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
#history #thehistoryguy #foodsafety

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  • 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 цагийн өмнө
  • Hey bro, these olives taste TERRIBLE. Try one!

    MadMan MachinationsMadMan Machinations18 цагийн өмнө
  • Bo(tulinum) tox(in) is currently used cosmetically (facial wrinkles) and therapeutically (overactive muscle contractions).

    ZER0ZER0SE7ENZER0ZER0SE7EN3 өдрийн 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 өдрийн өмнө
  • When in doubt throw it out!

    blue kittyblue kitty4 өдрийн өмнө
  • Do Paul Bunyan. The man and the myth.

    Mark BernierMark Bernier4 өдрийн 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.

    2puffs2puffs5 өдрийн 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 Queberg5 өдрийн 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 Ferebee6 өдрийн өмнө
  • The thumbnail show a headline reading "Probe Death of 6 at Dinner Party". I keep reading it as "Donner Party".

    K HaldaneK Haldane6 өдрийн өмнө
  • this should be a warning to those who also like to eat gas station sushi.

    Spanky HarlandSpanky Harland6 өдрийн 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 Leverton7 өдрийн 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 god7 өдрийн 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.

    RobotSpiderRobotSpider7 өдрийн өмнө
  • Nowadays, we just soak green olives in a lye solution. Yummy!

    Stone PreviousStone Previous7 өдрийн өмнө
  • Did anyone else notice eating in the newspaper was spelled "Eeating"?

    Jack ofalltradesJack ofalltrades7 өдрийн өмнө
  • My little brother almost died from Botulism as an infant. Someone gave him honey.

    ttrev007ttrev0077 өдрийн өмнө
  • As much as I love olives, I probably would have been the first to die

    Eric's Variety ChannelEric's Variety Channel8 өдрийн өмнө
  • I have a three year old jar of olives in the freg.

    skipstalforceskipstalforce8 өдрийн өмнө
  • I have never liked olives....

    Betsy BattlesBetsy Battles8 өдрийн өмнө
  • Soak olives in gin and vermouth and all will be good. Lol

    steve1311steve13118 өдрийн өмнө
  • This is the first time I've heard of this poisoning incident. Thank you for your another fascinating video. 🖖

    Matt StammMatt Stamm9 өдрийн өмнө
  • STEVE1989MRE (On MNthe) should watch this video!

  • Always a solid video! TYVM!

    Jay SellersJay Sellers9 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you very much.

    Carol BellCarol Bell9 өдрийн өмнө
  • This is why I was raised not to eat food in dented cans and jars that are not sealed.

    Doc 69Doc 6910 өдрийн 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.

    Doc 69Doc 6910 өдрийн өмнө
  • ...."here taste this, it doesn't taste right".... thank you....

    Marco ArceMarco Arce10 өдрийн өмнө
  • ....and I'm going to venture a guess that this was a pretty ugly and prolonged way to go....

    Marco ArceMarco Arce10 өдрийн 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 Geikie10 өдрийн өмнө
  • Hey Chef, does this taste like poison to you?

    bubba99009bubba9900910 өдрийн 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 Boze10 өдрийн өмнө
  • Great narrative!

    Kenneth BaileyKenneth Bailey10 өдрийн өмнө
  • if someone wants you try something after uttering the words this doesn't taste right ,get the hell out of there

    Cheryl BergCheryl Berg10 өдрийн өмнө
  • Was Popeye there?

    Danny TimmsDanny Timms11 өдрийн 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 Featherstone11 өдрийн өмнө
  • A fascinating piece of history. Well done, sir. You do a great job in delivering the tale.

    Frank GullaFrank Gulla11 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you THG! I benefit so much from your "mini-documentaries."

    RS HallmarkRS Hallmark12 өдрийн 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 Harttley12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Libertarians be like: food regulations be damned, let the free market control if I die from botulism!

    mipmipmipmipmipmipmipmipmipmip12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Please talk more slowly. You rush as if it were a race, most nerve-wracking.

