by Deborah Blum

The inspiration for PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film The Poison Squad.

From Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blum, the dramatic true story of how food was made safe in the United States and the heroes, led by the inimitable Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who fought for change

By the end of nineteenth century, food was dangerous. Lethal, even. “Milk” might contain formaldehyde, most often used to embalm corpses. Decaying meat was preserved with both salicylic acid, a pharmaceutical chemical, and borax, a compound first identified as a cleaning product. This was not by accident; food manufacturers had rushed to embrace the rise of industrial chemistry, and were knowingly selling harmful products. Unchecked by government regulation, basic safety, or even labelling requirements, they put profit before the health of their customers.

Interview with the Author

Science for the People
#498 The Poison Squad
11/1/18       60 min

Inquiring Minds
The Poison Squad
2/3/20       41 min

A Taste of the Past
Poison Squad: Founding of the FDA
1/30/20        52 min

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