History of Pablum

Publication language
Date published
22 Mar 2012
Canadiana Connection
Food and nutrition

Goo goo ga ga … whoops, sorry, we were just talking baby talk. Actually, that’s not so far off the subject of this article! Though acquired by H. J. Heinz Company in 2005, from the time of its invention to that point, Pablum was largely an all-Canadian venture. The only exception to the list of prominent Canadians that co-developed the formula was Mr. Harry H. Engel, of Mead Johnson & Company. Mr. Engel held one of three patents for the Pablum formula.

In 1930, a group of three Canadian pediatricians — Dr. Frederick Tisdall, Dr. Theodore Drake, and Dr. Alan Brown — in concert with Ruth Herbert, a nutrition laboratory technician, and the aforementioned Harry Engel, co-developed Pablum. Everyone except for Mr. Engel was then working for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The name for the formula, taken from the Latin “pabulum”, basically means “foodstuff”. Well, this particular foodstuff was a major breakthrough in nutritional science. By ensuring children would have enough vitamin D in their diets, Pablum helped prevent rickets, a terrible childhood disease.