The "Great Olive Poisoning" of 1919

On Saturday, August 23rd, 1919 the Lakeside club of Canton Ohio held a dinner and dance to celebrate the return of Colonel Charles C Weybrecht, formerly adjutant general of the state of Ohio and most recently commander of the US 146th infantry regiment, just returned from the war in France. The party, some version of which was happening all over the country as the approximately 2.8 million US service members who served abroad during the great war returned home, was generally agreed to have been a success. The first death came three days later. The “great olive poisoning” of 1919 was one of the most deadly food poisoning outbreaks in US history.

This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.

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All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.

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Script by JCG

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  • How about the history of the Charles W. Morgan?!

    Phil ColePhil Cole7 өдрийн өмнө
  • I have detested olives (green and black) my entire life. I knew all along that they were no damn good.

    Brandon LeagueBrandon LeagueСарын өмнө
  • After watching this whole video, I'm hungry for olives. What's wrong with me!? 😌

    Weapon of mass constructionWeapon of mass constructionСарын өмнө
  • The next time someone says "Taste this. It tastes funny, right?" I'm going to tell them about the great olive poisoning of 1919.

    Paul TheSkepticPaul TheSkepticСарын өмнө
  • I still don't know why green and purple (e.g., Kalamata) olives are in jars while black olives are in cans.

    Anony MouseAnony MouseСарын өмнө
  • one olive, two olive, three olive, youre out

    longfootbuddylongfootbuddy2 сарын өмнө
  • Fun fact: the neurotoxin from the bacteria that causes botulism actually has a few different uses, including tightening up your skin to slow down the effects of aging.

    Noah AterNoah Ater2 сарын өмнө
  • I live in Cyprus. If you dont eat olives, You aint Cypriot!

    Mark BassMark Bass2 сарын өмнө
  • I bet this guy is smarter than Ilon Musk! And thats real smart!!!

    Mark BassMark Bass2 сарын өмнө
  • 10:29 - "Eeating" PATHETIC

    Tony C.Tony C.2 сарын өмнө
  • Think of the Odwalla juice e-coli deaths, which did nothing to that company, but destroyed the thousands of small apple growers who supplied perfectly safe and pure apple juice to local schools. Odwalla owned up to using unsterilized equipment for a load of apples picked from the ground. It killed people, but not Odwalla, Treetop (sugar water with a red delicious apple waved over the vat, IMO). Pasteurizing apple juice changes the taste.

    Wanda PeaseWanda Pease3 сарын өмнө
  • Thank you, Olive guy.

    Mr. PuddingMr. Pudding3 сарын өмнө
  • Why on earth would you eat a foul smelling food (well except for actual Limburger)? Amazing that botulism toxins are used to make Botox.

    CJCJ3 сарын өмнө
  • How on earth do you find all these wonderful topics...?!?! I've never liked olives on their own. But I do love Olive oil. I hope I'm safe..

    ScottOScottO3 сарын өмнө
  • I opened up some olives while I was watching the last video, and this one gets suggested... COINCIDENCE?! I THINK NOT! Oh well, we already know our devices watch us. Companies freely admit that their marketing strategy relies on selling info. If something is free, YOU are the product.

    Face2theScr33nFace2theScr33n3 сарын өмнө
  • I just watched your "behind the scenes" video after I watched this one. I had no idea, and would never have guessed, that you sold insurance before this gig. I always pictured you as a history professor. I imagined your students recommending the prof with the bow tie to all of their friends so they could get their history credit and actually learn something at the same time. Maybe that's what you were in a past life. Either way, I enjoy watching your videos and learn something new from you with each and every one. History actually does deserve to be remembered. Thanks for all you do!

    kitgar61kitgar613 сарын өмнө
  • One of the men who died was named Oliver.

    Billy BartonBilly Barton3 сарын өмнө
  • Do not ignore mushrooms timeline : 12 hours death emoji

    Barry PettitBarry Pettit3 сарын өмнө
  • I think one of the persons who died live on olive street................

    matt bergseidmatt bergseid3 сарын өмнө
  • Thank Teddy Roosevelt for some of the first, most important pure food and drug acts! Others too but his is the first names I recall!

    Cat of the CastleCat of the Castle3 сарын өмнө
  • Hey bro, these olives taste TERRIBLE. Try one!

    MadMan MachinationsMadMan Machinations3 сарын өмнө
  • Bo(tulinum) tox(in) is currently used cosmetically (facial wrinkles) and therapeutically (overactive muscle contractions).

