Did You Know that Milk Expiration Dates are Because of Al Capone?

You don’t normally hear a lot of good things about people like Al Capone, who was routinely reported to be a gangster, a thug, and someone that would likely kill you for the smallest slight. However it seems like he was responsible for the expiration dates being put on milk bottles from the start. Believe me I’m just as surprised as you might be at this moment since for all intents and purposes Capone was considered to be a murdering crime boss that was finally sent to Alcatraz for tax evasion. Funny how that works isn’t it? A guy that was suspected of the Saint Valentine’s Day Murders was nailed for something as innocuous as tax evasion. The world is a funny place.

Building on that thought, Capone apparently owned one of the first soup kitchens in Chicago during the Great Depression. His kitchens made sure that those who had lost their jobs were given three meal a day so they wouldn’t starve. He opened them and even worked in them on occasion to insure that things were being run the way they should, looking out for the common man in an attempt to do right by the downtrodden. It’s not the image of Capone you normally get from the history books, but even the bad guys can do good things sometimes it would seem.

Anyway, when one of his family members in Chicago fell ill after drinking expired milk Capone turned his interest to the dairy business. The regulations on milk in that era were nonexistent in regards to the system we have now. Capone was drawn to this business since he didn’t like seeing people, kids especially, being poisoned by sour milk, and he saw a chance for a big profit. This endeavor was something that he could slip into with ease since he had the trucks to transport the goods and he had the business acumen to make it work. At that point he only needed two more things to get his business going.

The first was to purchase Meadowmoor Dairies, while the second was to convince the Chicago City Council to pass a law requiring milk to be stamped with an expiration date so as to inform people of when it would possibly expire and be no good for consumption. The only impediment was the purchase of the Dairy, since the milk business was union run and would only deliver local product. Capone wanted to import milk from Wisconsin and was being actively blocked from doing so by the union president. You can kind of guess where this is going right?

Capone had the union president kidnapped and ransomed for $50,000, which he then used to purchase the Dairy. Meadowmoor opened up about three months before Capone was sent to Alcatraz. So if you ever look at the stamp on the milk you’re buying just be aware that it’s there because a notorious gangster and supposed “Robin Hood” of the streets lobbied to get it there for the public.


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