were meat and dairy products, previously passed as acceptable by veterinary officers at issue points, rejected by unit surgeons and medical inspectors at the troop messhalls. In the Southwest Pacific Area, some condemnations were regarded as being unwarranted, and steps were taken to discontinue this waste of foods after their issue to units. In one Pacific area, the original "trier" holes made in cured and smoked hams by the Veterinary Corps officers at commercial meat establishments were being scrutinized as evidences of ham skipper infestations and resulted in unwarranted condemnations of this product by troop messes. The molding  


of bacon and ham was the frequent cause of complaints (though it was readily corrected by proper trimming or by using a vinegar wash in the messes), but any or all complaints, regardless of their nature, were reviewed at the distribution points to determine whether the remaining products were sound and wholesome for continued issue. It must be mentioned that mess officers of units and organizations also had responsibility to see that all foods received in the messes were clean and wholesome and in full quantity and that mess sergeants, permanent kitchen personnel, cooks, and bakers were routinely trained in Quartermaster Corps schools in the proper preparation and handling of meat and dairy products.


Restating its objectives for protecting the health of troops against their consuming deleterious foods and for safeguarding the interests of the Government, military meat and dairy hygiene included a number of operations and inspectional services which are not identifiable with any particular one of the foregoing classes of inspections. Packing and packaging, for example, was recognized as a matter for procurement inspection to take care of, but this was not a problem of inspection until the subsistence was entered into military traffic and then stored for varying periods of time under adverse environmental conditions. Also, there were problems of subsistence salvage and the food conservation programs. The Army Veterinary Service also assisted in the investigation of foodborne diseases in troops, and closely related to these investigations were the antibiological warfare programs and the veterinary considerations of protecting and decontaminating subsistence in the event of chemical warfare.

Packing and Marking, and Packaging and Labeling

Subsistence packaging and packing was an important feature of veterinary food inspection operations during World War II; it was directly related to the food losses that were experienced in the oversea theaters. Though considerable improvements were made in packaging and packing materiel and techniques before the end of the war, there seemed to be nothing that could withstand, or be sufficiently protective against, all of the rough handling, exposures to adverse environmental conditions, and insect-rodent contamination. The term "packaging" referred to the immediate container for the products (such as cans for meat and sausage casings) whereas the packing was the outside shipping container-the barrel, box, or crate. The latter were marked, while the markings on packages were designated labels. Generally, inspections of these containers for meat and dairy products were conducted by the Army Veterinary Service in conjunction with its products procurement inspections, but the main interest in them was manifested overseas when the products arrived and were stored.  Before World War II, little or no attention  


was directed to the military requirements for adequate subsistence protection. At the beginnng of the war, commercial packaging and packing was generally acceptable; in regard to this, the following was noted (15):

Industry's peacetime packaging efforts were based largely on eye appeal and low cost. The fact that commercial products were consumed within a few months and that handling in transit was closely controlled eliminated any need for more than a minimum amount of protective packaging.

No Army specifications covering packaging and packing for overseas shipment existed at the outbreak of the war. Federal specifications covered packs for commercial use only, and early procurements of subsistence were packaged and packed accordingly. Flexible packaging materials, such as cellophane and coated or waxed glassine, offered little moisture protection, and industry had given slight attention to sealing bags and cartons tightly. Corrugated fiber boxes were generally used as shipping cases.

These commercial techniques, suitable to domestic distribution, were inadequate in the field. Early shipments of canned goods packed in commercial containers arrived at overseas destinations with cases broken open and the cans scattered loose in the holds of ships and over docks. Furthermore, packages broke and spilled their contents, and foods in flexible packages picked up moisture. Subsistence losses due to failure of packaging and packing materials at the beginning of the war were substantial.

In the wartime trends for improved packaging and packing, the inspection of these came to be an integral part of the veterinary food procurement inspections of meat and dairy products, because without proper packaging and packing all the other work of subsistence inspection became valueless. Also, proper packaging and packing was a matter of sanitation, because without it, subsistence became contaminated, infested, damaged, and inedible. Wherever the acceptance testing for products was made, then the acceptability of packaging and packing was also determined, usually inside the commercial food establishments. A great many detailed specification and inspection requirements were imposed on Army subsistence which was destined for oversea shipment; these included such factors as design, workmanship, and materiel; number and application of straps or wires, adhesive, nails and nailing, liners, and weight and cube measurement; and the presence of the box manufacturer's compliance stamp. After the inspection for acceptance or compliance with the pertinent specifications and contract, the packaging and packing were reinspected for general condition, along with the sanitary inspection of the contents or products, at every shipping point and periodically during storage. Nearly all packaging and packing defects or faults resulted in the development of unsanitary environments and in the losses or contamination of products.

