In contrast, the Pure Foods Movement that WASP ladies (many of whom were also in the temperance struggle) started after the Civil War sought to find remedies for their more open and mobile culture. One was federal regulation: The coalition finally succeeded in passing the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 after the publication of Upton Sinclair’s muckraking The Jungle.
Another tactic was favoring lighter-colored and lighter-flavored foodstuffs that were harder to pollute.
And it worked. A scientist wrote in 1926 of trends in bread, “To all appearances…the general public is continuing in its belief (justified both by the bacteriological count and the microscopic examination) that whiteness or creamy whiteness is a sign of cleanness.” (…)
(Similarly, Asians have been demanding to have much of the nutrients polished off their rice for centuries, in part because it’s harder to hide contaminants in white rice.)
RELATED: Just a reminder that The Jungle was a load of crap.