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The Poison Squad: Pioneering Food Safety and Health Standards for Consumer Products

Preservatives, additives, and other chemical enhancements in food processing is something a lot of us would steer clear of nowadays because we are more informed about them and there are strict regulations concerning the manufacturing of consumer products we use daily.

But back in the 19th century, there were no such laws or standard practices that protect consumers from harm to their health and safety. Thus a government chemist embarks on a sort of crusade to change all that.

Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist became fascinated with the story behind how all of this came to be and wrote a book about the man who took the first step.

The lack of regulation meant that companies could pretty much put whatever they wanted into food with no fear of being held accountable. "[Food] wasn't safety tested, because there were no rules requiring that," says Blum. "It wasn't labeled because there were no rules requiring that anyone tell you what was in your food. And it wasn't illegal even if you killed someone."

Read more about it on Ars Technica.

(Image credit: FDA)


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