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Today in Food History, Timeline & Food Holidays: National Food Days, Weeks & Months

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Today in Food HistoryFOOD TIMELINE: >  1996 to 2000




50,000 BC to 1 BC
1 AD to 1199   ·   1200 to 1399
1400 to 1499   ·   1500 to 1550
1551 to 1599   ·   1600 to 1625
1626 to 1650   ·   1651 to 1675
1676 to 1699   ·   1700 to 1719
1720 to 1739   ·   1740 to 1749
1750 to 1759   ·   1760 to 1769
1770 to 1779   ·   1780 to 1784
1785 to 1789   ·   1790 to 1794
1795 to 1799   ·   1800 to 1805
1806 to 1810   ·   1811 to 1819
1820 to 1824   ·   1825 to 1830
1831 to 1835   ·   1836 to 1840
1841 to 1845   ·   1846 to 1849
1850 to 1854   ·   1855 to 1859
1860 to 1864   ·   1865 to 1869
1870 to 1874   ·   1875 to 1879
1880 to 1884   ·   1885 to 1889
1890 to 1894   ·   1895 to 1899
1900 to 1905   ·   1906 to 1910
1911 to 1915   ·   1916 to 1920
1921 to 1925   ·   1926 to 1930
1931 to 1935   ·   1936 to 1940
1941 to 1945   ·   1946 to 1950
1951 to 1955   ·   1956 to 1960
1961 to 1965   ·   1966 to 1970
1971 to 1975   ·   1976 to 1980
1981 to 1985   ·   1986 to 1990
1991 to 1995   ·   1996 to 2000
2001 to 2005   ·   2006   ·   2007
2008   ·   2009   ·   2010
2011 to 2012   ·   2013 to 2014
2015 to 2019   ·   2020 to 2021
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

See Also: Today in Food History
JAN   |   FEB   |   MAR   |   APRIL
MAY   |   JUNE   |   JULY   |   AUG
SEPT   |   OCT   |   NOV   |   DEC



1996 to 2000

1996 The U.S. FDA approved the fat substitute Olestra (brand name 'Olean').  Olestra is unapproved for sale in many countries, including the European Union and Canada.  Side effects include abdominal cramps, and inhibition of vitamin absorption.

1996 Douglas Chapman died (born March 20, 1920).  Expert on marine mammal populations and population dynamics. In the 1960s he warned that the number of whales being taken by the whaling industry was far in excess of what the population could stand.

1996 Roger Tory Peterson died (born August 28, 1908). American ornithologist and environmentalist; he wrote & illustrated 'A Field Guide to Birds' (1934) which increased public interest in the study of birds.

1996 The U.S. minimum wage is raised by 90 cents to $5.15 an hour.

1996 The Smashing Pumpkins won seven MTV Video Music Awards.

1996 President Clinton signed Economic Espionage Act of 1996 into law which criminalized misappropriation of trade secrets.

1996 A supertanker, the Sea Empress, runs aground near Wales, spilling 70,000 tons of crude oil. The oil spill severely damaged several bird sanctuaries.

1996 'James and the Giant Peach' opened in U.S. theatres.

1996 A segment about mad cow disease was aired on the Oprah Winfrey show. Later, a group of Texas cattle ranchers sued Winfrey for her comments. (The cattle ranchers lost the suit).

1996 Albert R. Broccoli died (born April 5, 1909).  Producer of the James Bond movie series.

1996 Benjamin Eisenstadt died.  He invented the artificial sweetener, 'Sweet 'n Low (granulated saccharin and dextrose).

1996 James McLamore died. Co-founder, with David Edgerton, of Burger King.

1996 The Las Vegas Sands Hotel was 'imploded' to make way for the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

1996 Cleanup of a 1.8 million gallon oil spill began after a barge ran aground near Block Island National Wildlife Refuge on January 19, 1996.

1996 The last Polenesian tree snail Partula turgida, died at the London Zoo. They lived on the South Pacific island of Raiatea, where the residents imported predatory snails from Florida to eat a pest snail, originally imported from Africa. Instead they ate the native Tree Snail to extinction. We never seem to learn about the consequences of introducing non-native species.

1996 Ray McIntire died. A chemical engineer who worked for Dow Chemical Company, he invented Styrofoam.

1996 The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. voted to remove their voluntary ban of hard liquor ads on television and radio that had been in affect since 1936.

1996 David Packard died. Founder with William Hewlett of Hewlett Packard Company. Before they became famous for computers and printers etc., some of their early inventions were an automatic urinal flusher and a weight loss shock machine!

