1858 Bradford sweets poisoning

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1858 Bradford sweets poisoning

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The 1858 Bradford sweets poisoning was a significant incident of food poisoning that occurred in Bradford, England, on October 20, 1858. The incident resulted in the deaths of 21 people and caused over 200 others to fall ill. It was caused by the consumption of sweets that were contaminated with arsenic.

Background[edit | edit source]

During the 19th century, the confectionery industry in England experienced rapid growth, with numerous small-scale sweet manufacturers emerging. One such manufacturer was Joseph Neal, who operated a confectionery shop in Bradford.

Incident[edit | edit source]

On October 20, 1858, a batch of sweets produced by Joseph Neal's shop was found to be contaminated with arsenic. The sweets had been made using a yellow-colored arsenic-based dye called "Scheele's Green," which was commonly used at the time to give confectionery an attractive appearance. However, the dye was highly toxic and posed a significant health risk if ingested.

The contaminated sweets were sold to unsuspecting customers, many of whom were children. As a result, numerous cases of food poisoning were reported in the days following the consumption of the sweets. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in severe cases, death.

Response[edit | edit source]

Upon discovering the contamination, local authorities took immediate action to investigate the incident and prevent further harm. The contaminated sweets were traced back to Joseph Neal's shop, and the remaining stock was seized and destroyed. Neal was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

The incident sparked public outrage and led to increased scrutiny of food safety regulations. It highlighted the need for stricter controls and regulations within the confectionery industry to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Joseph Neal was tried for manslaughter in January 1859. Despite evidence of negligence, he was acquitted due to lack of intent. However, the incident had a lasting impact on the confectionery industry, leading to the introduction of stricter regulations and improved safety standards.

The 1858 Bradford sweets poisoning served as a catalyst for change in food safety practices, not only in the confectionery industry but also in other sectors. It highlighted the importance of quality control, proper labeling, and the need for regular inspections to ensure the safety of food products.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The 1858 Bradford sweets poisoning remains a significant event in the history of food safety. It serves as a reminder of the importance of stringent regulations and quality control measures to protect public health. The incident also contributed to the development of food safety laws and regulations that are still in place today.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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