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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Renee

Quaker Oats | Funded the Poisoning of Children

A group of former students was awarded $1.85 million in 1998 because they were unwittingly experimented on and fed radioactive Quaker Oats oatmeal.

Here’s what happened.

The boys, many of whom had been abandoned by their parents and inaccurately classified as having developmental disabilities, were students at Fernald State School—an institution for the “feeble-minded.”

They were coaxed into joining, with parental permission where available, what they thought would be a fun science club in exchange for special privileges, such as free meals, trips off the school grounds, gifts like Mickey Mouse watches, and Boston Red Sox tickets.

And these perks were coveted.

One former student, Fred Boyce, reports that the conditions at the school were often brutal.

The staff deprived boys of meals, forced them to do manual labor, and abused them.

So like other boys, Boyce was eager to join the Science Club as an escape, hoping the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) scientists might see the mistreatment and put an end to it.

But they didn’t.

Instead, some 74 boys were exploited further becoming guinea pigs for various radiation-laden nutrition studies funded by Quaker Oats in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Their “Breakfast of Champions” included radioactive iron and calcium.


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