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The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

The Poison Squad:  One Chemist

by Deborah Blum,
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 25, 2018

Harvey Wiley is an unsung hero. Chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s chemistry bureau from 1883-1913, he was, in essence, the federal official most responsible for Americans’ food safety. Conscientious, courageous and combative, he recruited young government workers to participate in “hygienic table trials” of untested and potentially dangerous additives, adulterants and preservatives, and published the results. He lobbied for detailed labeling of food products. With good reason, many informed observers dubbed the landmark Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 “Dr. Wiley’s Law.”

 

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