The 1858 Bradford sweets poisoning was the arsenic poisoning of more than 200 people in Bradford, England, when sweets accidentally made with arsenic were sold from a market stall. Twenty-one victims died as a result.
Goddard asked Hodgson where the daff was, and was told that it was in a cask in a corner of the attic. However, rather than daff, Goddard sold Archer 12 pounds (5.4 kg) of arsenic trioxide.The mistake remained undetected even during manufacture of the sweets by James Appleton, an experienced sweetmaker employed by Neal, though Appleton did observe that the finished product looked different from the usual humbugs.
Appleton was suffering symptoms of illness during the sweet-making process and was ill for several days afterwards with vomiting and pain in his hands and arms, but did not realise it was caused by poison. 40 pounds (18 kg) of lozenges were sold to Hardaker who also noticed the sweets looked unusual and used this to obtain a discount from Neal. Like Appleton, Hardaker, as one of the first to taste the sweets, also promptly became ill. Regardless, Hardaker sold 5 pounds (2.
3 kg) of the sweets from his market stall that night – reportedly at a price of 1½d for 2 ounces (57 g). Of those who purchased and ate the sweets, 21 people died with a further 200 or so becoming severely ill with arsenic poisoning within a day or so.
45 kg)) and so Neal would substitute powdered gypsum (½d per 1 pound (0.45 kg)) — known as daff — for some of the required sugar. The adulteration of foodstuffs with cheaper substances was common at the time and the adulterators used obscure nicknames (daff, multum, flash, stuff) to hide the practice.
5 grains (290 milligrams) being a lethal dose. As such, each lozenge would have contained enough arsenic to kill two people, and enough distributed by Hardaker in total to kill 2,000. The prosecution against Goddard and Neal was later withdrawn and Hodgson was acquitted when the case was considered at York Assizes on 21 December 1858. The tragedy and resulting public outcry was a major contributing factor to The Pharmacy Act 1868 which recognized the chemist and druggist as the custodian and seller of named poisons (as medicine was then formally known).
The requirement for record keeping and the requirement to obtain the signature of the purchaser is currently upheld under the Poisons Act 1972 for non-medicinal poisons. W. E. Gladstone's ministry of 1868–1874 also brought in legislation regulating the adulteration of foodstuffs as a result of the events.