    ZER0ZER0SE7ENZER0ZER0SE7EN3 сарын өмнө
  • Now I know why ripe olives are in cans and green olives are in bottles when I see them while shopping. Good presentation and good to know, IMO.

    Olivier BourqueOlivier Bourque3 сарын өмнө
  • When in doubt throw it out!

    blue kittyblue kitty3 сарын өмнө
  • Do Paul Bunyan. The man and the myth.

    Mark BernierMark Bernier3 сарын өмнө
  • OMG! Is that 'Robbie the robot I spy? I could spend all day going over all your collectibles. Really glad YT put this in the rec room.

    2puffs2puffs3 сарын өмнө
  • Mom had two pressure canners, that worked hard every summer and fall while preserving food for the family. I do remember her conversations about the dangers from improperly canned food. And as you mentioned in your informative video, she did include green beans on the danger list. Another important thing for new “canners” to be aware of, is the need to have the pressure canners checked for accuracy of the gage and the pressure regulator mechanism( usually a weight on a fitting) on the lid. These items, when working together, assure that the temperature inside the jars will actually kill the botulinum toxin. There is also a pressure relief valve(plug) in the lid that will blow out before things get dangerous. Normally these things can be checked at a U.S. Agricultural Extension office in your area. This is a timely reminder that a hot water bath process is not adequate for many foods. Have you done a segment on the history of the “Mason” jar, and their various lid configurations over time?

    Robert QuebergRobert Queberg3 сарын өмнө
  • Love your shows 😎 Please do one on the history of Mayonaise as compared to that of "salad dressing" ie Miracle Whip, in the context of the advent of refrigeration and the cultural implications. Thank You

    Amy FerebeeAmy Ferebee3 сарын өмнө
  • The thumbnail show a headline reading "Probe Death of 6 at Dinner Party". I keep reading it as "Donner Party".

    K HaldaneK Haldane3 сарын өмнө
  • this should be a warning to those who also like to eat gas station sushi.

    Spanky HarlandSpanky Harland3 сарын өмнө
  • Debbie: Can I ask you a question? Grim Reaper: What? Debbie: How can we all have died at the same time? Grim Reaper: The salmon mousse. Geoffrey: Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you? Angela: I'm most dreadfully embarrassed.

    Aaron LevertonAaron Leverton3 сарын өмнө
  • This guy either needs medication, or else he's taking too much already. His speaking voice is so agitated that it's nerve-wracking to listen to. He sounds more like a street raver than an educator. Why not use your real voice, instead?

    omi godomi god3 сарын өмнө
  • The FDA budget is equivalent to $9.95 per American per year. Seems like a bargain compared to the "try it and see who dies" approach to food safety.

    RobotSpiderRobotSpider3 сарын өмнө
  • Nowadays, we just soak green olives in a lye solution. Yummy!

    Stone PreviousStone Previous3 сарын өмнө
  • Did anyone else notice eating in the newspaper was spelled "Eeating"?

    Jack ofalltradesJack ofalltrades3 сарын өмнө
  • My little brother almost died from Botulism as an infant. Someone gave him honey.

    ttrev007ttrev0073 сарын өмнө
  • As much as I love olives, I probably would have been the first to die

    Eric's Variety ChannelEric's Variety Channel3 сарын өмнө
  • I have a three year old jar of olives in the freg.

    skipstalforceskipstalforce3 сарын өмнө
  • I have never liked olives....

    Betsy BattlesBetsy Battles3 сарын өмнө
  • Soak olives in gin and vermouth and all will be good. Lol

    steve1311steve13113 сарын өмнө
  • This is the first time I've heard of this poisoning incident. Thank you for your another fascinating video. 🖖

    Matt StammMatt Stamm3 сарын өмнө
  • STEVE1989MRE (On MNthe) should watch this video!

  • Thank you very much.

    Carol BellCarol Bell3 сарын өмнө
  • This is why I was raised not to eat food in dented cans and jars that are not sealed.

    In Hoe Signo Dinces Doc 69In Hoe Signo Dinces Doc 693 сарын өмнө
  • Great story great narration. I remembered reading about this but I like the way you tell it better than I read. Look at the battle of Blaire Mountain my papaw told me first hand account due to he was standing next to Cecile Hatfield. Also this is where the term redneck was first used.

    In Hoe Signo Dinces Doc 69In Hoe Signo Dinces Doc 693 сарын өмнө
  • ...."here taste this, it doesn't taste right".... thank you....

