Food and Nutrition through the 20th Century: Food Technology and Regulations

Age of Patent Medicine and False Advertising

Before the 1900s, mislabeling of foods and drugs was common, and often intentional. States had primary control over domestically produced products. Many foods and drugs carried unsubstantiated health claims such as cures for cancer or baldness.

Labels did not necessarily reflect what was in the product. In the following pictures, the tomato paste is only 14% tomatoes, and the maple syrup is only 1.5% maple syrup.

Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Food and Drug Safety Laws

Food and Nutrition Labels

In Pursuit of Freshness

Workers loading cheese into a refrigerated car in West Jefferson, North Carolina (1940s)

Source: North Carolina Digital Heritage Center & Ashe County Public Library

Kitchen Technology

This is the kitchen of Blandings Dream House in Rocky Mont, NC built after World War II. It is considered a modern kitchen with all the new appliances available at the time.

Source: North Carolina Digital Heritage Center & Braswell Memorial Library

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