1996 John Leonard submitted an order form along with 'Pepsi Points' and a check for to Pepsi for a Harrier Jump Jet. The Harrier had been featured in a Pepsi commercial as one of the items that could be redeemed for 'points,' or a combination of cash and points.  (the Harrier was listed for 7 million points).  Pepsi subsequently refused to send Leonard the Harrier Jump Jet (actual cost: $23 million). Leonard then sued, and finally a judge ruled that the Harrier Jump Jet had obviously been mentioned in the promotion as a joke.

1996 The Taco Bell fast food chain played an April Food joke on the American public by claiming to have bought the Liberty Bell to help pay down the national debt.

1996 Arnold Neustadter died. Inventor of the Rolodex rotating card file.

1996 Erma Bombeck died. Writer, humorist, you will find some of her quotes about family and food on the

1996 Dr. Edward Anton Asselbergs died. In 1960 Dr. Asselbergs developed the process for making instant mashed potato flakes, the patent that is still used world-wide today.

1996 The record Pacific halibut weighed 459 pounds and was caught in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

1996 Dolly the sheep was born at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dolly was the first animal cloned from an adult animal.

1996 In Tennessee, a record catfish weighing 111 pounds was caught with rod and reel.

1996 Mervyn Hugh Cowie died. Cowie was a British wildlife conservationist, founder and director of Kenya's Royal National Parks.

1996 Miss Universe was told to lose 27 pounds or lose her crown.

1996 World's largest grilled cheese sandwich made, 3,000 pounds.

1996 Pierre Franey died. A French chef who became famous as the chef of 'Le Pavillon' restaurant in New York City from 1945 to 1960. He published several cookbooks and collaborated with Craig Claiborne on the New York Times food column, 'The 60 Minute Gourmet'.

1996 The World Food Summit concluded. Delegates promised full efforts to ease world hunger.

1996 In 1996, the worldwide cranberry harvest produced 40 cranberries for every person on the planet.

1996 'Wannabe,' the first #1 hit by the Spice Girls, was released.

1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act revised farm programs to increase reliance on market signals.

1997 The USDA announced it will ban manufacturers from using most slaughtered animal parts in feed for farm animals to protect the U.S. food supply from mad cow disease. The ban becomes effective in August.

1997 The U.S. minimum wage was raised to $5.15 per hour.

1997 Hooters Restaurants agreed to pay $3.8 million in damages to settle a class action lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices because they would not hire males to wait tables.

1997 The U.S. released a newly redesigned $50 bill.

1997 The Kyoto Protocol was adopted by more than 150 countries at the global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to take steps to control greenhouse gas emissions.

1997 'Titanic' opened in U.S. theatres. (Authentic Recipes served on the RMS Titanic in 1912).

1997 The British government announced an inquiry into the BSE "disaster" (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease) that devastated British farming.

1997 Melvin Ellis Calvin died (born April 8, 1911), An American biochemist he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for furthering our knowledge of the mechanism of photosynthesis in green plants.

1997 Jerome Namias died Feb 10 (born March 19, 1910).  An American meteorologist and first head of the Extended Forecast Division of the U.S. Weather Bureau. He pioneered 5 day, 30 day and 90 day extended forcasts and long range seasonal forecasts.

1997 Kingsley Davis died Feb 27 (born Aug 20, 1908). World renowned American sociologist and demographer. An expert on population trends, he coined the terms 'population explosion' and 'zero population growth.'

1997 Richard Berry, composer of 'Louie Louie' died on Jan 23(born April 11, 1935).

1997 Clyde W. Tombaugh died. An American astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930. Born on a farm near Streator, Illinois, he made his first telescope from old farm equipment parts.

1997 Lottie Williams, 48, of Tulas, Oklahoma became the only person known to have been hit by man made debris from space. She was struck on the shoulder while walking in the park, by a small piece of a used Delta II rocket that had been used to launch a military satellite in April, 1996.

1997 Scientists in Scotland announced the first successful cloning of a mammal. Dolly, a sheep was cloned from an udder cell of an adult sheep. (Dolly was actually born July 5, 1996 but only just announced).

1997 'Wannabe' by the Spice Girls hit #1 on the charts.

1997 Jacques-Yves Cousteau died. Ocean explorer, marine biologist. Co-inventor of the aqualung.

1997 QUICK SNACKS AT WORK: Boxer Mike Tyson bites a big chunk off Evander Holyfield's ear in the 3rd round of a boxing match. He was disqualified.

1997 'Say You'll Be There' by Spice Girls hit #1 on the charts

1997 The largest food recall in U.S. history. Hudson Foods close its Nebraska plant and recalled 25 million pounds of ground beef that were potentially contaminated with E. coli 01557:H7

1997 'Honey' by Mariah Carey hit #1 on the charts.

1997 Victor Mills died. He was a chemical engineer who worked for Proctor & Gamble. Among his many accomplishments, he  improved Duncan Hines cake mix, and Jif peanut butter, and invented Pampers disposable diapers.

