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1 Hawthorne Environmental Studies- Food and Famine

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee

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Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee Cover

ISBN13: 9780691138206
ISBN10: 0691138206
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Through a fascinating mixture of cultural and scientific history, food politics, and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many ways swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and even poisoned our food throughout history. In the hands of people and corporations who have prized profits above the health of consumers, food and drink have been tampered with in often horrifying ways--padded, diluted, contaminated, substituted, mislabeled, misnamed, or otherwise faked. Swindled gives a panoramic view of this history, from the leaded wine of the ancient Romans to today's food frauds--such as fake organics and the scandal of Chinese babies being fed bogus milk powder.

Wilson pays special attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and England and their roles in developing both industrial-scale food adulteration and the scientific ability to combat it. As Swindled reveals, modern science has both helped and hindered food fraudsters--increasing the sophistication of scams but also the means to detect them. The big breakthrough came in Victorian England when a scientist first put food under the microscope and found that much of what was sold as "genuine coffee" was anything but--and that you couldn't buy pure mustard in all of London.

Arguing that industrialization, laissez-faire politics, and globalization have all hurt the quality of food, but also that food swindlers have always been helped by consumer ignorance, Swindled ultimately calls for both governments and individuals to be more vigilant. In fact, Wilson suggests, one of our best protections is simply to reeducate ourselves about the joys of food and cooking.

Review:

"Columnist and food writer Wilson takes readers to the beginning of the 19th century to document the history of food adulteration — at heart 'two very simple principles: poisoning and cheating.' Concentrating on Britain and the U.S. (other countries, especially France, navigated food supply industrialization with wiser government policy), Wilson finds the first food crusader in Frederick Accum, a German immigrant who used chemistry to expose the dishonesty of London food purveyors in his treatise on adulterations of food and culinary poisons; she finds the first ineffective government response in parliament's commitment to laissez faire economic policies over citizen safety. In the U.S., New York's 1850s 'swill milk' epidemic and Chicago's meat packing industry would eventually lead to the 1906 pure food and drug act — which probably wouldn't have passed without the popularity of Upton Sinclair's meat packing expose the jungle, and couldn't stop the most nefarious and prevalent of food frauds, the development of fake foods: margarine, baby formula and thousands more. Wilson follows the economic, cultural and political threads skillfully, reporting on developments as recent as the china baby formula scandal. Prescribing more awareness and regulation, Wilson contends that consumers and governments must recognize the continuous pressure on companies to make money by substituting nutritious, genuine ingredients with adulterants. Timely, witty and purposeful, this thorough history should open a lot of eyes, and close some mouths." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

"Bee Wilson is a terrific writer who tells great stories, and her book could not be more timely given what's going on in the Chinese food industry today."--Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and What to Eat

"No other book tells the history of food adulteration in this way. Swindled is ambitious in its coverage and extremely well written."--Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink

Synopsis:

Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Through a fascinating mixture of cultural and scientific history, food politics, and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many ways swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and even poisoned our food throughout history. In the hands of people and corporations who have prized profits above the health of consumers, food and drink have been tampered with in often horrifying ways--padded, diluted, contaminated, substituted, mislabeled, misnamed, or otherwise faked. Swindled gives a panoramic view of this history, from the leaded wine of the ancient Romans to today's food frauds--such as fake organics and the scandal of Chinese babies being fed bogus milk powder.

Wilson pays special attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and England and their roles in developing both industrial-scale food adulteration and the scientific ability to combat it. As Swindled reveals, modern science has both helped and hindered food fraudsters--increasing the sophistication of scams but also the means to detect them. The big breakthrough came in Victorian England when a scientist first put food under the microscope and found that much of what was sold as "genuine coffee" was anything but--and that you couldn't buy pure mustard in all of London.

Arguing that industrialization, laissez-faire politics, and globalization have all hurt the quality of food, but also that food swindlers have always been helped by consumer ignorance, Swindled ultimately calls for both governments and individuals to be more vigilant. In fact, Wilson suggests, one of our best protections is simply to reeducate ourselves about the joys of food and cooking.