    Ksks,s,xox Sksks,sKsks,s,xox Sksks,s12 өдрийн өмнө
  • Shake my hot n dirty Chopin martini like a babe with one anchovie olive and one stilton olive.

    Dylan DavisDylan Davis12 өдрийн 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#912 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thanks for this video ,The History Guy has excellent content in his topics! Cheers

    zororosariozororosario12 өдрийн өмнө
  • I wonder if my better half worked there ?

    Blossom JosephBlossom Joseph12 өдрийн 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 McGinty13 өдрийн өмнө
  • I like olives , but no more for me , thank you .

    Sam SumSam Sum13 өдрийн өмнө
  • 12:07 240° Fahrenheit = 116° Celsius

    Lakrids PibeLakrids Pibe13 өдрийн 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.

    JohnJohn13 өдрийн 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 Thornhill13 өдрийн өмнө
  • This is food should be tracked from picking too stores and restaurants

    Robert DawsonRobert Dawson13 өдрийн 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.

    YourPalALYourPalAL13 өдрийн өмнө
  • How many were infected? Olive them!

    halepauhana153halepauhana15314 өдрийн өмнө
  • I thought it was the salmon mousse...?

    Bob_the_BombBob_the_Bomb14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Did anyone else think of the vichyssoise botulism poisoning in 1971?

    Nancy PineNancy Pine14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Have you done The Hawk's Nest Tunnel Disaster?

    Russ HattonRuss Hatton14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Olive The History Guy 💘

    Richard SchmittRichard Schmitt14 өдрийн 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 Lawrence14 өдрийн 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 Pun15 өдрийн өмнө
    • Life insurance

      The frogThe frog14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Bro, your tie was crooked. Just a little, but it's a first!

    Mountain Man DaleMountain Man Dale15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Possible subject: Thor Heyerdahl's South Pacific raft excursion on Kon- Tiki

    Bi ModalBi Modal15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Love the Tardis on the bookshelf, and the robot from Forbidden Planet.

    Joseph BackesJoseph Backes15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Oh, these olives taste weird... think I'll have some more...

    Rea ChandlerRea Chandler15 өдрийн өмнө
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Deniece DonnafieldDeniece Donnafield15 өдрийн 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-PT15 өдрийн өмнө
  • I live in Ohio but I don’t remember hearing this story. Thank you for the history lesson!

    Miriam BarnettMiriam Barnett15 өдрийн өмнө
  • 👍

    Mindy WardMindy Ward15 өдрийн 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 Wheeler15 өдрийн өмнө
  • I eat Covid for breakfast with past due date olives on top.

    Charles NeilioCharles Neilio15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Started out a bit Irish, those first two lines.

    FoxDragonFoxDragon15 өдрийн өмнө
  • As always, very interesting!

    Linda WhitakerLinda Whitaker15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Even to this day I won't eat a ripe olive. Of course, that has more to do with not liking olives.

    BobbunBobbun15 өдрийн өмнө
  • Oroville. The city where the mother of the year was busted for drug trafficking.

    NicholasC66NicholasC6615 өдрийн өмнө
  • Wow, I love tapenade!

    Cyndi FooreCyndi Foore15 өдрийн өмнө
  • I got very sick from green olives one Christmas, in hindsite they did look a little rough.

    B PowB Pow15 өдрийн 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.

    eugenejosephfosseugenejosephfoss16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you .

    QPRTokyoQPRTokyo16 өдрийн өмнө
  • I use to live in Salem Ohio with the black squirrels lol

    T ST S16 өдрийн өмнө
  • I really really want to like the History Guy but every time I try to watch he loses me with the sheer volume of completely extraneous and wholly irrelevant details. Why do I possibly need to know that Charles' father started a lumber mill to understand what happened with food poisoning at his dinner party?

    Expat214Expat21416 өдрийн өмнө
  • Wait..... The new regulation said jars must be immersed in water at what temp? 240f ? I thought water boiled at 212f !

