Closeup of canned food.
The Meat Controversy That Almost Ended Canned Food Forever
By Haldan Kirsch
The first canned foods began to appear at the beginning of the nineteenth century and became instantly popular with military forces like the British Navy.
This need to fuel a growing empire increased its demand, but it was struck by controversy in 1852 when food inspectors discarded more than 1,500 tons of canned foods.
They had received multiple reports that the supplier Stephen Goldner had been using meats other than those his products advertised in the cans.
Goldner was a big name in the industry and even supplied the navy, but as demand increased, his production facilities in Romania were taxed and started cutting corners.
Inspectors discovered hundreds of cans of food that contained rotting, putrid meat, including tongues, livers, and offal, that allegedly caused the inspectors to gag from the smell.
The masses in Britain, Europe, and the United States were shocked by the revelation that such deceptive and dangerous tactics were employed in the canned food industry.
Ten years after this revelation, the doctor and writer Andrew Wynter wrote about how the public's perceptions had clearly been shaken regarding canned foods.
He mentioned that this prejudice was unfounded at the time, but the canned food industry was deeply affected.
These fears died with time, and as the industry began mechanizing the way canned food was created, public perceptions began to shift to a positive tone.