The Mayonnaise Scare of 1976

The afternoon sun was hot and the young man did not know what else he should be doing with the day. It seemed like there was more going on, but it always seemed that way in the summer time. All year long, all any kid could think about was the summertime, but when it was finally there, boredom strikes. It was because of a situation like this that the mayonnaise scare of 1976 happened.

Many People would like to believe that mayonnaise is a friendly commodity that makes for a complete pantry. It is used on just about every sandwich that people enjoy making at home. Most of the mixed salad sandwiches use mayonnaise as a base. The commodity is also used to create most of the salad dressings and dips that people enjoy. It is hard to imagine that something so common and loved could be so scary.

In 1976 mayonnaise was at it's peak of popularity and every grocer had to make sure to have it in stock if they wanted to stay in business. Mayonnaise flew off the shelf in record fashion and with the summer drawing near, there was even more demand for it. Those that had the means would stock up for the rest of the summer in order to be able to create all their favorite dishes without having to make several trips to the store.

These days, mayonnaise usually does not contain real eggs. The recipe has been altered because of what happened in 1976 except for a few hold outs in the market. These are the brands that are labeled REAL mayonnaise, or HEAVY mayonnaise. The producers of the product wanted to make sure that nothing like this ever happened again.

New York in 1976 was every bit the metropolitan area that it is today. There were all the highs and the lows including power outages. The worst of the power outages hit New York and caused there to be no power for one whole week. This being during the beginning of summer, it meant that a lot of people lost food that they had in the fridge.

At the time the thoughts on mayonnaise was that it did not need to be refrigerated even though everyone did. The fridge was still a pretty new commodity in 1976, so people did not think twice about still using the product to slather on sandwiches and make salads with. This was a huge problem because of the fact that there was real eggs in the mayonnaise.

All told, the mayonnaise scare of 1976 claimed the lives of 326 people and hospitalized another 2,328. The city reeled from nausea and diarrhea the likes of which have not been seen since. To this day, anytime you purchase a jar of mayonnaise you will notice that there is a gentle reminder to refrigerate after opening. This is here for your protection and you will do well to heed the warning.