What We Are Reading Today: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

What We Are Reading Today: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum
Updated 27 October 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

What We Are Reading Today: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum
  • Blum’s book, The Poison Squad, is an intense historical narrative about the fight to regulate food in the US
  • The book is packed with political scandals and stories about awful historical practices

Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author.

Blum’s book, The Poison Squad, is an intense historical narrative about the fight to regulate food in the US. 

The book follows the career of Dr. Harvey Wiley, a tireless proponent of legislation to keep food safe for consumers. 

His chemical work and political advocacy helped bring about the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and government regulation that helps keep Americans safe and healthy to this day. 

The Poison Squad chronicles years of bureaucratic battles, the cowardice of elected officials, the triumph of food safety bills and the legislative compromises that greatly disappointed Wiley.

Without Wiley’s work, unscrupulous food, drink, and drug manufacturers would have continued to adulterate these products with poison and sold garbage under false labels.

For 29 years, Wiley was the bane of companies that peddled adulterated food. He objected to their practices publicly, and he had the science to back up his opinions.

The book is packed with political scandals and stories about awful historical practices.