itpdx's Reviews > Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat

Poisoned by Jeff Benedict
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction

This book started by making me cry. Benedict poignantly describes a couple holding their daughter as she dies, every parent's worst nightmare. Their child went from healthy to dying of a fast moving, virulent and mysterious illness in little more than a week. It turns out that she got it from eating a contaminated and undercooked hamburger at Jack in the Box.

Benedict takes us from the outbreak to the first arbitrated settlement of the E. coli illnesses and deaths on the west coast from Jack in the Box in the early 90's. He tells us the story through some of the people involved, mainly the plaintiffs' attorney, Bill Marley and the CEO of Jack in the Box, Bob Nugent. He includes parents, doctors, researchers, public health officials, industry consultants and attorneys.

Even though I knew the outcome, I found Benedict's story compelling. I spent a number of years in the government regulation of food processors (in the FDA). It was interesting to see how this tragic episode started changing the way food was processed and regulated--evidently not enough as we have suffered additional deaths and illnesses from E. coli.

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