Eat, drink, and be wary How unsafe is our food?

Charles Duncan

Book - 2015

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Subjects
Published
Lanham, Maryland : Rowman & Littlefield [2015]
©2015
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 201 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-185) and index.
ISBN
9781442238398
1442238399
Main Author
Charles Duncan (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

A much-awarded print and TV journalist takes the U.S. food industry to task. Even the statistics he presents alone will alarm. Every year, 3,000 Americans die and 48 million are sickened by food-borne illnesses. Of the 91 percent of seafood the U.S. imports, only 2 percent is inspected. And on and on. Duncan cites many books, chapters, and verses on every aspect of the food industry, from the possibility of bioterrorism through our food supply and the dangers of delicatessens to GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and restaurant food. Although not collected in any one chapter, his advice proves valuable: eat only prepackaged deli foods; don't drink raw, unpasteurized milk; and select fish with low to moderate mercury. Who has weakened U.S. food chains? The government (USDA and FDA are the largest agencies), which writes laws to favor industry, not the public, and the D.C. bureaucrats who defund and strip food-safety programs to bare bones. In Duncan's epilogue, readers will see him preparing for his next documentary foray, against sugar. Extraordinarily well researched—and scary. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Here a veteran food journalist takes a heap of newspaper clippings, all dealing with food/health issues, and shapes them into a 19-chapter compendium on "toxic food" issues.  My colleagues and others have taught the science behind food safety over entire careers to thousands of students, and we are proud of the admirable US effort to keep up the flow of edibles from harvest to consumers in a sane and affordable way.  Compared to food in other centuries and areas of the world, our food is indeed cheap, clean, and safe.  This review, however, is twisted into a horror summary of appalling news.  A media reporter knows that "if it bleeds, it leads," and author Duncan puts this principle right onto the title page.  An example of defective fact-checking is the misreporting of a certain self-appointed consumer watchdog operation (Center for Science in the Public Interest) as an arm of the US government (subordinate to the FDA).  Intelligent readers know the good deal we get from farmers, food processors, restaurateurs, and their affiliates.  Things could always be better, but to make them so takes time, effort, and money.  Duncan hammers home his negative points repeatedly, with a fist in the midriff. Summing Up: Optional. Researchers/faculty and professionals/practitioners. --M. Kroger, emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus Manfred Kroger emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.190835 Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Veteran journalist Duncan demonstrates that fears about food safety in the U.S. are not unfounded. Bit by bit, he examines "our enormous food safety problems," the reasons why the government has failed to protect consumers, and the consequences of such lax oversight. Contamination can affect every "phase of our food chain, from the wheat and corn fields, grazing cattle, slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies to our oceans and bays." Meanwhile, global imports generally do not receive proper or sufficient inspection, either. The FDA, for example, inspects less than two percent of foods shipped from China (and more than half of Chinese food processing and packaging firms fail that country's own safety inspections). Chapters on items such as produce, poultry, and eggs highlight similar themes. According to Duncan, the American government drags its feet and has kept secret public information about enforcement, closures, and seizures of food processors, protecting big businesses at the public's expense. Subsequent discussions on milk, seafood, and processed meats strike cautionary tones as well. Though not the most optimistic—or appetizing—volume on modern-day food production, Duncan's work is comprehensive and readers concerned with the safety and reliability of their foods will appreciate his efforts. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Veteran journalist Duncan demonstrates that fears about food safety in the U.S. are not unfounded. Bit by bit, he examines "our enormous food safety problems," the reasons why the government has failed to protect consumers, and the consequences of such lax oversight. Contamination can affect every "phase of our food chain, from the wheat and corn fields, grazing cattle, slaughterhouses, egg farms, and dairies to our oceans and bays." Meanwhile, global imports generally do not receive proper or sufficient inspection, either. The FDA, for example, inspects less than two percent of foods shipped from China (and more than half of Chinese food processing and packaging firms fail that country's own safety inspections). Chapters on items such as produce, poultry, and eggs highlight similar themes. According to Duncan, the American government drags its feet and has kept secret public information about enforcement, closures, and seizures of food processors, protecting big businesses at the public's expense. Subsequent discussions on milk, seafood, and processed meats strike cautionary tones as well. Though not the most optimistic—or appetizing—volume on modern-day food production, Duncan's work is comprehensive and readers concerned with the safety and reliability of their foods will appreciate his efforts. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In one of the world’s wealthiest nations, one might expect the food we eat to be safe and free of deadly organisms that might make us sick, but in reality there is very little oversight of our food and its delivery. Here, Charles Duncan reveals the extent of the danger and encourages consumers to make better decisions and demand better safety.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Food safety has fast become one of the nation’s top issues. Three thousand people die each year in the U.S. from foodborne illnesses. Another 48 million are sickened annually and our government fails to protect us. Many foods and additives that we eat every day have been banned for years in other countries. Our government food safety agencies move in reverse--cutting back on inspections, allowing food producers to inspect themselves, and permitting the vast majority of potentially adulterated foods to enter this country without benefit of any testing or inspection.How, in a country so advanced in most areas, could we have descended to this alarming state of food safety? One answer: Budget cuts and bureaucrats.Eat, Drink, and Be Wary examines the multitude of dangers in food production, transportation, storing, and preparation that result in this shocking number of preventable illnesses and deaths. It takes a broad and detailed look, in all food groups, at the problems and potential solutions in food safety practices, inspections, and enforcements.This book answers the questions and concerns of millions of Americans who have reached new levels of serious doubts about the safety of our food. Charles Duncan points readers to the dangers to look for in deli foods, raw milk, seafood, poultry, eggs, beef, and others. For consumers who care about the food they eat, this book details the dangers, offers direction for choosing safe foods, and provides a critique of our current system that suggests ways it can be fixed, or at least improved.