British food is experiencing a flowering renaissance, hailed worldwide for its quality, freshness, and cutting-edge creativity. That said, a bit of the old British “deadly food” stereotype echoes within a BBC story about a spillage at a jam factory.

You might wonder: What could go wrong at a jam factory? It’s fruit! Pectin! Sugar! Did a bunch of frozen strawberries accidentally fall into the blueberry vat? Did a factory tech package the cardamom-plum jam in the peach-orange marmalade jars?

Not quite:

Fifty one people needed treatment after breathing in toxic gas from a chemical spillage at a jam factory in Essex. … [According to a fire service spokesman:] ‘Sodium hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid mixed together and that created chlorine gas.’

No word on the fate of the jam.

See more articles