The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was published in 1906. Here is what babies and children were fed,
There were many such dangers, in which the odds were all against them. Their children were not as well as they had been at home; but how could they know that there was no sewer to their house, and that the drainage of fifteen years was in a cesspool under it? How could they know that the pale-blue milk that they bought around the corner was watered, and doctored with formaldehyde besides? When the children were not well at home, Teta Elzbieta would gather herbs and cure them; now she was obliged to go to the drugstore and buy extracts—and how was she to know that they were all adulterated? How could they find out that their tea and coffee, their sugar and flour, had been doctored; that their canned peas had been colored with copper salts, and their fruit jams with aniline dyes? And even if they had known it, what good would it have done them, since there was no place within miles of them where any other sort was to be had?
Today, of course, so much is better, perhaps because of the Federal Government (FDA) Food and Drug Administration. You can’t just poison all the children nowadays.
I was reminded of this passage when I heard about the Abbott baby formula scandal. How much things have changed, how much stays the same.
From the reporting in the New York Times, in 1996, Abbott Laboratories paid 32.5 Million$ for price fixing baby formula along with Bristol-Myers and American Home Products.
In 2022, Abbott recalled Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas after four infants were hospitalized with bacterial infections.