Back in 1858 a Bradford confectioner known as ‘Humbug Billy’ was buying his mint humbugs … Death by candy — Rare case of black licorice poisoning kills man in Massachusetts The licorice plant naturally contains a toxin called glycyrrhizin. Appleton suggested that the finished sweets looked a little darker than usual, but Neal said that they were quite satisfactory. His peppermint humbugs were laced with arsenic. That’s when a Texas man named Ronald O’Bryan gave cyanide-laced pixie sticks to five children, including his son. History of Britain. The event contributed to the passage of the Pharmacy Act 1868 and legislation regulating the adulteration of foodstuffs. The peppermint humbugs in question were made by James Appleton, an experienced sweet maker, who was employed by Neal. A particular kind of candy called a humbug… The tainted candy trail began with Bradford, England, confectioner Joseph Neal. Not all poisonings are done on purpose. The culprit? The Bradford sweets poisoning was the accidental arsenic poisoning of more than 200 people in Bradford, England in 1858; an estimated 20 people died when sweets accidentally made with arsenic were sold from a market stall. Dying for a Humbug, the Bradford Sweets Poisoning 1858. On October 30, 1858, William “Humbug Billy” Hardaker inadvertently poisoned over 200 people. Peppermint humbugs are a simple treat, typically flavored … In October of 1858, some of Hardaker’s customers started becoming sick. The incident reflected the state of Victorian pharmacology and led to law reform. There are many, many interesting stories associated with arsenic. One of my personal favourites, if that’s the right word, is the story of the Bradford Sweets Poisoning. That's when more than 200 people around Bradford got sick and at least 20 died. Every October for at least 60 years, phantom portraits of the evil Halloween humbug have been passed on by the media and word of mouth. The most infamous Halloween poisoning took place on October 31, 1974. Sometimes, they're a terrible, tragic mistake, and one such a mistake happened in Yorkshire in 1858. What’s interesting about the reference is Harry’s careful avoidance of the sweet, which may imply they were a magical take on a classic sweet, or just something to be avoided in general. Parents hear … Young urchins started dropping like flies, with 21 humbug-related deaths being recorded in the aftermath. Humbug Billy – William Hardaker (1805-66) The events that occurred when William Hardaker known locally as Humbug Billy sold his arsenic loaded peppermint lozenges at the Green Market (in the area where Rawson Market now Stands) on 30 October 1858 will go down in history as the worst case of accidental poisoning in Victorian history. After only one day of sweet sales, over 200 people became rat-poisoned, including Humbug Billy, who always got a sugar high off his own supply. 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