Preservatives in canned goods

Material Information

Preservatives in canned goods
Series Title:
Press bulletin
Blair, A. W ( Augustine Wilberforce ), b. 1866
University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication:
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
3 p. : ; 21 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Canned foods -- Florida ( lcsh )
Food preservatives ( lcsh )
Chemicals ( jstor )
Heating ( jstor )
State legislation ( jstor )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


General Note:
Caption title.
General Note:
"Feb. 1st, 1902."
General Note:
At head of title: Department of Chemistry, Food Adulteration.
Statement of Responsibility:
by A.W. Blair.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
82611468 ( OCLC )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text

Press Bulletin No. 17.


Experiment Station.



Preservatives in Canned Goods.
[ B A. W. BLAIR.]
The canning of fruits, meats and' vegetables for
food, has come to be one of the great industries of
this country. Every year millions of cans are sold,
and new products are constantly being placed upon
,the market. The reasons for preparing these food pro-
ducts are not hard to find. It enables the consumer
to have fruit, vegetables and meat at times and places
when and where hencould not otherwise get them, and
also supplies them to him at a much smaller cost than
he could possibly get them in their natural state. The
principle followed in canning these various products is
practically the same. They must first be heated, and
then sealed so that they are'entirely protected from
the air. If the heating has been sufficiently thorough,

Feb. 1st, 1902.

and the can is properly sealed, the material will keep
indefinitely. Every house-wife knows that if she wants
her fruit to keep, she must first cook or thoroughly
heat it, and then see that the jar is perfectly sealed; but
everyone does not understand that the cooking or heating
is done to kill germs or bacteria that are in the fruit, and
that the jar is sealed to prevent the germs which are in
the air from coming in contact with the fruit. It
is the presence of these germs which causes decomposi-
tion in the fruit or meat, or as we say, causes it to
"spoil," and if it is heated to a sufficiently high tempera-
ture to kill all of the- germs that are on it, and the air
is kept away from it so that (no more germs can come in
contact with it, it will keep. It has, however, been
learned that certain chemicals will also kill these germs
and prevent their development from the spores (reproduc-
tive cells), and shrewd manufacturers have for some-
time used these^ chemicals to make sure that their
goods will keep. In this way any germs or spores that
may have escaped the heat will be sure to be killed by the
chemical. It should be noted here however, that the use
of chemicals is entirely unnecessary if the material
has been thoroughly and properly heated, and the can
perfectly sealed. But the manufacturer, to save time,
and in some instances to better preserve the natural ap-
pearance of the product, shortens the heating process,
and adds the chemical to complete any work left undone
by the heating or sealing process. Thus the number of
sound cans will be increased at a reduced cost to the man-
ufucturer, and the consumer suffers the consequences,
for nearly all of the chemicals so used are poisonous
when taken in any considerable quantity, and a number
of the states have laws prohibiting their use. Some of

the chemicals that are used as preservatives are boracic
acid, benzoic acid, salicylic acid. sulphurous acid* and
formaldehyde (formalin). While it is not probable that
many persons would get enough of any one or more of
these poisons at one time to cause sickness, still if they
are continually taken in small quantities, they may final-
ly produce serious digestive disorders. Among the states
having laws regulating the manufacture and sale of food
products are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan, Wiscon-
sin, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky. The
first report under the North Carolina law states that
66.52 per cent. of the canned vegetables examined con-
tained preservatives. Those most found were salicylic
acid and formaldehyde. A report made sometime after
the law went into effect in Kentucky says: "We have
found salicylic acid, sometimes in large quantities, in
tomato catsup, preserves and other food products which
were sold as pure. We have found formaldehyde and
other preservatives in milk which perhaps in some cases
was fed to infants." The same report says: "Kentucky
has been the "dumping ground" for inferior food prod-
ucts that could not be sold in other states." May it not
be well to consider whether Florida has become or ever
will become the "dumping ground" for food products
that cannot be sold in states having-laws controlling the
sale of these products.
In a later bulletin it is proposed to take up another
phase of food adulteration.
Or State p)(,peW1 please copy.