The greatest packaging defect was the tin can container itself, resulting in the losses of large quantities of foods in the oversea theaters. There were many factors involved, not excluding poor workmanship which was evident by improper sealing (or crimping), buckled cans, and poorly cleaned (or grease-covered) cans. However, these were the least frequent causes of canned food losses; another factor was the interior lining (or lacquer) of the can-this not being as completely protective to prevent product-tin reactions


so that products showed discolorations, and pinholing of the cans occurred. More important factors were the structural design and size of the cans, the tin composition of the can and solders, and the labels. The long rectangular cans of luncheon meat, and the soldered, snap-on cans of evaporated milk were a problem common to all ration dumps that included these items; almost invariably, no case of these products arrived at final issue points which did not include seriously bent cans-some already with spoiled product that had spewed or spilled over the other cans in the same case. The packing of the cans in wooden cases did not prevent, only minimized the damage to the long, rectangular cans which occurred incident to haphazard handling during transshipment. Of course, the use of wooden cases introduced another factor, as was observed in canned corned beef of South American origin; namely, poor workmanship evidenced by the penetration of the cans by nails. This became so serious in certain shipments as to raise questions of possible sabotage. Another type of can, having a serious inherent defect and used for packaging molasses and powders, was the large container with the plugged-in lid (friction top); damage or denting of the body of the can frequently resulted in the flipping of the lids and the spilling or exposure of contents.

Of course, the programs that were taken in the Zone of Interior to conserve the Nation's tin supply resulted in an inferior can (with thinner tin plating, or electrolyte plate, and reduced tin content of solders) which rusted under the conditions that were encountered in the theaters. Paper can labels (and possibly the glues) and ordinary cardboard cartons that retained the moisture hastened the rusting processes on the cans, particularly under hot, humid climatic conditions. These defects were lessened when the Army required precoated or outside-lacquered cans and later turned to precoated cans and demanded, as substitution for the paper labels, the identification of the canned product by a lithographed, embossed, or ink-stamped statement on the side or end of the can. The precoating, with olive-drab coloring, accomplished in commercial establishments, as contrasted with precoating with a clear lacquer, which was done by the can manufacturer, also satisfied the military needs for camouflage because there was little else that exposed concealed positions or ration dumps as clearly as the tin can reflection of sunlight.

Failures or defects of the packing containers also were numerous and resulted in approximately the same large quantities of food losses as did improper and inadequate packaging. Commercial corrugated-fiber boxes were inadequately protective for oversea shipments, but the initial subsistence supply to nearly all theater commands was made in this kind of case. Sometimes, wirebound or nailed wooden boxes were used for overpacking, but this procedure soon was discontinued except in the instance of foods packaged in glass containers. By the winter of 1942-43, the Quartermaster Corps was referring to the packing of subsistence in a carton made of weatherproof fiberboard, containing a lamination or layer of asphalt (or tar) which was resistant to wetting, and to a new, solid-fiber V-board box. The latter was  


of several grades; the V-1 grade, being the best, was resistant to moisture and retained its strength when wet and was widely utilized for packing Army boneless beef. Unfortunately, experiences with the new V-board box indicated that corrosion occurred on the exterior of the cans which was believed caused by high moisture content of the fiberboard or chemical constituent of the laminating adhesive (59). Whether shipped in wooden boxes or fiber cartons, subsistence supplies were bound by strapping that reduced the need of thicker box lumber and made possible the greater use of fiber containers. Improper application of the strapping, tensioning or looseness, and poor sealing of the strap ends caused some packing failures. However much as was accomplished in the development of packing materiel and procedures, the fact remained that subsistence did not become indestructible or nonperishable. Though packaging defects were moderately corrected, there remained the constant factor of human carelessness in handling, shipping, and storing foods.

Just as packaging and packing became major points of veterinary subsistence inspection during the war, so did labeling and marking. Labeling referred to the identity of product, weight, manufacturer, and date of manufacture on the food package; marking, on the other hand, pertained to the outside packing case to identify the contents and gave shipping and handling instructions. The problem with paper labels on cans, as contributing to the rusting condition on canned foods, was noted previously, but it may be noted that the same moisture that caused the rusting of cans also resulted in the complete loss of labels from the cans, and thus no identification of contents remained. Commercial-type paper labels were continued on Army subsistence procured for use in the Zone of Interior, but, soon after the war started, specifications and contractual documents provided for imprinting or embossing labeling information on the cans, particularly the nature of the contents, that were destined for oversea supply. Canned milk, salmon, and a few other products, however, continued to be procured with paper labeling.  During the initial packaging and packing, veterinary inspections were made of the placement, legibility, size, and permanence of the labels and marking; of the nomenclature of products, together with the number, size or weight averages of contents, weights (net, tare, and gross) and cubage, contractor, date of packing, and the Quartermaster crescent mark for subsistence items; and of other information as was required.