About the Author

Bee Wilson is the author of "The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us". She writes a weekly food column for London's "Sunday Telegraph" and is a former food critic for the "New Statesman". She has been named Food Journalist of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers and Food Writer of the Year by BBC Radio 4.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Chapter 1: German Ham and English Pickles 1

Chapter 2: A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread 46

Chapter 3: Government Mustard 94

Chapter 4: Pink Margarine and Pure Ketchup 152

Chapter 5: Mock Goslings and Pear-nanas 213

Chapter 6: Basmati Rice and Baby Milk 272

Epilogue: Adulteration in the Twenty-fi rst Century 322

Notes 329

Bibliography 351

Acknowledgments 363

Picture Credits 365

Index 367

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

takingadayoff, January 17, 2009 (view all comments by takingadayoff)
Contaminated toothpaste and milk, suspect additives, high fructose corn syrup -- they're nothing new. Swindled tells the story of how crooked people have been tampering with our food for centuries -- and how governments have looked the other way when money is involved.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Bronwen , November 13, 2008 (view all comments by Bronwen )
Really fascinating to see the history behind the way we eat, especially as we look for ways to make food cheaper and healthier for a growing world population.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691138206
Author:
Wilson, Bee
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
History
Subject:
Food industry and trade
Subject:
Safety
Subject:
Food Science
Subject:
World History/Comparative History
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
American history
Subject:
European History
Subject:
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
Subject:
Food industry and trade -- History.
Subject:
Food contamination - History
Subject:
Science Reference-Technology
Subject:
Popular science
Copyright:
Publication Date:
September 2009
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
53 halftones.
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Safety » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Food and Famine
Young Adult » General

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee Used Hardcover
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$8.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691138206 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Columnist and food writer Wilson takes readers to the beginning of the 19th century to document the history of food adulteration — at heart 'two very simple principles: poisoning and cheating.' Concentrating on Britain and the U.S. (other countries, especially France, navigated food supply industrialization with wiser government policy), Wilson finds the first food crusader in Frederick Accum, a German immigrant who used chemistry to expose the dishonesty of London food purveyors in his treatise on adulterations of food and culinary poisons; she finds the first ineffective government response in parliament's commitment to laissez faire economic policies over citizen safety. In the U.S., New York's 1850s 'swill milk' epidemic and Chicago's meat packing industry would eventually lead to the 1906 pure food and drug act — which probably wouldn't have passed without the popularity of Upton Sinclair's meat packing expose the jungle, and couldn't stop the most nefarious and prevalent of food frauds, the development of fake foods: margarine, baby formula and thousands more. Wilson follows the economic, cultural and political threads skillfully, reporting on developments as recent as the china baby formula scandal. Prescribing more awareness and regulation, Wilson contends that consumers and governments must recognize the continuous pressure on companies to make money by substituting nutritious, genuine ingredients with adulterants. Timely, witty and purposeful, this thorough history should open a lot of eyes, and close some mouths." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , "Bee Wilson is a terrific writer who tells great stories, and her book could not be more timely given what's going on in the Chinese food industry today."--Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and What to Eat

"No other book tells the history of food adulteration in this way. Swindled is ambitious in its coverage and extremely well written."--Andrew F. Smith, editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink

"Synopsis" by , Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Through a fascinating mixture of cultural and scientific history, food politics, and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many ways swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and even poisoned our food throughout history. In the hands of people and corporations who have prized profits above the health of consumers, food and drink have been tampered with in often horrifying ways--padded, diluted, contaminated, substituted, mislabeled, misnamed, or otherwise faked. Swindled gives a panoramic view of this history, from the leaded wine of the ancient Romans to today's food frauds--such as fake organics and the scandal of Chinese babies being fed bogus milk powder.

Wilson pays special attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and England and their roles in developing both industrial-scale food adulteration and the scientific ability to combat it. As Swindled reveals, modern science has both helped and hindered food fraudsters--increasing the sophistication of scams but also the means to detect them. The big breakthrough came in Victorian England when a scientist first put food under the microscope and found that much of what was sold as "genuine coffee" was anything but--and that you couldn't buy pure mustard in all of London.

Arguing that industrialization, laissez-faire politics, and globalization have all hurt the quality of food, but also that food swindlers have always been helped by consumer ignorance, Swindled ultimately calls for both governments and individuals to be more vigilant. In fact, Wilson suggests, one of our best protections is simply to reeducate ourselves about the joys of food and cooking.

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