'During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people believed that eating fresh fruit caused serious illness, even death. During the cholera epidemic of 1848, the Chicago Daily Journal spread a fear of orchard-grown produce. Still another report claimed that a man who simply passed a fruit stand filled with spoiled peaches suffered a severe attack of the "gripes." Panic ensued, and people refused to eat fruit even after it was proven that the link between peaches and cholera wasn't the fruit itself, but the fruit-sellers' habit of washing their produce in polluted streams. This fear of fruit continued for many years.'
Whelan, E.M. & Stare, F.J. (1992) Panic in the Pantry. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY.
[with thanks to Stephen Barrett, MD.]