    Marco ArceMarco Arce3 сарын өмнө
  • ....and I'm going to venture a guess that this was a pretty ugly and prolonged way to go....

    Marco ArceMarco Arce3 сарын өмнө
  • Also botulism is a toxin produced by the bacteria, and once the toxin is formed, cannot be heat treated or cooked into safety.

    Merlin GeikieMerlin Geikie3 сарын өмнө
  • Hey Chef, does this taste like poison to you?

    bubba99009bubba990093 сарын өмнө
  • I remember holiday dinners at my Grandma's house. Seemed like she always served a dish of string beans. My mom would look at it and ask, "did you can these beans?" Grandma would say yes. "But Momma, you don't even have a working pressure cooker!" Grandma would just shrug and say she's been canning them in boiling water for years and hadn't fallen off the twig yet. I suppose we were all just lucky!

    DR BozeDR Boze3 сарын өмнө
  • Great narrative!

    Kenneth BaileyKenneth Bailey3 сарын өмнө
  • if someone wants you try something after uttering the words this doesn't taste right ,get the hell out of there

    Cheryl BergCheryl Berg3 сарын өмнө
  • Was Popeye there?

    Danny TimmsDanny Timms3 сарын өмнө
  • Anybody else have a Cheech and Chong sketch playing in their heads right now? The one that ends with, "Good thing we didn't step in it!"?

    Chauncey FeatherstoneChauncey Featherstone3 сарын өмнө
  • A fascinating piece of history. Well done, sir. You do a great job in delivering the tale.

    Frank GullaFrank Gulla3 сарын өмнө
  • Thank you THG! I benefit so much from your "mini-documentaries."

    RS HallmarkRS Hallmark3 сарын өмнө
  • Overseeing and regulation proven to be a good thing. Also in 1919 we were in a pandemic. This olive issue caused my mother to not eat olives.

    Elizabeth HarttleyElizabeth Harttley3 сарын өмнө
  • Libertarians be like: food regulations be damned, let the free market control if I die from botulism!

    mipmipmipmipmipmipmipmipmipmip3 сарын өмнө
  • Please talk more slowly. You rush as if it were a race, most nerve-wracking.

    Ksks,s,xox Sksks,sKsks,s,xox Sksks,s3 сарын өмнө
  • Shake my hot n dirty Chopin martini like a babe with one anchovie olive and one stilton olive.

    Dylan DavisDylan Davis3 сарын өмнө
  • The toxin is not destroyed by heat.. However the bacteria that create the toxin are. You cant COOK a food already tainted with the toxin and make it safe to eat.

    Mini DK#9Mini DK#93 сарын өмнө
  • Thanks for this video ,The History Guy has excellent content in his topics! Cheers

    zororosariozororosario3 сарын өмнө
  • I wonder if my better half worked there ?

    Blossom JosephBlossom Joseph3 сарын өмнө
  • There was a scandal of cans of corned beef from Argentina in the 1950s. My mother never bought it after that. I was an adult before I ever had any. I had missed nothing.

    Helena McGintyHelena McGinty3 сарын өмнө
  • I like olives , but no more for me , thank you .

    Sam SumSam Sum3 сарын өмнө
  • 12:07 240° Fahrenheit = 116° Celsius

    Lakrids PibeLakrids Pibe3 сарын өмнө
  • We forget that our food handling, processing and packaging methods and regulations were developed in part by trial and error. Thank goodness for those who have gone before us. It's unfortunate that it sometimes takes deaths to change industry standards.

    JohnJohn3 сарын өмнө
  • I learn more from videos created by people passionate about a subject on MNthe than I ever did in school or college.

    Kazia ThornhillKazia Thornhill3 сарын өмнө
  • This is food should be tracked from picking too stores and restaurants

    Robert DawsonRobert Dawson3 сарын өмнө
  • I’ve had really bad food poisoning twice before, I should’ve gone to the hospital because I literally felt like I was gonna die. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    YourPalALYourPalAL3 сарын өмнө
  • How many were infected? Olive them!

    halepauhana153halepauhana1533 сарын өмнө
  • I thought it was the salmon mousse...?

    Bob_the_BombBob_the_Bomb3 сарын өмнө
  • Did anyone else think of the vichyssoise botulism poisoning in 1971?

    Nancy PineNancy Pine3 сарын өмнө
  • Have you done The Hawk's Nest Tunnel Disaster?

