Poisoned book Jeff Benedict.pngMichele Simon, a public health lawyer who maintaines the website, Appetite for Profit, has just published her review of Jeff Benedict’s latest book, Poisoned, which details the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak and its aftermath.

From Michele’s review:

For most of us working in food policy, it’s hard to remember a time when food outbreaks of bugs like E. coli didn’t happen pretty much weekly. But reading the new book Poisoned by Jeff Benedict made me realize that bacteria-contaminated hamburgers are a relatively recent phenomenon; a striking reminder of how our food system has gone very, very wrong.

Given that the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak happened back in 1993, it seems odd that no one has written a book about it before. But it’s just as well, because Benedict’s style is tailor made to the task. His detailed and heart-wrenching story-telling makes the 18-year wait well worthwhile.


The author keeps coming back to one key player’s story: personal injury attorney Bill Marler, a name familiar to anyone who keeps up on food safety. But in 1993, Marler, like most other Americans, never even heard of E. coli. When the news hit that contaminated fast food burgers were causing scores of admissions to Seattle hospitals, Marler’s career path was set into motion.

 Since then, Marler Clark (“The Food Safety Law Firm”) has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks. But far more than a plaintiff’s firm, Marler and his colleagues also advocate for better food safety laws. (For example, last year Marler begged Congress to “Put a trial lawyer out of business” by increasing FDA’s authority and scope, was finally did happen.)

Read the full review HERE.