In 1906, Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle, about conditions in industrial meat packing plants, was published. It was a fictionalized account of what it was like in the meat packing industry, and how horrible working conditions were in meat packing plants. Sadly enough, much of what happened in this novel was absolutely true, and was taken from real experiences. This novel served as a wake up call that led to a series of improvements in the industry to make our food safer and to provide better conditions for factory workers.
In general, conditions in Industrial Revolution-era factories were unsafe, unhygienic, and meant workers died without anyone really caring. No one knew about how bad it was, and no one really wanted to know. After all, you don't ask what's in the sausage, right?
Although much of this has changed today, it's still worth acknowledging that this stuff happened only a little over a century ago. Please be warned, some of the accounts and descriptions here are chillingly graphic. You may never see meat the same way again.
The Machines Were Deadly
Workers' Body Parts Sometimes Made It Into The Cans Of Meat
The Floor Was Usually Caked In Blood, Bile, And Filth
Plants Regularly Employed Children
Workers Were Constantly Exposed To Toxic Chemicals
There Was Zero Ventilation Or Temperature Control