Our ability to cope with food poisoning outbreaks has not improved much in 50 years

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'


On May 7 1964 a catering-size can of corned beef from Rosario, Argentina, was opened in a supermarket in central Aberdeen. Half the contents were put on a shelf behind the cold meat counter and the other half went into the window.

The weather was warm. The sun shone on the meat. Corned beef is cooked in the can and should be sterile. But it wasn’t. It had been contaminated after cooking when the can was cooled with untreated water from the River Parana.

Into this river, 66 tons of human faeces and 250,000 gallons of urine were discharged every day from Rosario, where typhoid was common. The bacteria in the corned beef in the window grew vigorously.

Period6 May 2014

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