Gail Jarrow strikes again with another inventive non-fiction book. In The Poison Eaters you will be transported to the late 1800s where more people are moving from farms, where they grew their own food, to cities, where they must trust an unregulated food supply of canned and processed goods.
Enter Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, and his tireless 30 years crusade to bring about change and protect consumers from harmful food and drugs. This book follows Wiley’s 30 year campaign that brought about the beginning of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that we know of today—following the history of the FDA from conception to the present day.
I discovered this book by watching an episode of “The Poison Squad” on PBS, and wanted to learn more about these 12 men that volunteered to eat foods with additives in them. It was a quick and enjoyable read and gave me more insight into the beginning of regulations to the food and drug industries that make both safer for us today.
I highly recommend this book and it is a great read for fans of Erik Larson. I loved that this was a YA book, making it a great read for middle schoolers and above. It also leaves you wanting to learn more about this fascinating subject.
If, like me, you want to learn even more about the poison eaters, you should also try out:
- The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum
- The Poison Squad: American Experience on PBS
- And I also recommend “sampling” one of Gail Jarrow’s other books.