    Ed PhillipsEd Phillips16 өдрийн өмнө
    • Depends on the vapor pressure above the surface of the liquid.

      Barney MM2Barney MM215 өдрийн 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 Ohlrich16 өдрийн 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 Pollard16 өдрийн 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.

    ScottScott16 өдрийн өмнө
    • I do see black olives in jars, they do seem to go off if opened.

      High PathHigh Path14 өдрийн өмнө
  • Recently in Australia a bar with a now-unfavourable reputation served a dish topped with oven cleaner instead of vinegar. A couple people were permanently injured.

    Jordan FerrazzaJordan Ferrazza16 өдрийн өмнө
  • I noticed the 'History Guy' bobble head on the shelf next to the Tardis model. Maybe a segment on 'Bobble Heads' is warranted?

    John NeederJohn Needer16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Suggestion for the show contained here: Fascinating, Lance. I had never heard of the olive/botulism poisoning saga, being in Canada. This doubtless explains in part why warnings about insecure or perforated coverings are pretty much universally found on sealed containers of all kinds. The perforation reference applies to a rash of poisonings brought about by people deliberately injecting materials into containers than replacing them on the store shelves. I believe this happened around the '80s in Canada and the US but that's a guess. I don't know if you've covered the subject of food being injected by miscreants but you might want to check it out. It wouldn't take long. Cheers from Canada

    deltavee2deltavee216 өдрийн өмнө
  • You should do a video on the 2017 Listeriosis Outbreak in South Africa. Despite many food safety measures being in place, over 200 people died of food poisoning, and is considered the worst instance of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning in the world.

    John AucampJohn Aucamp16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Wow, politicians and health scientists working together? That seems weird now.....

    Jim TalbottJim Talbott16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Although it's very true about buying dented very low cost food cans Walmart has many many many of these and I've accidently bought them but was unwilling to take them back. I ate the contents and luckily I wasn't poisoned.

    Robert TelarketRobert Telarket16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Watch a MNthe video on how black olives are made . You will be disgusted by the chemicals

    IconoclastIconoclast16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Not the same type of incident but my grandmothers brother, Melvy Gamel, had a similar story. He fought in Germany during WW2 as a driver/mechanic of a halftrack for the 390th AAA Battalion. They took fire, shot down planes and pushed through Germany to meet up with the Russians. A couple months after he got back here to California, he was killed in a car crash. Crazy how things can work out like that. Thanks for another amazing episode History Guy!

    sennadesillvasennadesillva16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Wow. So glad I dont even like the SMELL of olives - so eating them is right out!

    MidnightRose07MidnightRose0716 өдрийн өмнө
  • The only valid excuse for being a picky eater, is when said food nearly killed you and did kill several of your family members!

    malenotyalcmalenotyalc16 өдрийн өмнө
  • 🫒 ☠️

    mercoidmercoid16 өдрийн өмнө
  • California super communist anyway

    Big AlBig Al16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Monty Python show had a skit with a similar narrative.

    TheStephenmonroeTheStephenmonroe16 өдрийн өмнө
  • It was the Russians 😄.

    Terry BootTerry Boot16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Nice job on this sir! I'm from that area. Just glad to see my local history on your channel. Helen Sebring Gahris being the daughter of Frank Sebring. One of 3 brothers that founded Sebring Ohio.

    Donald PaytonDonald Payton16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Good thing I wasn't there. I would have no chances. God! How I love olives!

    Daniel Peixoto MartinsDaniel Peixoto Martins17 өдрийн өмнө
  • It's good that Olive them didn't die.

    VeryBarryVeryBarry17 өдрийн өмнө
    • @VeryBarry ...I'll see myself out now.

      Barney MM2Barney MM215 өдрийн өмнө
    • @Barney MM2 And he that won't pun ain't no fun....are you now gonna say people that rhyme commit more crime?

      VeryBarryVeryBarry15 өдрийн өмнө
    • He who would pun would pick a pocket, Barry!

      Barney MM2Barney MM215 өдрийн өмнө