Today, food packages and drink cans or bottles must state their contents by law, but until 1875 there were few effective controls on the contents or quality of food and drink on sale to the public.
Some of the commonly used additives in the 19th century were poisonous, e.g. alum and chalk were added to flour to make bread whiter. Bakers often added plaster, pipe clay, and even sawdust to increase the weight of the loaf of bread.
In the making of beer, brewers sometimes added poisons like strychnine that helped improve the taste and cut costs of hops.
Although these practices have been long gone (hopefully), too bad we still have to deal with other troublesome aspects of the food supply. You won’t see any of these “ingredients” on the label as well as those GM ingredients from soy and corn. Be aware and informed and demand these practices be discontinued to get us past the 19th century.