Food Reforms by Leah Chin

A closer look into food safety history.

"The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison."

In 1906, Upton Sinclair published his book, "The Jungle," exposing the poor conditions in the food industry.

Upton Sinclair exposed issues related to food safety supporting laws that lead to better safety conditions, misbranding or adulteration prevention, and lower chances of food contamination and illnesses.

The meatpacking plant, Look alike packaging, and the new laws.
"The Jungle" led to and supported several acts like the Pure Food and Drug Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act. This led to better safety conditions for the people at the work place.

It was terrible for the workers. Their hands would be covered in cuts created on the job and their finger nails would wear off. It was also very crowded and easy to pass on sickness, like tuberculosis, and keep bacteria to keep growing.

Alongside the better safety and working regulations, comes more food safety like the chances of food poisoning and related illnesses being lowered.

Other countries were questioning the safety of the American meat they were purchasing. The Meat Inspection Act was passed in 1891 which had safety checks at every stage of the meat production in hopes of getting foreign countries to purchase their products again. However, this process was mostly done to just the meat being sold to the foreign countries.

Finally, before these laws, some producers, distributors, and retailers used "look-alike packaging or sound-alike product names" to trick people into thinking they "bought their preferred items or brands" (Greenberg). Adulteration was also common.

some fillers were sawdust and chalk in flour. Additives were also included like artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and flavor enhances or fillers without informing the consumers.complaints led to Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, a chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, helped resolve these issues by taking tainted products and items off of the market to be sold. The public now had more protection against consumer fraud.

Overall, Upton Sinclair had a major role in reforming the food industry during the Progressive Era as well as the food industry now. He showed people how they were tricked and put into danger by both consuming the food or having to work in the meatpacking plants without their knowledge. Without Sinclair, these discoveries may not have been exposed and little changes would have been made from then to now.


Created with images by Monrovia Public Library - Monrovia, California - "The Jungle by Upton Sinclair"

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