Subsistence Salvage and Food Conservation

The return of deteriorated subsistence into a suitable condition for distribution and issue to troops may be regarded as subsistence salvage. It was conducted spontaneously along the chain of Army food supply, at depots, at ports, and even at ration issue dumps, since there was no quartermaster unit or organization such as had been developed for shoe repair or salvaging of scrap metals. Invariably, it was set up under veterinary supervision whenever  


FIGURE 100.-Veterinary food salvage operations at a quartermaster depot in the European theater.

any sizable quantities of food showed beginning signs of deterioration, such as in a component of the C-ration cases or where the outside packing containers were so damaged that further shipment, storage, or even issue was impossible (fig. 100). It had for its objective the separation of spoiled subsistence from the good, which was repacked and continued in the Army supply system, so that complete losses of given packs or lots were minimized. Canned subsistence was more frequently salvaged than was the perishable type. Subsistence salvage during the war became an extensive operation in many theaters and in the Zone of Interior.

Butter, for example, that had been stored on a Central Pacific island base for a long period of time under conditions far below optimum and had developed a mold growth on the interior surface of the liners, was renovated by a local dairy plant. Various attempts were made also to set up processing lines at oversea cold storage installations for removing excess mold growths and slime on the exterior of bacon and hams, but this occurred early in the war period. Later, these products were usually placed in freezer storage, if available and if the bacon and hams were going into long-term storage. It may be mentioned that these cured and smoked products and ham were specially prepared, sometimes covered with asphalt or packed in salt, and specially boxed so that they could be kept at outside temperatures, but, by


the end of the war, these products were regarded generally to be as perishable as fresh meats. Probably, the most commonly salvaged fresh food product was shell eggs; usually however, this operation was accomplished at the issue points where the problem was solved either by veterinary personnel inspecting (or candling) the eggs individually (which was done at the smaller bases) or by the prior determination of the rate of egg spoilage and egg breakage and recommendation for a proportionate overissue of the eggs to the messhalls where the mess personnel did their own sorting.

Both shell eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables were affected by the so-called epidemic spoilage, in which one broken egg or one rotten, slimy head of lettuce became the point of spread of losses through the case and then downward through contiguous cases. There was no stopping this spread of spoilage as long as such lots were kept in storage, but proper, careful handling of these products at Transportation Corps ports and oversea destinations and at Quartermaster Corps storage and issue points would have prevented many of these losses. Salvage operations on whole shipments of frozen boneless beef in fiberboard boxes and on other items that were wetted by seawater, bilge water, and dirty harbor water because of enemy attacks on a ship, required particular care, as did those relating to cases of food that were contaminated by the slime dripping from the uppermost defrosted layers of a lot or load of subsistence in refrigerated plants, in railroad cars, or in ships whose refrigeration equipment had failed. It was directed in one theater of operations that Veterinary Corps officers would exercise discretion and high standards of professional opinion in their salvage activities, taking into consideration, in appropriate order, both the medical aspects that would proceed to the one extreme of complete condemnations to protect troop health, and the quartermaster aspects that would regard condemnations of contaminated, and threatened contaminations of, foods as only an adverse cutback into the command's supply.

Stockpiles of canned subsistence, particularly those of a fluid consistency such as evaporated milk and those whose contents had liquified during their spoilage, which spewed over the interior of the cases when the affected cans burst, suffered the same epidemic spoilage as did shell eggs in cold storage. Overseas, any subsistence salvage operation was difficult to properly establish and maintain because of shortages in numbers of availability of personnel, equipment, and cleansing agents. The major problem was that there were no boxes for repacking the canned products even after they were cleaned. The repacking of canned foods in cloth sacks was unsuccessful, as was the so-called loose-can issue to troops.

There was no recorded instance of the utilization of fumigants to exterminate insects and mites in the oversea stockpiles.

