The Lifetime Imprisonment of Typhoid Mary for the Spread of Disease Via Food Preparation

Typhoid-Mary

Mary Mallon was an Irish cook who was imprisoned for life for not washing her hands properly prior to preparing food. Mallon, an immigrant often referred to as “Typhoid Mary” unknowingly spread typhoid as she did not see a need to wash her hands frequently. Everywhere Mallon worked, people got sick or died which eventually lead to her apprehension. In 1882, the German physician Robert Koch had published a paper proving that microorganisms transmit disease. This discovery gave birth to microbiology. In 1907, New York City, United States of America sanitary expert George Soper had tracked the typhoid outbreak down to Mallon. Suspecting Mallon was immune to the disease but still a carrier, Soper pleaded with Mallon to be tested, however Mallon refused, and angrily chasing Soper off with a dining fork. After being visited by the health board of New York City, Mallon found herself under quarantine where she remained for 3 years until she swore an affidavit to never work as a cook again. 5 years afterwards, another outbreak of typhoid occurred, this time traced back to Mary Brown, however Brown was Mallon working under an assumed identity. Mallon was quarantined once again, never being let out and dying from pneumonia while imprisoned

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