Re: The Pig Pancreas Train

Douglas Harding

Bob, good question. Here’s the article


I can only speculate. The pancreases would have been collected at slaughter houses and labeled as a PHP (Packing House Product). Packing house owners knew there was money to be made with byproducts, so they were set up for retrieving all animal parts that had value. Indianapolis, home of Eli Lily, was a major slaughter town once known as Porkopolis for the number of hogs slaughtered there. It was also home of Kingan Meats.


I will go out on a limb and suggest the pancreases were shipped in reefers, to keep them “fresh”. Insulin must be refrigerated, why not the source? While most “gut” byproducts were shipped in open gons, the contents in the gons were intended for fertilizer not human consumables. Other byproducts, especially those for human consumption, were shipped in the controlled environment of reefers, boxcars or tank cars.


It is very possible that National Provisioner magazine had an article discussing this very subject. They published a number of articles related to byproducts and making money from animal byproducts.


According to it was in 1921 the first insulin was produced. In 1936 an improvement required a fish byproduct.


Doug Harding


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