In the Zone of Interior, food salvage operations at depots became a major veterinary inspection activity during the last years of the war period, when large quantities of subsistence were returned from offshore bases or were


returned as surplus to the needs of nearby Army camps and airbases. Possibly the most expansive of these operations related to the foods returned from the Alaskan-Aleutian area; the depot veterinarian at the Utah (Ogden) Army Service Forces Depot reported on the salvage inspections of 420 carloads or 35 million pounds of canned meat and dairy products, with losses totaling 8 percent for leaker cans, swellers, springers, damaged, and badly rusted or seriously dented cans. This covered the period from 1944 to the fall of 1945. At the Columbus Army Service Forces Depot, Columbus, Ohio, the depot veterinarian described this salvage program as follows:

In the last quarter of 1944 a reconditioning inspection of C-ration returned from off-shore bases has become a new and important subsistence activity at the Depot. Lots, packed as early as 1940, have been included in returned shipments from ports of debarkation. The reconditioning of this item is a laborious and time-consuming operation. To facilitate inspection in initial screening is done at box opening on a conveyor. Cans are then wiped clean and derusted with steel wool. The necessary individual manipulation in can cleaning makes it possible to accomplish a piece inspection. No borderline cases are accepted. The net value of an individual unit or a ration is so slight, as compared with its significance to an ultimate soldier consumer, that deliberations in favor of extreme economy are not justified. In spite of severe inspection the average percentage of returned C-ration items during the period of October through December 1944 was only .013% of the total pounds reconditioned. The loss in the bread and confection unit exceeds that of meat foods. Cleaning, reboxing, and reestablishing equality of the pack is more of a justification for the operation than is the incidence of spoilage. The low spoilage rate in this item speaks well for the original processing methods as well as the durability of the containers. Laboratory examinations of some lots packed in 1941 or shipments recovered from transports damaged in convoy (possibly salvaged out of sunken ships) has revealed "sound edibility" of all numerous samples submitted.

This procedure for salvaging foods was only one of several accepted procedures in the much larger program of food conservation. Another procedure was the "forced issue," or the issue of subsistence stores in larger than prescribed quantities if such stores were shown to be deteriorating and such issue would prevent losses. Actually, large quantities of subsistence were saved in this manner, but yet larger amounts were thrown away. The real fact was that the estimated losses for 1943 in the subsistence which was sent overseas to the North African, Southwest and South Pacific, North Atlantic, and European bases and theaters were set at $150 million and quantitatively exceeded their consumption and reserve requirements by 21 percent; it was estimated further that possibly 400 million rations would have to be sent to replace the estimated losses of 1944. Referring to these data and indirectly to Veterinary Corps reports of meat and dairy hygiene inspections that were recording these subsistence losses, the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, directed requests to at least two theater commanders, as follows (60, 61):

* * * make every effort to reduce subsistence losses in your theater to an absolute minimum. There are times when over-issues of subsistence are necessary because of some particularly strenuous operation, but over-issues do not account for more than a small portion of losses. According to advices I have received the main causes of losses are


pilferage, rough handling, lack of ventilation, unorganized piling, and a number of other controllable causes.

Accompanying this letter is a statement of the situation and the steps which so far have been taken, by Army Service Forces, Washington, D.C., to correct the situation so far as it lies within the control of authorities here. I wish, therefore, that you give this matter your personal attention to see that supply discipline is enforced and that controllable losses are held as low as possible.

In most oversea area, theater commanders were well aware of the benefits of food conservation programs that were taking place. Probably, the Asiatic­Pacific theaters were more aware of this than any other, because in no other theater were there the extensive food losses, the adverse environmental conditions and tropical climate, and the shortages in materiel. What the Army Veterinary Service was attempting to accomplish, in regard to the transportation of subsistence, its handling, and storage, became topical subjects in a variety of official letters, memorandums, circulars, and publications which were addressed or disseminated through regular command channels of communications from the respective theater headquarters level, and these became the basis for the food conserving practices that were set up within the veterinary classes of surveillance inspection procedures.

Food Poisoning and Foodborne Diseases

The experiences with food poisoning and foodborne diseases in the Army during World War II was a practical test of the importance of mess sanitation, and, insofar as the Army Veterinary Service was concerned, these experiences only proved that the major sanitary defects along the entire chain of Army subsistence supply from the civilian contractor to the consumer troops, particularly that of meat and dairy products, existed in the messhalls or beyond the place of veterinary class 7 inspection. Actually, there is no record that foods, both meat and dairy products and foods other than of animal origin, which were issued under Veterinary Corps supervision, were the cause of food poisoning and foodborne diseases as a result of their being unsound, unwholesome, or contaminated at the time of their issue. Of course, there were outbreaks; one survey pointed to at least 190 outbreaks involving 22,364 reported cases of illness (62), but the causes were generally ascribed to messhall practices and sanitation and to uninspected foods.2 Furthermore, no scandalous inquiries like the embalmed-beef scandal of the Spanish-American War occurred. In the two world wars, the Army Veterinary Service, along the entire Army's subsistence supply chain, was inspecting and rejecting large

