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Location DB > United States > California > San Francisco > Washington Packing Co.
Washington Packing Co.
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 Database Info
created by tunnelbug on 9/30/2006 6:54 AM
last modified by tunnelbug on 6/3/2010 1:34 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.

 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: - select -
 Physical Information

San Francisco, California
United States
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • air quality
  •  Interesting Features

     Security Measures
  • fences
  • razor wire
  • part-time guard
  • welded doors
  • wooden boarding
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 1963
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • rope
  • gloves
  • long pants / sleeves
  • towelettes
  •  Recommended Equipment

    From Time Magazine, April 26, 1963:

    The nation's grocery shelves were carefully searched last week for cans imprinted with the telltale code WY2 and WY3-They contained tuna fish packed by San Francisco's Washington Packing Corp.—and they were the worst news the $277 million tuna industry has ever had. When two Detroit women died from food poisoning after eating a bad can of A. & P. tuna packed by Washington, health authorities across the U.S. began searching out other cans of Washington tuna marketed under various brand names. New York officials discovered bad tuna sold under a Dagim Tahorim kosher label, sent inspectors to hundreds of groceries to search for the suspect cans. WY2 and WY3 cans also turned up in Cleveland, and inspectors searched out Washington Packing shipments to stores in Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Augusta, Ga.

    All the publicity seems to have made many Americans temporarily lose their taste for tuna. A careful shopper could check the lid for the telltale number in a grocery, but it seemed chancier to trust a restaurant or a drugstore counter with a tuna fish sandwich or salad. Food Fair's Howard Miller, the chief grocery buyer for the chain's New Jersey, New York and Connecticut stores, estimated that tuna sales were down 30%. Tuna sales fell in Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco. Van Camp Vice President F. E. Hagelberg saw "no question" but that the scare would eventually "have an adverse effect on sales," and an executive for Chicken of the Sea moaned, "I think it's costing the industry millions of dollars in sales."

    The A. & P., whose tuna started the scare, removed all of its Washington-packed tuna fish from the shelves, offered to return the purchase price not only of its own brand tuna but of any brand a customer wished to redeem. Tiny Washington Packing, which cans tuna for a variety of labels (Tastewell, Ocean Beauty, Drake's Bay, Tuna-4-Cats) and has never had trouble before, closed down its plant as cases of tuna began to return to the company. No one accused the firm of any violations of health regulations that would account for the presence of the deadly spores in the cans, and no one knew exactly how many bad cans were still on shelves. Hoping that the public reaction would not match 1959's cranberry scare, the tuna industry was clearly apprehensive, pointed out that in the 45 years of its existence it had canned 12 billion cans of tuna without a fatality.

    FOLLOWUP from the From the Nov. 29, 1963 issue of TIME magazine

    The report from Detroit went almost unnoticed last week, but it marked the end of a painful episode for a $277 million U.S. industry. In an out-of-court settlement, the A. & P. and the Washington Packing Corp., a small San Francisco cannery, agreed to pay $226,500 to the families of two Detroit women who died from botulism in March after eating a bad can of A. & P. tuna packed by Washington. After months of watching its sales dive because of the botulism scare, the tuna industry is now convinced that it has reinstated tuna as the housewives' steady standby.

    Because of the botulism deaths—the first in 45 years of tuna packing—tuna sales fell 35%, the industry laid off workers, and some plants had to shut down. Instead of panicking, tunamen formed a "Tuna Emergency Committee," launched a $10 million advertising campaign designed to restore public confidence, and cut wholesale prices to encourage merchants to push tuna in special sales. Related food industries—in celery, mayonnaise, mushroom soup—came to the rescue by featuring tuna prominently in their own ads. The U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments had their agents appear on TV and radio to plug tuna, played up tuna in food bulletins, and even sent "tuna telegrams" to wholesalers and retailers.

    Thanks to these efforts—and the taste loyalties of U.S. consumers—tuna sales are now running at the same pace as last year, though it has taken so long to recover from the scare that 1963 sales will be less than 1962's prebotulism record of 17 million cases. No one has ever revealed where Washington Packing's processing went wrong. But the plant remains shut, and though only a few cans were ever infected with botulism, all of Washington Packing's stock was confiscated by the Government and summarily buried—in a well-publicized move—beneath ten tons of garbage in a dump next to San Francisco's Candlestick Park.

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    tunnelbug's day visit
    Sat, Sep 30th, 2006
    posted by tunnelbug
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    daytime visit
    Sun, Mar 18th, 2007
    posted by Hoverfly
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    Last Days
    Tue, Dec 8th, 2009
    posted by Everfalling
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    2nd floor
    Sun, Mar 18th, 2007
    posted by Hoverfly
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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 6/3/2010 2:10 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jun 3 10 at 2:10, Steed validated this location
  • on Jun 3 10 at 1:33, tunnelbug made this location public
  • on Dec 9 09 at 0:55, Steed validated this location
  • on Dec 8 09 at 14:21, Everfalling updated gallery Last Days
  • on Dec 8 09 at 14:19, Everfalling added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Dec 8 09 at 14:11, Everfalling added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Dec 8 09 at 13:50, Everfalling updated gallery Last Days
  • on Dec 8 09 at 13:49, Everfalling created a new gallery
  • on Dec 1 09 at 0:21, Steed validated this location
  • on Nov 30 09 at 10:57, Everfalling changed the following: Status, Accessibility
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