Melvin R. Laird
Awards and Accolades
In November, 1959, aminotrizole, a weed killer known to produce thyroid cancer in laboratory mice, was found in cranberries from Oregon. This prompted Arthur Fleming, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, to warn consumers against buying cranberries. The "Cranberry Scare" nearly wiped out Wisconsin cranberry growers.
Melvin Laird came to their defense, handing out bags of cranberries on the capitol steps. It was later verified that in order to expose people to the levels of chemicals that caused cancer in rats, people would need to ingest 15,000 pounds of berries every day for a number of years. ( Source: American Council on Science and Health)
The Rake was presented to Mel in 1960 by Wisconsin Cranberry Growers.