2Of this number of outbreaks, Dack selected 76 reported outbreaks as highly suggestive of staphylococcus food poisoning involving 14,214 men, 6 as suggestive of Streptococcus faecalis food infection involving 1,015 men, and 4 as botulism involving 34 men, of which number 12 died. Regarding the botulism outbreaks, the regular Army food supply was not involved; one originated with lend-lease supplied canned beets of Australian origin and the others from home-preserved foods. The outbreaks occurred more often where there was less cause for their occurrence; thus, in the Zone of Interior, outbreaks were reported more often than in any oversea theater where messhall facilities were comparatively at lower levels of efficiency, and the largest single outbreak occurred at a named hospital mess in the Zone of Interior and involved 1,637 cases.


quantities of food for improper grade or sanitary qualities; this resulted in the "best and healthiest fed" Army of modern times.

In this Army its food animals were inspected at the time of slaughter, its canned foods were generally sterile, its fresh milk supply originated from tuberculosis-free dairy herds and was pasteurized, its cheese was aged for 60 days, and later for 90 days before issue, to prevent the dissemination of typhoid fever and brucellosis (63). Bacteriological standards, particularly in regard to Escherichia coli, Salmonella sp., and other pathogens, were established for many foods; and pork products which were normally used without need for further preparation in the messhalls were free of Trichinella spiralis. Also, food containers and cooking utensils that were cadmium plated, and galvanized and zinc-coated mess gear (meat cans and cups, M1942) were gradually withdrawn from supply to the messhalls and soldiers or were restricted in their uses, in order either to prevent incidents of cadmium, zinc, and antimony poisoning or to eliminate equipment which, with deep scratches of soft metals, readily corroded (or rusted) and had hard-to­clean surfaces. Of course, cleaned motor oil and grease cans were particularly dangerous for storing or cooking foods because of their lead lining. There was no record to indicate a lessened efficiency of troops in campaign or the disruption in assault operations as consequences of food poisoning or food­borne diseases.

The various aspects of food poisoning and foodborne diseases in troops were accorded the same attention by the Army Veterinary Service as it gave to the diseases of military animals. In troops, as in animals, the food ration was recognized as the cause of diseases either because it failed to provide adequate quantities of proper food constituents or because the food served as an agent for transmitting causative viral organisms from one human being to another and from animals, and as a carrier vehicle for poisons; also, certain foods themselves are poisonous, such as poisonous fish and poisonous plants. In a great number of the outbreaks that occurred, Veterinary Corps officers were requested by the concerned unit surgeons and medical officers to participate in the epidemiological investigations; in several theater commands, various letter directives and other publications set forth the administrative details for such investigations to include the veterinary considerations. The importance and frequency of these investigations were recognized particularly in the oversea theaters. The procedures which were established in the Central Pacific Area eventually became the pattern used in the publications of the Army for defining the professional veterinary aspects of conducting all investigations (64, 65, 66, 67).

Antibiological Warfare and Food Protection in Chemical Warfare

The veterinary aspects of antibiological warfare and the defenses against chemical attack regarding animals were generally well evaluated before World War II, but those in regard to the food supply received only passing


FIGURE 101.-Training and equipping Veterinary Corps personnel at quartermaster depots in the European theater to handle subsistence that would be contaminated in the event of enemy use of chemical warfare agents.

attention. Actually, that any deliberate biological and chemical contaminations of foods were militarily important had been variously described from one extreme to the other. Fortunately, there was never any real field test during World War II as to the medical effects of biological and chemical warfare that would involve the Army's food supply; on the other hand, definitive defensive measures or preparedness programs were developed (fig. 101).

