Just in time for BBQ season, an investigative journalist traces the path of a devastating outbreak of food-borne illness linked to hamburger meat.
In 1993, nobody, save for a lab technician or two, knew anything about a dangerous strain of bacteria called E. Coli, which has the potential to cause illness and death. With careful attention to detail, Benedict (Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, 2009, etc.), illustrates the danger in this thorough exploration of the Jack in the Box E. Coli outbreak that killed four children and sickened 700 more in several states. The author, who holds a law degree, fashions the book like a police procedural, keeping the beat with quick cuts to the major players—parents waiting by their dying children's bedsides, lawyers and corporate executives. With accounts of his firsthand interviews and observation, Benedict provides a powerful reminder that food safety is a matter of life and death, as in the case of Suzanne Kiner and her daughter Brianne: “Desperate, she turned to a few vials of holy water that had been given to her by women of faith-complete strangers. Suzanne often wondered whether the stuff had any real power...Looking around and seeing no nurses in sight, Suzanne removed the tops of the vials and poured the contents all over Brianne's head. She even put a few drops in Brianne's IV. This is it, she thought. I can't beg any more time for her.”
Spartan prose delivers a chilling, page-turning lesson in food safety.