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Arsenic in Chocolate: A Purdue Chemist's Crusade to Unpoison Food
January 28, 2020
In the late 1800s, the United States was in the midst of the Second Industrial Revolution. A rising population meant more mouths to feed, and more people who needed work. Preservatives were needed to keep food fresh, or at least looking fresh, on shelves. And a lot of the labels on food products didn’t tell the whole story.
“The Poison Squad” chronicles the efforts of Purdue’s first professor of chemistry, Harvey Wiley, to rid food of poison. Wiley tested food for the State of Indiana, and later worked with the federal government to examine the effects of common preservatives on human volunteers. Wiley’s work laid the groundwork for what would become the Food & Drug Administration.
Produced by Matt Pelsor.
Author, “The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century”