Early in 1944, for the stated reason that the enemy then could be considering biological warfare as a sort of desperation action, the oversea theaters were advised on certain defensive measures which they would adopt, if the situation so warranted; these measures were identifiable with those already operational in the Central Pacific Area (68) (fig. 102). In the interim, precautionary measures were established in the Zone of Interior. Thus, in March 1942, the Surgeon General's Office was advised that procedures should be taken to guard against the sabotage of meats, utilizing the veterinary personnel who were already performing inspection duties in commercial food establishments. The reports of extraneous material in meats being prepared for canning were causes for conducting investigations of suspected sabotage, although similar conditions as they had occurred in peacetime were only the result of normal operating mistakes or carelessness. These probably occurred more frequently along production lines operating at above-normal levels and  


FIGURE 102.-Veterinary food-security supervisors assigned to duty in commercial food establishment in the Hawaiian Islands to insure the safeness and cleanliness of locally produced food products which were consumed in large amounts by military personnel.

where the establishments were employing new, inexperienced personnel. As an example, the separation of canning lines in meat plants from those lines where glass containers were being filled removed further difficulties of meats being found with fragments of broken glass. At one time, The Quartermaster General questioned the award of subsistence contracts to establishments which were owned or operated by resident enemy aliens in the United States. In February 1944, the War Department, recognizing that the fluid milk supply was a particularly good medium for the dissemination of disease among military installations and the nearby civilian plants which were engaged in war production, requested Veterinary Corps officers to report on threatened or suspected subversive activities just as they were doing on meat production (69). Conducting security measures within the establishments in which veterinary class 3 inspection personnel were located was made more difficult after 1943, when, against original recommendations by the Surgeon General's Office, these establishments were authorized to employ prisoners of war as laborers.  


Comparable with the wartime problems of protecting the Army food supplies against potential enemy uses of biological warfare agents, there were the veterinary considerations for detecting, protecting, and decontaminating foods which might have been exposed to an enemy chemical warfare attack. Of course, varying classifications existed on the many kinds of war gases, screening smokes, and incendiaries, and a great many factors necessarily entered into discussions on the specific measures that were to be taken with respect to the handling of exposed foods. For example, the food products in themselves might not be affected, but the outside containers might be contaminated so as to be dangerous for personnel to handle or contact. Fortunately, there were no chemical warfare attacks on the Army food supplies so that the various means and methods that were developed before and during World War II were untested. Most elemental of these developments was the designation of the Army Veterinary Service to determine the safeness of foods after their exposure to chemical warfare agents and the definition of relationships with the Chemical Warfare Service, as follows (70):

The officers of the Veterinary Corps will be called on to decide whether or not food is suitable to be used for human consumption, and since considerable danger to human life, as well as economic loss is involved, it is necessary that the decision be correct. Without a knowledge of what the chemical agents may do or may not do, it is not possible to arrive at a decision and food may needlessly be destroyed or dangerous food may be sent out to troops. In most cases the tendency will be to err on the safe side, but occasions may arrive when it is necessary to use the supplies and a knowledge of adequate decontamination procedures will make a great deal of difference.

* * * [Also, the Veterinary Corps officer will have to] distinguish between dangerous food and food which may be adequately decontaminated and used.

Protection is provided by that type of wrapping [or food packaging and packing] material used under the specification set up by the Quartermaster Corps, and the Chemical Warfare Service provides the information as to the adequacy of this protection. The Quartermaster is also responsible for matters of protection during transportation up to the distribution point. When decontamination is undertaken, it should be left up to the Chemical Warfare Service to provide the ways and means of doing it. The function of the Medical Department Officers is only to advise and decide whether the foodstuff in question is safe for the use of troops.

During the war, special courses of training and instruction on the veterinary aspects of chemical warfare were conducted by the Army Veterinary Service at the Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and at the Chemical Warfare School, Edgewood Arsenal, Md. At the last-named installation, Veterinary Corps officers were engaged in research investigations on animal health hazards and in the design of protective equipment and procedures in regard to military animals and the Army food supply. The principles of veterinary professional services under conditions of chemical warfare attack that were developed at the Chemical Warfare School were set forth in official Army training manuals (71, 72, 73).  



1. AR 40-2150, 8 Oct. 1921. 

2. AR 40-2150, 9 Oct. 1942. 

3. TM 8-450, 1 May 1941.

4. Moore, H. K.: Organization and Operation of the Veterinary Corps Food Inspection Service. Mil. Surgeon 96: 237-241, March 1945.

5. Dildine, S. C.: Army Veterinary Inspection of Foods of Animal Origin. Mil. Surgeon 100: 390-401, May 1947.

6. Letter, Field Headquarters, Perishable Branch, Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., to all quartermaster market centers, 2 June 1945, subject: List of Establishments Disapproved for Use of the Army Due to Insanitary Conditions.

7. Memorandum, Lt. Col. C. A. Hardigg, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, for Col. R. A. Kelser, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, 10 June 1941, subject: Inspection of Fruits and Vegetables.

8. Letter, Maj. E. F. Shepherd, QMC, Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., to Chief, Perishable Section, Subsistence Branch, Office of the Quartermaster General, 15 Oct. 1941, subject: Inspection Report on Trip to Scott Field.

