The Sale of Meat In New York City, United States of America During the 19th Century

19th-century-butcher

Butchers in the 19th century often turned rotting meat into sausage so that the meat it was made up of was unidentifiable and palatable. Butchers added the chemical compound Borax which is sodium borate to cover up the scent of the meat because the boracic acid would kill any bacteria present upon the meat. It was later discovered that Borax is ideal for keeping wounds clean, killing cockroaches, and cleaning floors, which provides a clear frame of reference in terms of its potential safety hazards when consumed. The meat would still smell and taste bad and would cause those who consumed it to become sick but despite this, butchers would add red clothing dye made from coal tar which sometimes had arsenic in it to freshen up the grey and brown color of the meat so that it was more visually presentable to consumers. Finally, stale bread or cookies were added to bind everything together before the meat was sold

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