P. F. Petersen Baking Co. v. Bryan
290 U.S. 570 (1934)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

P. F. Petersen Baking Co. v. Bryan, 290 U.S. 570 (1934)

P. F. Petersen Baking Co. v. Bryan

No. 203

Argued December 8, 1933

Decided January 8, 1934

290 U.S. 570

Syllabus

1. In order to protect purchasers of bread from imposition by sale of short loaves, a state has power to prescribe not only the minimum weights of loaves that may be sold by bakers, but also the maximum tolerances in excess of those weights. P. 290 U. S. 573.

2. A Nebraska statute enacts that every loaf made for sale in Nebraska shall be one-half pound, one pound, one and one-half pounds, or exact multiples of one pound, and that the Secretary of Agriculture of the state shall prescribe reasonable tolerances or variations in excess of those weights and the time for which they shall be maintained. Fines are to be imposed for violations. A regulation by the Secretary fixes the tolerance at not more than three ounces per pound and requires that the bread be so made that, under normal conditions, it will maintain the minimum weight for not less than twelve hours after cooling; the weights are to be determined by taking the average of not less than five loaves, if available, and bakers are not made responsible for maintenance of minimum weights after delivery to a retail dealer or consumer

Page 290 U. S. 571

or to a transportation agency for delivery. The Act excepts " fancy breads," without defining them.

Held:

(1) That the tolerance so fixed is not unreasonable. Burrs Baking Co. v. Bryan,264 U. S. 504, distinguished. P. 290 U. S. 573.

(2) It does not appear that the delegation of authority to the executive officer, including the implied authority to decide what is covered by the term "fancy breads," is arbitrary. P. 290 U. S. 574.

3. One who attacks a statute as unconstitutional must show that it is unconstitutional in its application to himself. P. 290 U. S. 575.

4. Where a statute regulating the weights of loaves has the double purpose of protecting consumers from short weight and of protecting the bakers from unfair competition, it will not be held unconstitutional as to bakers unless shown to be so in both aspects. P. 290 U. S. 575.

5. One who complains that regulations promulgated under legislative authority by a state board are unreasonable and oppressive should seek relief by applying to that board to modify them before bringing suit. P. 290 U. S. 575.

124 Neb. 464, 247 N.W. 39, affirmed.

This suit was brought by several baking companies to enjoin the Governor and the Acting Secretary of Agriculture of the Nebraska from enforcing an Act for the regulation of weights of loaves of bread. The court below sustained a decree dismissing the complaint.

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