    Russ HattonRuss Hatton3 сарын өмнө
  • Olive The History Guy 💘

    Richard SchmittRichard Schmitt3 сарын өмнө
  • We had a lesson on this at school. I'd forgotten about it. I'm in the UK so the story made it all the way over here. It's interesting how much impact this is even having today.

    Gordon LawrenceGordon Lawrence3 сарын өмнө
  • My girlfriend eats mushrooms raw sometimes and it worries me. I tell her she should only eat them if they're cooked just to be safe. Ever since I saw the episode of Emergency! I've been wary of mushrooms.

    Golden PunGolden Pun4 сарын өмнө
    • Life insurance

      The frogThe frog3 сарын өмнө
  • Bro, your tie was crooked. Just a little, but it's a first!

    Mountain Man DaleMountain Man Dale4 сарын өмнө
  • Possible subject: Thor Heyerdahl's South Pacific raft excursion on Kon- Tiki

    Bi ModalBi Modal4 сарын өмнө
  • Love the Tardis on the bookshelf, and the robot from Forbidden Planet.

    Joseph BackesJoseph Backes4 сарын өмнө
  • Oh, these olives taste weird... think I'll have some more...

    Rea ChandlerRea Chandler4 сарын өмнө
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Deniece DonnafieldDeniece Donnafield4 сарын өмнө
  • Food is a lot safer today but by no means perfect. It seems like every other week their is an E.coili outbreak from lettuce or something healthy that was farmed and inspected by people who can't read directions or who are not trained at all. You could launch a whole new channel on food safety and not run out of content for decades. The industry's pays the companies that inspect them, and the inspectors can loose contracts if they shut factories down...

    3D-PT3D-PT4 сарын өмнө
  • I live in Ohio but I don’t remember hearing this story. Thank you for the history lesson!

    Miriam BarnettMiriam Barnett4 сарын өмнө
  • 👍

    Mindy WardMindy Ward4 сарын өмнө
  • My wife was a food scientist, properly known as a food technologist. She took these things very seriously. At home we are never allowed to switch one serving spoon from one container to another. And certainly one never uses their own spoon to dispense something another might eat. And when you keep this practice, things like salsa and olives, last much longer and can later be safely refrigerated and reused. Within reason of course.

    Gary WheelerGary Wheeler4 сарын өмнө
  • I eat Covid for breakfast with past due date olives on top.

    Charles NeilioCharles Neilio4 сарын өмнө
  • Started out a bit Irish, those first two lines.

    FoxDragonFoxDragon4 сарын өмнө
  • As always, very interesting!

    Linda WhitakerLinda Whitaker4 сарын өмнө
  • Even to this day I won't eat a ripe olive. Of course, that has more to do with not liking olives.

    BobbunBobbun4 сарын өмнө
  • Oroville. The city where the mother of the year was busted for drug trafficking.

    NicholasC66NicholasC664 сарын өмнө
  • Wow, I love tapenade!

    Cyndi FooreCyndi Foore4 сарын өмнө
  • I got very sick from green olives one Christmas, in hindsite they did look a little rough.

    B PowB Pow4 сарын өмнө
  • It’s not true that the botulinum toxin is destroyed by heat. The organism is destroyed by heat, preventing it from creating more toxin. But an already toxic food product cannot be rendered safe by heating it.

    eugenejosephfosseugenejosephfoss4 сарын өмнө
  • Thank you .

    QPRTokyoQPRTokyo4 сарын өмнө
  • I use to live in Salem Ohio with the black squirrels lol

    T ST S4 сарын өмнө
  • Wait..... The new regulation said jars must be immersed in water at what temp? 240f ? I thought water boiled at 212f !

    Ed PhillipsEd Phillips4 сарын өмнө
    • Depends on the vapor pressure above the surface of the liquid.

      Barney MM2Barney MM24 сарын өмнө
  • I wonder if a chef can be sued for negligent manslaughter for killing people like this. Not noticing that the seal is been compromised

    Tommy OhlrichTommy Ohlrich4 сарын өмнө
  • If you're trying to scare me off of eating olives, don't bother. I don't care if they're literally radioactive, I'll never stop eating them. On that note, not many people actually realise that there are things in the world that are more toxic than radiation, and that botulism is one of them.

    Remiel PollardRemiel Pollard4 сарын өмнө
  • That is also why, even to this day, you hardly ever see black olives in jars, but you see green olives in them all the time.

    ScottScott4 сарын өмнө
    • I do see black olives in jars, they do seem to go off if opened.

      High PathHigh Path4 сарын өмнө