Food in many factories were disgraceful in quality and insufficient in quantity when the hours the workers worked is taken into account. The workers also had to eat whilst standing up and working, even though their legs ached from having to stand up for the rest of the day. The dust from the machines settled on the food and made it taste disgusting unless it was all picked off first, which took ages. If anyone dropped any food, they would be punished, by a thorough beating.
Taken from "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe", by John Brown
"At a signal given, the apprentices rushed to this door, and each, as he made way, received his portion, and withdrew to his place at the table. Blincoe was startled, seeing the boys pull out the fore-part of their shirts, and holding it up with both hands, received the hot boiled potatoes allotted for their supper. The girls, less indecently, held up their dirty, greasy aprons, that were saturated with grease and dirt, and having received their allowance, scampered off as hard as they could, to their respective places, where, with a keen appetite, each apprentice devoured her allowance, and seemed anxiously to look about for more."