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Spoiled: The Dangerous Truth About a Food Chain Gone Haywire Hardcover – June, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Despite frequent media accounts of such unpleasant matters as mad cow disease and outbreaks of food poisoning at fast-food restaurants, Nicols Fox argues, we know too little about the threat that current methods of food manufacture and distribution pose to health. Citing Center for Disease Control figures that put the food poisoning count alone at more than 81 million cases a year in the United States, she notes that in many countries it is unsafe to eat the skins of uncooked vegetables, eggs, ground meat, and other staples. Part of the problem lies in advances in transportation and storage technology, which allow us to consume foods grown very far away and at all seasons; part lies in the fact that bacteria are evolving to survive efforts to contain them. Fox's book is alarming--but appropriately so. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Much has been written in journal articles about the increasing dangers faced by consumers when pathogenic microbes contaminate their food. Journalist Fox provides an in-depth analysis on foodborne pathogens; where they originate, how they are spread, why the incidence of foodborne illness is increasing, and what might be done to help alleviate the problem. Using numerous case studies, she examines contaminates such as salmonella, campylobacter, C. botulinum and V. cholerae. The E. coli hamburger outbreaks and "Mad Cow" disease are each allocated a lengthy chapter. Fox skillfully illustrates how changes in our social traditions and in industrial processing methods have provided hospitable niches for new and existing microbes. Competing agendas by the food industries, food regulators, scientists, politicians and the media have delayed improvements to the situation. Written for the lay reader, this frightening volume ends with a very brief listing of ways to minimize foodborne illnesses. Recommended for all libraries.?Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (June 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465019803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019809
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,461,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a brilliant investigation into the present state of our food supply. Many of us have read scattered news items about food poisoning outbreaks here and there, but have never really noticed what's been happening to our food supply. In this book, Fox brings together hundreds of stories of outbreaks, and through them, brings the elusive big picture into focus. Fox takes us behind the burger counters back to the factory farm, where chickens are sick, and cows are fattened up on the dung and bedding from the sick chickens. The manure from the chicken-dung eating cows is spread on apple orchards, and all of the sudden organic apple cider must be pasteurized to kill the e. coli. Before reading this book, I wondered why eating raw cookie dough never made me sick as a child, but now we're cautioned never even to consider such dangerous habits. As Fox explains, eating raw eggs wasn't dangerous before, but thanks to modern agribusiness practices, chickens have salmonella in their ovaries, so all eggs must be assumed to be tainted As a result, the only safe egg these days is one whose yolk is cooked solid- -eating eggs sunny-side up is akin to Russian roulette.
Fox's main message is that it is vitally important to know who grew your food and how, as well as who cooked your food. If you choose to eat meat, you should know where the meat came from. In the interests of making a profit, factory farms feed meat and milk animals waste products including diseased animal parts and dung. Even if the animals are able to digest such a diet, bacteria and other pathogens from such a diet eventually end up on our plates.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fox's well-researched book is shocking. Mad Cow Disease is a trivial problem compared to some of the others revealed in this fascinating investigation into the underbelly and oversights of America's food industry.
But also check out Peter Phillips' CENSORED 1999's top censored news story for an additional jolt: a government near you soon will be wholly beholden to any corporation which chooses to violate the already-established food laws. If the powers that be get their way, the stories in fox's SPOILED will be barely the tip of the iceberg in a few short years.
Wake up, America! Read this book and raise some hell! How? Call your local, state, and federal representatives and tell them you're not going to take it any longer!
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Format: Paperback
I found out about the book because it was referenced at the end of Robin Cook's book Toxin. The author gives detailed accounts of numerous outbreaks of contaminated food. She shows that what we were lead to believe was an isolated incident, is not an isolated incident. I was amazed to find out that Russia demanded higher standards for the chickens that are shipped to their country, but as American citizens we have not asked for higher standards.
She points out that consumers have been blamed for not using proper food handling when in fact the food producer is at fault for not providing safe food.
While I really liked the book, I gave it only 4 stars because at times the book can be a little too detailed. I found it difficult to keep reading the book at times.
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By A Customer on March 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book explains many details missing from media hype on the topic of toxins in the food supply. Many people think that daily exposure to toxins, in small amounts, innocculates one from the deadly consequences of food borne pathogens. "Spoiled" points out how consumer and governmental organizations have denied hazards which have lead to needless deaths. This is an important read for anyone interested in the safety of their families.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok...I would not recommend this book to anyone who panics easily or does not have an 'iron' stomach. This book is not for the squeamish. Fox does an excellent job of researching the massive problems in our modern-day food industries. She not only includes the companies that prepare and can our foods (such as Gerber, Heinz, Del Monte, and the many less-well-known providers of meat), but she includes the cattle and chicken industries, and even restaurants.
This book caught my eye after the horrible breakout last summer in our local Chi-Chi's of Hepatitis A. Hep A is not supposed to be a killer, but the strain that hit this restaurant exposed a huge amount of people to illness...over 600. Among that group were people who had immune system problems such as diabetes, and there were four deaths from what is currently believed to be exposure through green onions. It was unfathonable to many that something such as green onions could lead to deaths; I still have a problem believing that was the source.
But Fox makes clear in this book that our foodstuffs are not as safe in many ways, as they used to be, due to modern industry practices, and the lobbying efforts of the industries in pursuit of the almight dollar.
The book is fascinating, and the only reason I gave a four star rating was due to the fact that many times Fox's writing seemed repetitious. I am certainly taking much more care of the way I prepare foods, and even which foods I shop for thanks to this book. Like many of the current books dealing with what could be 'doomsday' scenarios, I tend to take the books with a grain of salt...you can't spend your entire life being afraid of things. However, you can spend more time in care of your families, and I think this book is valuable for that reason.
Karen Sadler,
Science Education,
University of Pittsburgh
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