1997 Plastic bags are a serious danger to marine mammals. A 65 foot, 70 ton finback whale died off the coast of Spain. Its digestive tract had been blocked by 30 plastic bags, and several hard plastic objects.

1997 Reports from Chile about giant rats, that had been feeding on the droppings of hormone fattened poultry, were attacking farm animals near Santiago.

1997 Karl August Folkers died. He was the first to isolate vitamin B12.

1997 “Dolly” cloned from an udder cell of an adult sheep.

1997 Fear of the 'bird flu' led Hong Kong to order its entire population of chickens, over 1 million birds, to be killed.

1998 Florida Governor Lawton Chiles died (born April 3, 1930). Chiles was also one of the original investors in the Red Lobster restaurant chain.

1998 The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that food stamps were issued to almost 26,000 dead people in the past 2 years. The study only covered 4 states, California, Florida, Texas and New York.

1998 Bejnamin Spock died (born May 2, 1903). American pediatrician and author of the best selling 'Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care' (1946).

1998 Edwin J. Showmaker died (born June 2, 1907). American engineer who invented the reclining chair and founded the La-Z-Boy furniture company.

1998 Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said his country, in cooperation with the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund, would set aside up to 62 million acres of threatened Amazon rain forest for conservation.

1998 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Ellis Island - historic gateway for millions of immigrants - is mainly in New Jersey, not New York.

1998 In the African country of Sudan more than a million people face starvation, prompting the United Nations to declare an official famine in the region.

1998 The 3,000 room Bellagio Hotel and Casino opened in Las Vegas, Nevada.

1998 HACCP is implemented to target and reduce the presence of pathogens in meat and poultry.

1998 Adelaide Hawley Cumming died. She was television's original Betty Crocker on the Betty Crocker Show premiering in 1949.

1998 In West Virginia if you run over a animal, you can legally take it home and cook it for dinner. A law passed in 1998 lets drivers keep their road kill, as long as they report it within 12 hours. According to supporters of the new law, the state will the save money that had been used to have Highway Division employees remove dead animals from the road.

1998 Smoking is banned in California restaurants and bars.

1998 Nicholas Kurti died.  Hungarian born British physicist whose hobby was cooking. He advocated applying scientific knowledge to the kitchen and coined the term 'molecular gastronomy'

1998 The movies 'Home Fries' and 'A Bug's LIfe' opened in the U.S.

1998 Walter E. Diemer died. While working for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, he experimented with recipes for chewing gum as a hobby. (He really liked his gum!). He invented bubble gum in 1928.

1998 American researchers announced they had cloned calves that could be used in the production of medicinal milk.

1998 Bill Gates was hit with a cream pie in Brussels.

1998 A locust plague in Ethiopia was reported that covered almost 4,000 acres.

1998 The Spice Girls first U.K. concert in Glasgow.

1998 Richard McDonald died. One of the brothers who founded McDonald's restaurant. He also designed the golden arches logo.

1998 Massena 'Andy' Gump died. Inventor and portable toilet king of Southern California.

1999 A truck carrying flour and margarine caught fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy, killing 39 people.

1999 U.S. first class postage rates are raised to 33 cents.

1999 Jay Arthur Pritzker died (born Aug 26, 1922).  Purchased the Hyatt House motel hotel near Los Angeles International Airport from Hyatt von Dehn in 1957.  This was the beginning of Hyatt Hotels luxury hotel corporation.

1999 Tahtsa Lake in British Columbia receives a Canadian record breaking snowfall of 57 inches in 24 hours.

1999 The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 10,000 for the first time, closing at 10,006.78.

1999 The film 'American Pie' opened in U.S. theatres.

1999 The movie 'Breakfast of Champions' opened in U.S. theatres.

1999 At least 40,000 demonstrators in Seattle, Washington forced the World Trade Organization to cancel the opening session of its 3-day 135-nation trade summit.

1999 The 'euro' was introduced as an accounting currency, the new monetary unit of the European Union.

1999 David Geske and Len C. Kretchman of Menusaver, Inc. were granted patent No. 6,004,596 for making a “Sealed Crustless Sandwich” of peanut butter and jelly.  Purchased by Smucker's, the patent was controversial from the start.  After several lawsuits, appeals, and reexaminations the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office issued a certificate canceling all claims on September 25, 2007,

1999 U.S. agricultural exports were about $48.2 billion a year during the 1990s (9.5% of total exports).

1999 This was declared 'The Year of the Restaurant' by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

1999 Drop in many commodities prices, combined with disastrous weather in many parts of the country, caused increased demand for USDA farm programs.

