RICE FOR G.I.'s
Time Magazine Archives
Next week Texas' Gordon L. Harwell and Forrest E. Mars (Mars Candy) will start building a new $750,000 plant at Houston, Tex., to process vitaminized, weevil-proof rice for G.l.s in the hot-weather zones overseas. Financed by Defense Plant Corp. and given a high priority by the War Production Board, the new plant will process 25 to 30 million Ibs. of rice per year for the Army.
Harwell and Mars are U.S. licensees for a rice-milling process developed by German Biochemist Erich Gustav Huzenlaub (now a naturalized British citizen), which forces the vitamins and minerals firmly into the heart of the rice. For the past year and a half, Harwell, who snapped up the Huzenlaub Process after others turned it down, has been struggling to fill Army orders from his original pilot plant. Anxious to get more "converted rice," the Army got behind Mars's and Harwell's plan for a new plant. Last week Harwell hurried aboard an airliner at Washington, Houston-bound with his high-priority certificate and a bundle of blueprints. The plant is scheduled to be completed by January 1, 1945.
To the Quartermaster's Office, the Huzenlaub product is important for two reasons :
1. The hot-weather lands of the South Pacific abound with broad-snouted weevils. The weevils ruin ordinary rice before the men get it. But the Quartermaster's Office can put Huzenlaub's "converted rice" into any kind of bag, ship it to New Guinea or Saipan and never worry about weevils because the milling process makes each grain so slick and hard the weevil can't make a dent in it. It can be stored indefinitely.
2. Water-soluble vitamins and minerals, which are lost to rice when the brown bran husk is removed in the usual commercial milling process, are largely retained in the Huzenlaub Process.
"Converted rice" costs the Army 80¢ per 100-lb. bag more than ordinary commercial rice (average price—$7.72 per 100 Ibs.). Harwell was granted the higher ceiling for his special type several months ago, over the opposition of other millers. But with the greater capacity and efficiency of the new plant he hopes the price will soon be lowered. The Army thinks the premium a small one to pay to give the G.I. relief from dehydrated vegetables. - August 28, 1944