FRUITCAKE AND ARSENIC by Josephine Hemphill


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A combination of Sherlock Holmes melodrama and F.B.I. tactics, the story of the Federal Food and Drug Administration from its inception in 1906 to its present role in protecting public health is filled with absorbing anecdote. Not a dry rendering of the facts of law, this recounts how Dr. Wiley pressured for and then enforced a law prohibiting the sale of adulterated foods, how the Poison Squad tracked down several dozen Christmas fruitcakes baked in arsenic flour, how food, drug and cosmetic labels came to indicate exact contents. It also tells the story of attempts made to circumvent the law, by unscrupulous dealers throughout the years. Rejects in the cooking oil, dairy and seafood industries were turned into million dollar profits but resulted in the death of several individuals. In addition to screening products, the F.D.A. copes with countless emergencies in which food is contaminated. Their training and equipment, their victories and future plans create a lively cloak and dagger tale founded in fact.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1962
Publisher: Little, Brown