7 fatal food disasters recorded in history
Have you ever thought that something as delicious as food can wreak unthinkable amounts of havoc to humans? Let's take a look at 7 cases where food caused a great deal of damage to humans.
#1 Massive beer flood
The thought of being trapped in a flood of beer may seem interesting at first, until you hear how badly it turned out for the Horseshoe Brewery in 1814. Approximately 3,500 barrels of beer erupted from a faulty fermentation tank, with enough force to demolish the back fence of the building.
It didn't end there, as the 15 foot alcoholic flood took to the neighboring streets, destroying lives and properties in the process. A total of 8 persons were reported dead, two houses collapsed and 1 person suspected to have died of alcohol poisoning. The next time you ever wish to be caught in a flood of beer, you may want to reconsider your plans.
#2 Wheat havoc
In 1971, Iraq was hit by a strong wave of famine that it had to look for assistance from external countries. Fortunately, Mexico was willing to come to Iraq's aid and both countries sealed a deal.
Mexico sold 0.1 million tons of a certain high-yielding wheat and it had to be shipped. In a bid to prevent the seeds from germinating during the voyage, the Iraqis decided to treat them with a mercury-based fungicide which was only meant to be used after the wheat had been planted. Unfortunately, those instructions were written in English and Spanish.
When they finally arrived in Iraq, there was no point in planting the wheat anymore as it was already too late. So, they decided to feed it to their livestock and also use it to make bread against the advice of the Mexicans.
Before long, the hospitals were filled with people sick of mercury poisoning, with 459 recorded deaths and many more who suffered irreversible brain damage.
#3 Flour mill bang
For those of us who regularly bake homemade cookies and other pastries, we'll agree that flour seems like the safest, unharmful thing you could ever come in contact with. Or is it? The workers in Washburn mill, Minneapolis and their neighbors would beg to differ.
In 1878, Washburn mill was the biggest operating flour mill in Minneapolis at the time, averaging a total of 2,000 barrels of flour produce per day. Everything was looking good until the unimaginable happened on May 2, 1878.
At the time, one would debate that the only hazardous materials in that mill were the gigantic machinery as well as other equipment in the factory. Little did they know that their biggest wolfsbane was the fine dust flour particles floating around.
Any little spark would cause an immediate ignition that could lead to a chain reaction and, ultimately, an explosion. Indeed this was the case on that day, as a pair of overheating millstones started to erupt sparks that would eventually cause a massive explosion.
A total of 14 persons died and the fire created demolished every neighboring building including 5 other mills. Not everything that appears innocent really is innocent, right?
#4 Bread madness
Having to explain to people that the cause of their hallucinations is the bread they ate seems somewhat disturbing. We're not asking you to throw your bread in the trash just yet, hear us out first.
So, it's a common thing to discover a stale bread by smelling it or even just noticing that molds have begun to grow on it. Sometimes, you'll need to taste it first to confirm this. However, in 1951, this whole thing about eating stale breads went overboard in Pont-Saint-Esprit, France.
No fewer than 250 people were diagnosed with Ergot poisoning and the hallucinations they experienced wasn't funny. There were claims of a man who thought himself an airplane and literally jumped off a two-storey building window hoping to float in mid-air. Others say that an 11-year-old attempted to strangle his mom to death.
Even the local doctors could hardly handle the overwhelming amount of new cases, which resulted in the death of 7 residents. You may want to carefully examine your bread before taking a single bite next time.
#5 Imperial sugar factory blast
On a scale of 1 to 10, how dangerous do you think something as sweet as sugar is? For anyone who's ever experienced a sugar burn, this one would be a no-brainer. Sugar burns can cause severe damage to the skin and they also stick to human skin which makes it even worse.
The bang which occurred at the Imperial sugar factory located in Port Wentworth, Georgia was ghastly. Victims were reported to be seen completely flayed during the incident. Just like the Wasburn mill explosion, this one was also triggered by sugar dust particles floating around in the factory environment.
Overheated machines led to sparks which ignited and burned for over 7 days. 14 people were reported dead, 40 injured and 17 others admitted into the hospital for coma.
#6 Ketchup suffocation
The number of individuals who prefer to add a spread of spicy ketchup to their meals is over the roof. We wonder how they'll react if they heard that factory workers in Lucknow, India were suffocated by ketchup.
The fumes produced by fermenting ketchup at the Akanksha food products plant in India was enough to cause the death of 6 workers. The first victim had only intended to clean up the old vegetable pulp when her respiratory system was overwhelmed by the fumes and she slumped and died.
In an attempt to rescue their colleague, 5 other workers met the same unfortunate fate when they rushed in, one after the other.
#7 Flood of flaming whiskey
Now that we've seen how much of a havoc alcohol can cause with the Horseshoe Brewery accident, what do you think would happen if that flood caught fire? Ah yes, you almost forgot that alcohols are highly flammable.
The residents of Dublin in 1875 would never forget the incident that they witnessed as a burning flood of whiskey flowed across the streets. If you're wondering what caused this one, it was due to a fire that started in two buildings – Malone's Bonded Warehouse and Reid's Malt House.
Great amount of malt liquor and whiskey ignited and exploded through the town. The panic attack was enough to send chills down the spine of everyone who swam in the flood of burning alcohol. Surprisingly, no lives were lost and 10 people were severely injured by the burning whiskey.
The next time anyone says food cannot cause a great deal of problems, well you know better than to agree with them. Make sure to take proper precautions when dealing with food particles, especially in large factories.
Tell us which one of these horrific food disasters you think was the most tragic.
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