The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959 : Planet Money Sixty years ago, a food scare nearly crushed the cranberry business. Cranberries have bounced back since then, but the industry is facing new threats.
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The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959

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The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959

The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959

The Great Cranberry Scare Of 1959

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/778606901/778617110" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Philip Cardamone /Getty Images/EyeEm
Person holding cranberries
Philip Cardamone /Getty Images/EyeEm

When scientists found traces of a carcinogen in a batch of cranberries just ahead of Thanksgiving in 1959, the government issued a food warning. Across the nation, people panicked, and even though the contamination was limited, the cranberry industry ground to a halt. It didn't help that the White House, for its Thanksgiving dinner that year, replaced cranberry sauce with applesauce.

But the cranberry business survived. In fact, it went on to thrive. Today on The Indicator, how a disaster transformed the humble cranberry and turned it into a global food. And why its commercial success is once again being threatened.

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