FOOD: Everybody's Poison

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Penalties for Europe. Even the black markets felt the pinch. In many cities there was nothing under the counters as well as nothing on top of them. Many an animal sent for slaughter bypassed the major slaughter points at Kansas City, Omaha and Chicago, traveled on to local slaughterers in the East. In New York City, where at one time last week nine out of ten butcher shops were closed, OPA agents estimated that one in five of those doing any business was doing it at over-ceiling prices.

In Washington a harried Administration cut off meat exports, including UNRRA's. It had completed about three-fourths of its 1946 program of sending 595,000,000 pounds of meat to world hunger areas. The U.S. shortage would soon be felt in France and Belgium, which had been the largest buyers. But the millions of pounds normally sent overseas would ease the U.S. situation hardly at all. Agriculture Secretary Clinton P. Anderson predicted that the shortage might be worse next spring. The Price Decontrol Board refused to restore ceilings on milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products —as it had on meats.

The U.S. people were getting sore. Butchers who had once been mean to customers now complained that customers were mean to them. OPA, which had been the lamented darling of many housewives when meat was plentiful but high in price, was now blamed by almost everybody for the famine. Washington dopesters figured that the wobbly OPA was just about ripe for a knockout punch.

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