9. Letter, Brig. Gen. R. A. Kelser, Veterinary Division, SGO, to The Quartermaster General, 12 Apr. 1944, subject: Rejections of Canned Fruits and Vegetables and Flour, with 1st indorsement thereto, 7 Aug. 1944.

10. Letter, Col. J. F. Crosby, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, to The Quartermaster General, 5 Dec. 1944, subject: Rejection of Subsistence Supplies in Theaters of Operation. 

11. Letter, Col. R. A. Kelser. VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, to The Quartermaster General, 25 May 1941, subject: Rejection of Subsistence Supplies in Theaters of Operation.

12. Quartermaster Corps Manual QMC 25-1, 15 Nov. 1944. 

13. AR 600-10, 8 July 1944.

14. Letter, The Adjutant General, to corps area and department commanders, 8 July 1939, subject: Inspection of Meat, Meat Food Products, Dairy Products and Forage. Reprinted in Army Vet. Bull. 33: 328-329, October 1939.

15. Risch, Erna: United States Army in World War II.  The Technical Services. The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1953.

16. AR 40-2150, 9 Oct. 1942.

17. Letters, Col. R. A. Kelser, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, to Contract Department, Swift & Co., Chicago, Ill., to Lt. Col. C. E. Cook, VC, Veterinarian, Fourth Corps Area, and to Lt. Col. F. M. Lee, VC, Veterinarian, Kansas City Quartermaster Depot, 26 March 1941.

18. Letter, Lt. Col. C. A. Hardigg, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, to Quartermaster, Fourth Corps Area, 21 Apr. 1941, subject: Inspection Service on Contracts for Army Style Beef.

19. Memorandum, Col. R. A. Kelser, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, for Military Personnel Division Reserve, SGO, 25 Apr. 1940.

20. Letter, Surgeon General's Office, to the Adjutant General's Office, 30 Jan. 1941, subject: Allotment of Additional Veterinary Corps Reserve Officers.

21. Memorandum, Lt. Col. J. Mather, Ordnance Department Representative, Federal Specifications, Office of Secretary of War, to The Surgeon General, 8 Nov. 1934, and memorandum in reply, 10 Nov. 1934.  


22. Office Order 107, Surgeon General's Office, 22 Nov. 1934.

23. Massen, Marion: CQMD Historical Studies: Report No. 7, March 1946, subject: Canned Meats Procurement for the Armed Forces During World War II.

24. Memorandum, Brig. Gen. H. D. Munnikhusen, Office of the Quartermaster General, for The Adjutant General, 6 Jan. 1941.

25. Memorandum, Col. R. A. Kelser, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, for Military Personnel Division, SGO, 10 Jan. 1941.

26. Radiograms, The Adjutant General, to commanders of New York and San Francisco ports and of Boston, Chicago, Jeffersonville, Kansas City, and San Antonio depots, 18 Jan. 1941.

27. Radiograms, The Adjutant General, to corps area commanders, 18 Jan. 1941.

28. Letter, Chicago Quartermaster Depot, Chicago, Ill., to The Quartermaster General, 18 Dec. 1941, subject: Veterinary Inspection Service, with two indorsements.

29. Brown, Jean: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, Kansas City Quartermaster Depot, Mo. [Official record.]

30. Letter, Office of the Quartermaster General, to all depot commanders, 10 Feb. 1943, subject: Courtesy Inspection of Subsistence Supplies.

31. Circular Letter No. 48, Office of the Quartermaster General, 12 Mar. 1943, subject: Procurement, Storage, and Distribution of Non-Perishable Subsistence Supplies. 

32. Greenlee, C. W.: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, Fifth Service Command. [Official record.]

33. Shook, L. L.: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, Sixth Service Command. [Official record.]

34. Wight, A. C.: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, Eighth Service Command. [Official record.]

35. Circular Letter No. 42, Office of the Quartermaster General, 19 Mar. 1941, subject: Purchases of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

36. Circular Letter No. 169, Office of the Quartermaster General, 21 July 1941, subject: Purchases of Perishable Subsistence Supplies.

37. Circular Letter No. 263, Office of the Quartermaster General, 6 Oct. 1941, subject: Perishable Subsistence, Purchase of.

38. Circular Letter No. 117, Office of the Quartermaster General, 16 June 1941, subject: Establishment of Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence.

39. Dildine, S. C.: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, Field Headquarters, Perishable Branch, Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill. [Official record.]

40. Letter, Office of the Quartermaster General, to The Surgeon General, 9 Oct. 1941, subject: Point of Origin Inspections.

