MARCH 31, 1945
WASHINGTON, Friday—Yesterday at my press conference I was again asked about food in this country, and every now and then I get a letter from someone who becomes entirely hysterical because she cannot buy meat in the particular place where she lives and who thinks that she and her family are about to starve.
These people do not realize that the same values which exist in meat are present in eggs, fish or cheese, and a short time without meat will do no one any harm. The average consumption of meat per person per year, before the war, was 126 pounds. All during the war, civilians have eaten a great deal more than that. For the first time there is about 8 percent less meat than before the war.
One problem which aggravates the shortage of meat is the difference in distribution between the different types of slaughtering. First, there is the slaughtering on farms; second, in plants which are not government inspected; and third, in plants under federal inspection. These last plants are the only ones which can sell to the Army and Navy and which can ship meat across state lines. People in rural areas get more meat than their average; people in big cities get less. The government is taking steps now to make a fairer distribution to different types of slaughtering plants.
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I saw two very interesting films last night. One was a film being used in our military hospitals to help the men get a better attitude and have more hope in facing their various handicaps. The other was a quiz kid film which the Department of Agriculture has produced to promote a balanced school lunch program. I hope we will grow in knowledge of the use of food, for it is one of the important things in the life of every child and every adult. Sometimes I think, however, that we indulge ourselves a little when we decide that there are certain simple, everyday things that we do not care to eat. Of course, doctors have to cut out foods which are apparently disagreeing with children or adults, but many times people will indulge themselves in tastes where a little perseverance would make them eat things that are really good for them.
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This afternoon I am going to attend a tea which marks the closing of a training course conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service for the state chairmen of public health and welfare of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. From what I hear, this course has been not only interesting, but very valuable, and I am glad to have the chance to meet with these chairmen this afternoon.
In the evening I shall attend the "War Workers Week" ceremony at the National Archives Auditorium, which is sponsored by the women's auxiliary of the United Federal Workers of America, CIO to pay tribute to the women whose relatives are in the armed forces.