Record Display for the EPA National Library Catalog


Main Title The poison squad : one chemist's single-minded crusade for food safety at the turn of the twentieth century /
Author Blum, Deborah,
Publisher Penguin Press,
Year Published 2018
OCLC Number 1024107182
ISBN 9781594205149; 1594205140; 9780593091890; 0593091892; 9780143111122; 0525560289; 9780525560289; 0143111124
Subjects Food inspectors--United States--Biography ; Chemists--United States--Biography ; Food additives--Safety regulations--United States--History ; Food--Safety measures--Government policy--United States ; Food--Safety regulations--United States ; Food law and legislation--United States--History ; Food adulteration and inspection--United States--History ; Consumer protection--United States--History ; United States--Politics and government--1901-1909 ; Food--United States--Safety measures--Government policy ; Legislation, Food ; Food Contamination ; POLITICAL SCIENCE--Public Affairs & Administration ; POLITICAL SCIENCE--Public Policy--Agriculture & Food Policy ; SOCIAL SCIENCE--Agriculture & Food ; BUSINESS & ECONOMICS--Industries--Food Industry ; Employees ; Additifs alimentaires--histoire ; Approvisionnement en nourriture--histoire ; Contrãole des aliments--histoire ; Department of Agriculture (USA)--histoire ; Lebensmittelèuberwachung
Additional Subjects Wiley, Harvey Washington,--1844-1930 ; Sinclair, Upton,--1878-1968 ; Farmer, Fannie Merritt,--1857-1915 ; Heinz, H J--(Henry John),--1844-1919 ; United States--Bureau of Chemistry--Officials and employees--Biography ; Universidad Sergio Arboleda
Library Call Number Additional Info Location Last
ELBD  TX518.W5B58 2018 AWBERC Library/Cincinnati,OH 10/14/2022
Collation xix, 330 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
"Go Big Read 2019-2020. UW-Madison Common Reading Program"--Page 1 of cover. Includes bibliographical references (pages 295-319) and index.
Contents Notes
Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley set out to ensure food safety. He selected food tasters to test various food additives and preservatives, letting them know that the substances could be harmful or deadly. The tasters were recognized for their courage, and became known as the poison squad. "By the end of the nineteenth century, food in America was increasingly dangerous--lethal, even. Milk and meat were routinely preserved with formaldehyde, a practice based on the embalming of corpses. Beer and wine were preserved with salicylic acid, a pharmaceutical chemical; canned vegetables were greened-up by copper sulphate, a toxic metallic salt; rancid butter was made edible with borax, best known 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. By some estimates, in New York City alone, thousands of children were killed by adulterated and chemically 'improved' milk. Citizens--activists, journalists, scientists, and women's groups--began agitating for change. But although protective measures were enacted in Europe, American corporations blocked even modest regulations. Then in 1883, Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, a chemistry professor from Purdue University, was named chief chemist of the United States Department of Agriculture, and the agency began methodically investigating food and drink fraud, even conducting shocking human tests on groups of young men who came to be known as the Poison Squad. Over the next thirty years, a titanic struggle took place, with the courageous and inimitable Dr. Wiley campaigning tirelessly for food safety and consumer protection. Together with a gallant cast, including the muckraking author Upton Sinclair, who fought to reveal the horrific truth about the Chicago stockyards; Fannie Farmer, then the most famous cookbook author in the country; and Henry Heinz, one of the few food producers who actively advocated for pure food, Dr. Wiley changed history. When the landmark 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act was finally passed, it was known across the land as 'Dr. Wiley's Law.' Deborah Blum brings to life this timeless and hugely satisfying David and Goliath tale with righteous verve and style, driving home the moral imperative of confronting corporate greed and government corruption with a bracing clarity, which speaks resoundingly to the enormous social and political challenges we face today."--Jacket