41. Memorandum, Col. R. A. Kelser, VC, Veterinary Division, SGO, for Military Personnel Division, SGO, 13 Oct. 1941.

42. Radiograms, The Adjutant General, to Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., and all quartermaster market centers, 17 Oct. 1941.

43. Radiograms, The Quartermaster General, to Field Headquarters, Perishable Subsistence Section, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., and all quartermaster market centers, 27 Nov. 1941.

44. Davis, W. C.: Beef Grading and Stamping. Service Leaflet No. 67, U.S. Department of Agriculture, September 1930.

45. Service and Regulatory Announcements No. 137, Rules and Regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture Governing the Grading and Certification of Butter, Cheese, Eggs, Dressed Poultry and Dressed Domestic Rabbits for Class, Quality (Grade), and Condition. Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 1932.


46. Tentative U.S. Standards for Grades of Swiss Cheese. Office of Distribution, War Food Administration, 15 Oct. 1941.

47. Letter, The Adjutant General, to corps area commanders, 12 Sept. 1941, subject: Inspection of Butter, Eggs, Cheese, and Poultry Purchased by Quartermaster Marketing Centers.

48. Transportation Department Bulletin No. 1, Protective Service Instructions and Maximum Loading for Meats, Fish, Poultry, Lard, Shortening, Eggs, and Dairy Products. Field Headquarters, Perishable Branch, Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., revised 1 Dec. 1944.

49. Transportation Department Bulletin No. 2, Protective Service Against Heat or Cold for Eggs and Cheese. Field Headquarters, Perishable Branch, Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., revised 8 Oct. 1945.

50. Transportation Department Bulletin No. 6, Protective Instructions on Canned Poultry, Canned Cheese, and Canned Butter-Army Spread. Field Headquarters, Perishable Branch, Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, Chicago, Ill., revised 28 Dec. 1944.

51. Circular No. 75, Overseas Shipment of Refrigerated Cargo, as amended by Supplement No. 1, 7 July 1943. Office of the Chief of Transportation, 2 June 1943.

52. Transportation Corps Circular No. 105-3, Overseas Supply-Overseas Shipment of Refrigeration Cargo. Office of the Chief of Transportation, Army Service Forces, 31 March 1944.

53. AR 30-2320, 19 Mar. 1943.

54. Gelman, G., and Tennant, H. R.: Safekeeping of Subsistence. Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces, Chicago, Ill., 15 July 1946.

55. Stauffer, A. P.: U.S. Army in World War II. The Technical Services. The Quartermaster Corps: Operations in the War Against Japan. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956.

56. WD Supply Bulletin, Storage and Issue of Carcass Beef, Lamb, and Veal, December 1944.

57. FM 8-40, 31 Dec. 1942. 

58. AR 40-205, 31 Dec. 1942.

59. Memorandum No. S30-24-43, HQ ASF, 1 Aug. 1943, subject: Corrosion Taking Place Inside "V" Boxes.

60. Letter, Chief of Staff, War Department, to Commanding General, NATOUSA, 22 Mar. 1944, subject: Subsistence Losses in Theaters of Operations.

61. Letter, Chief of Staff, War Department, to Commander in Chief, SWPA, 22 Mar. 1944, subject: Subsistence Losses in Theaters of Operations.

62. Dack, G. M.: Staphylococcus and Enterococcus Food Poisoning and Botulism. [Official record.]

63. Letter, Brig. Gen. R. A. Kelser, Veterinary Division, SGO, to Col. A. Marble, MC, Consultant in Medicine, HQ Sixth Service Command, 4 June 1945.

64. Letter, HQ USAF, Central Pacific Area, to all medical and veterinary officers, 17 July 1944, subject: Food Poisoning in the Army.

65. Letter, HQ USAF, Middle Pacific, 26 Dec. 1945, subject: Food Poisoning in the Army.

66. TB MED 226, 28 June 1947. 

67. SR 40-930-1, 19 Dec. 1950.

68. Kester, W. O., and Miller, E. B.: World War II History of the Army Veterinary Service, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas. [Official record.]

69. WD Memorandum No. W40-44, 8 Feb. 1944.  


70. Mace, D. L., and Undall, R. H.: Veterinary Considerations of Chemical Warfare. C. W. School Mimeo No. 180, Chemical Warfare School, Chemical Warfare Center, Edgewood Arsenal, Md., March 1943. 

71. TM 8-285, 15 Apr. 1944. 

72. TM 3-220, 15 Nov. 1943. 

73. FM 21-40, 6 Sept. 1944.