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Royal Lee and Standard Process Laboratories

William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

Standard Process Laboratories (SPL) is a division of Vitamin Products Company (VPC), Milwaukee, Wisconsin. VPC was founded by the late Royal Lee, DDS, who never practiced dentistry but used his title of "doctor" to lend credence to his off-beat nutrition ideas. In 1963, Lee was described by a prominent FDA official as "probably the largest publisher of unreliable and false nutritional information in the world." [1] The following description appeared in the medical news column of the Journal of the American Medical Association, April 7, 1962:

Royal Lee, who for many years has been one of the leading sources of nutritional quackery in this country, has pleaded no contest in a criminal action at Milwaukee and is awaiting sentence for distributing misbranded vitamin and proprietary remedies. He has also consented to an injunction which will stop distribution of more than 115 products claimed to be good for some 500 different diseases and conditions [2].

Lee was eventually placed on three years probation and fined $800 plus $4,006 in court costs. Lee's VPC was fined $7,000 [3]. Such mediocre penalties are clearly insufficient to stop the peddlers of lucrative nutrition scams. VPC continues to sell questionable nutrition products to this day. Dubious SPL products include ground, dried animal glands (aka, "glandulars"), ground dried vegetables (eg, beets, radishes), Catalyn (which has been the target of more than one FDA regulatory action), and more. The main boosters of SPL products are chiropractors who practice pseudomedical nutrition (i.e., make false and unsubstantiated claims for the medical benefits of nutritional supplements that they sell). For a review of these see Chapter 15, "Chiropractic Nutrition" in The Vitamin Pushers, Prometheus Books, 1994.

Lee was a vociferous opponent of fluoridation, cooking in aluminum pans, and pasteurizing milk [4]. Lee is linked to an off-beat "study" by Frances Pottenger Jr., MD, of Glendale, California. Pottenger caught stray cats and put them in one of two cages in his back yard. The cats were fed either cooked meat and milk, or raw meat and milk. Pottenger claimed that the cats fed cooked meat and milk suffered from lowered fertility, impaired growth, and increased birth defects. He claimed that their deterioration was so dramatic that it included "germ plasm injury" causing them to pass acquired anatomical defects along to their offspring [5]. The idea that acquired defects are passed to succeeding generations is a discredited feature of Lamarckian biology adhered to by a number of fringe "scientists." Pottenger also planted beans in the cages and showed that the plants grew better in the raw meat and milk cage. Pottenger wondered "what vital elements were destroyed in the heat processing of the foods fed the cats?" [6] Pottenger's "study" is still used by promoters of certified raw milk to discredit pasteurization. Harold Stueve, marketer of Stueve's Natural (formerly Alta Dena Certified Raw Milk) believes that heat ruins the taste of milk. Stueve believed he could prove the superiority of raw milk by raising pumpkin plants on raw versus pasteurized milk. Stueve declared that "The Lord gives us everything in its wholeness, and that's the way He meant us to keep it." [7] Stueve did not reveal where this principle had come in the face of all of the Biblical references to burnt offerings which the people were told to eat. Wilson provides extensive evidence that pasteurization does not have adverse effects upon fertility, growth and development or birth defects [8]. Pottenger's claim that cooking meat made it unhealthful for cats is contradicted by the fact that all commercial cat foods are cooked. An expert in pet food nutrition states that unless the meat was "hard cooked" its proteins wouldn't be sufficiently destabilized to create the problems described by Pottenger [9]. Pottenger gave credit to the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research for "valuable assistance" at the end of his article.

Pottenger's work is perpetuated by the Price-Pottenger Foundation which is named after him and a dentist, Weston Price, a primary figure in the history of dental pseudonutrition. Price expressed his views in a book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Price stated that tooth decay was a "tragic expression of our modern degeneration" including "general physical degeneration, and facial and dental arch deformities, and character changes." He referred to these as expressions of "race decay." Price blamed such problems on factors related to the modern diet including soil depletion, white flour, sugar and pasteurized milk. Price is also cited as an authority by proponents of the discredited link between diet and criminal behavior.

Another contribution to quackery that can be attributed to Lee is that he was influential in the development of the premier health huckster, Kurt Donsbach (see "The mercurial Kurt Donsbach, Nutrition Forum, March-April, 1987). Donsbach says that he worked for SPL from 1961 to 1965 in "research development and marketing." According to one of Donsbach's promotional brochures, "he had the opportunity to help develop the (Lee) Foundation's findings on National Malnutrition." It is the false premise that the nation is malnourished which is used to justify the use of the supplements marketed by SPL and other such companies.

References

  1. Barrett S, Herbert V. The Vitamin Pushers. Prometheus Books, 1994, p.292.
  2. Bureau of Public Information, American Dental Association. "Comments on opponents of fluoridation," J Amer Dental Assoc 1965;71:1173.
  3. Milwaukee Journal, April 24, 1962.
  4. Milwaukee Journal. March 24, 1953. In J Amer Dental Assoc 1965, op cit.
  5. Pottenger FM, Jr. Am J Ortho Surg, 1946;32:467-485.
  6. Pottenger, op cit. p.484.
  7. Jones RA. "Raw milk: a holy war over health," Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1984, p.1+.
  8. Wilson GS. The Pasteurization of Milk, London: Butler & Tanner, Ltd, 1942.
  9. Jarvis WT, Kravitz E. p.295. In Pollack and Kravitz, Nutrition in Oral Health & Disease, Lea & Febiger, 1985.

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© 1996, National Council Against Health Fraud.
With proper citation, this article may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes

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This article was posted on January 30, 2001.