1999 The "Roadless Initiative" is implemented to preserve roadless tracts in National Forests, securing fish and wildlife habitat & protecting natural resources.

1999 Swiss Winegrower's Fete (Fête des Vignerons). Held periodically (about every 20 years or so) since 1797 in Vivey, Switzerland. The next festival will be in 2019.

1999 Eighty-three year old bee-keeper Virgil Foster died after being stung more than 50 times by Africanized 'killer bees' on August 31, 1999.  He was the first 'killer bee' fatality in California. The bees original source was Brazil, where African bees were imported for experimental cross breeding.

1999 'Have You Ever?' by Brandy hit #1 on the charts

1999 A record 6,000 pound strawberry shortcake was created in McCall Park, Plant City, Florida, the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.

1999 Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones landed in the Egyptian desert, having completed the 1st 'Around the World' hot air balloon flight. According to the BBC, they carried fresh food, including bread, cheese and pre-cooked steaks to last for 6 or 7 days, after which they made due with dried foods such as cereals and powdered milk. The flight began in the Swiss Alps, took 19 days, 21 hours and 55 minutes, and covered 29,056 non-stop miles.

1999 In April 1999, Restaurant Nora in Washington DC became America's first certified organic restaurant. This means that 95% or more of everything that you eat at the restaurant has been produced by certified organic growers and farmers.

1999 The first minimum wage goes into effect in Britain, £3.60 an hour for adults and £3.00 an hour for those under 22 years old.

1999 The Disney film 'A Bug's Life' was released. It was the first 100% digital DVD. It was transferred directly form the digital source to DVD. (Bugs = bacteria = food spoilage)

1999 Waldo Lonsbury Semon died. Semon was an American Inventor who is credited with the invention of Vinyl. Vinyl is the 2nd most used plastic in the world.  Semon held over 100 patents.

1999 After 22 years of controversial restoration, Leonardo de Vinci's masterpiece 'The Last Supper' is returned to public display.

1999 Nicholas Vitalich is arrested for assaulting his girlfriend with a large tuna, outside a San Diego supermarket. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

1999 Forrest Edward Mars died. Son of Frank C. Mars, he helped him develop the Milky Way. He founded his own company in Europe and developed the Mars Bar, and also created M&Ms. He merged his company with his father's in 1964, creating the world's largest candy manufacturer.

1999 Aaron 'Bunny' Lapin died. Lapin was the inventor of whipped cream in an aerosol can (Reddi-Wip) in 1948

1999 'Weird Al' Yankovic recorded a song called 'Grapefruit Diet' on his album 'Running with Scissors'

1999 'Catfish' Hunter, baseball pitcher, died.

1999 The Russian Duma passed an animal rights bill that prohibits people from eating their pets.

2000 Ben & Jerry's Homemade ice cream is acquired by Unilever for $326 million.

2000 Legislation in San Francisco banning discrimination based on Height or Weight became effective.

2000 The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation banning discrimination based on Height or Weight. The ban became law on May 26 when then Mayor Willie Brown signed the legislation.

2000 The movie 'Coyote Ugly' opened in U.S. theatres.  About a young barmaid at the Coyote Ugly bar in New York.

2000 Foster's Brewing of Australia acquired Beringer Wine Estates of Napa, California for $1.5 billion.

2000 Further research leads to the removal of warning labels on products containing Saccharin, a non-nutritive sweetener.

2000 Retailer Montgomery Ward, pioneer of mail-order catalogs in 1872, announced it is shutting down after nearly 128 years in business.

2000 The population of the U.S. is now 281,421,906.

2000 Smucker's introduced Uncrustables, frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts already cut off.  (see also Dec 21, 1999).

2000 The world's first cloned pigs (5 of them) were born in Virginia. They were produced by a Virginia subsidiary of the same Scotland company, PPL Therapeutics, that cloned Dolly the sheep.

2000 A truck carrying evaporated milk is driven into the state capitol building in Sacramento, California, killing the driver.

2000 Craig Claiborne died.  Influential American food writer, cookbook author. Food editor and restaurant critic for the NY Times.

2000 'Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water' Limp Bizkit's 3rd studio album was released. and debuted at number 1 on the charts.

2000 Konrad (Emil) Bloch died.  Nobel prize winner for his work on cholesterol and fatty acids. He discovered that high levels of cholesterol may lead ultimately to increased risk of heart attacks.

2000 Charles M. Schulz died. American cartoonist, best known for the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

2000 The last original 'Peanuts' comic strip is published

2000 David Ross Brower died.  Brower was the founder of many environmental organizations including the Friends of the Earth and Earth Island Institute.

2000 The music group 'The Smashing Pumpkins' play their final concert in Chicago before breaking up.


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Today in Food HistoryFOOD TIMELINE: >  1996 to 2000


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