Cranberry Scare

On November 9, 1959, the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), Arthur S. Flemming, made the following announcement: "The Food and Drug Administration today urged that no further sales be made of cranberries and cranberry products produced in Washington and Oregon in 1958 and 1959 because of their possible contamination by a chemical weed killer, aminotriazole, which causes cancer in the thyroids of rats when it is contained in their diet, until the cranberry industry has submitted a workable plan to separate the contaminated berries from those that are not contaminated.

The announcement caused a great furor through the U.S. that resulted in the removal of cranberry products from the shelves of grocery stores, menus of restaurants and the Thanksgiving tables of American families.

  1. Documents
  1. 1. Topic Summary
  2. 10. Sec. Flemming statement on cranberries
  3. 10. Sec. Flemming statement on cranberries
  4. 11. Summary of what is known on aminotriazole and cranberries
  5. 12. Letter from L.W. Sundquist to President Eisenhower
  6. 13. T.A. Kilgore and Co. letter to President Eisenhower
  7. 14. Letter from Conol Waterless Sales Company
  8. 15. Letter from Switlik Parachute Company, Inc. to the White House
  9. 16. Memo to Mr. Bryce Harlow from A.P. Toner
  10. 17. Letter to Pres. from Pres. of Ocean Spray Cranberry
  11. 18. NCA Cranberry Sampling Proposal
  12. 19. Those Cranberries. New Republic.
  13. 2. Pesticide Residues and the Food Supply
  14. 20. File Food Contamination, From Dr. B.S. Schweigert
  15. 21. The White House, Chemicals and Food. Jan. 20, 1960.
  16. 22. Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting
  17. 23. Statement of Secretary of Agriculture.
  18. 24. Pesitcide Problem Studied by Cabinet. NY Times
  19. 25. Excerpt from International Apple Association
  20. 26. Letter to Mr. James Hagerty of the White House.
  21. 27. Letter to Mr. Clarence Francis from Ocean Spray Cranberries
  22. 28. Memoradum for Mr. Paarlberg from the Bureau of the President
  23. 29. Major Aspects of the Dept. of Ag. Proposed Cranberry Program
  24. 3. Memorandum for Director Stans, concerns over pesticide residues.
  25. 30. Memorandum for Bryce Harlow
  26. 31. Memorandum for the Sec. of Health, Education and Welfare
  27. 32. Memorandum for the Sec. of Ag.
  28. 33. Chemicals Panel and Proposed Press Release
  29. 34. Proposed Cranberry Program
  30. 35. Report of the Panel on Food Additives
  31. 36. Anne Wheaton, Press Release
  32. 37. Letter from the University of Rhode Island
  33. 38. Response from Flemming to the University of Rhode Island
  34. 39. Interview with Dr. Arthur S. Flemming
  35. 4. Memorandum for General Persons, growing concerns (full)
  36. 5. Edits requested from office of Paarlberg
  37. 6. Memorandum for the Hon. Don Paarlberg from Commissioner Larrick
  38. 7. Memorandum from Comm. of Food and Drugs
  39. 8. Dept. of Ag. Review and Suggestions on proposed memorandum
  40. 9. Memorandum for Mr. Morgan from Don Paarlberg