Canadian stamp Pablum

Date of issue: March 17, 2000
Printer: Ashton-Potter Canada
Series: The Millennium Collection, Food, Glorious Food!
Design: Mark Koudis; based on a photograph by Ron Baxter Smith


Inadequate nutrition is an important factor in the acquisition of disease and in its progress once established. This is particularly true in infants and young children. In the late 1920s, an effort to improve nutrition in such individuals was initiated by three Canadian pediatricians working at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto – Frederick Tisdall, Theodore Drake, and Alan Brown – along with Ruth Herbert, a nutrition laboratory technician, and Harry Engel of Mead Johnson and Company.

After working on several recipes and making adaptations to reduce side effects, a formula was developed that included precooked wheat, oatmeal, cornmeal, bone meal, dried brewer's yeast, powdered alfalfa leaf, and a variety of minerals and vitamins. The final product – given the name Pablum after pabulum, the Latin word for food – was released in 1930. For a period of 25 years, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto Pediatric Foundation received a royalty on every package of Pablum sold, the money being used for research into childhood disease.

The Stamp

The stamp shows a healthy-looking baby clearly in the process of eating and seemingly enjoying Pablum.

Back to top