Published: October 4, 2011
By: Barry Estabrook
In August, we learned that salmonella in ground turkey had sickened more than 110 consumers and killed one. In September, news broke that listeria in cantaloupes had sickened more than 70 people and killed at least 15. What fatal food-borne outbreak should we expect in October?
Americans are being made ill by food with numbing frequency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the tally at 3,000 deaths annually.
Which is what makes Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat so timely. In the book, which was published earlier this year, author Jeff Benedict tells the story of the infamous 1993 outbreak, in which more than 750 customers of the Jack in the Box fast-food chain were sickened by E-coli-contaminated hamburgers. Four children died despite the best efforts of modern medicine. Dozens more survived but were left with permanent, debilitating injuries that would require lifelong care. The wave of publicity that surrounded the incident made consumers aware for the first time that there was something seriously wrong with the country's industrial food system.
Published: September 26, 2011
By: Lynne Terry
A healthy 6-year-old girl dies five days after staying home from school with a stomach ache. Her doctors are mystified, her parents devastated. Soon clusters of kids across the West turn up in emergency rooms with similar symptoms: fever, cramping, bloody diarrhea. In the end, hundreds fall ill and three more die.
Sound like script material for a Hollywood movie? Maybe, but it really happened and is recounted by Jeff Benedict in his book "Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat."
Today, after successive outbreaks involving everything from sprouts in Germany to strawberries in Oregon, E. coli is a household term. But nearly two decades ago, only a few scientists knew much about the virulent strain -- E. coli O157:H7 -- that contaminated the Jack in the Box burgers in 1993.
King County Bar Journal
Published: August 5, 2011
By: Gene Barton
I was a summer associate with Karr Tuttle Campbell in 1995 when Bruce Clark invited me to attend the preliminary joint session of a mediation that was being held in our offices. As it turned out- and this tells you how (even to this day) news travels slowly around to my office - the plaintiff's lawyer represented one of the victims of the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 and we represented JIB's parent company, Foodmaker. I had no idea we were involved in the case; granted, I hadn't been on the scene that long, but you'd think someone would have told me.
Poor Taste Magazine
Published: July 19, 2011
By: Arwen Petty
Dear Jeff Benedict, author of Poisoned,
You broke my heart.
After reading the first seven pages of your book, I was in tears, one hand covering my mouth, my heart racing as I learned the appalling story of six-year-old Lauren Rudolph, who succumbed to death just one week after consuming a dangerous, bacteria-filled hamburger. I was absolutely sucked in to your retelling of the outrageous, deadly E. Coli outbreak of the early ‘90s — a massive eruption of the most virulent strain of the bacteria that sickened over 600 people, killed four children, and nearly annihilated the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. Your simple but eloquent writing style kept me intrigued page after page, and as a result, Poisoned, with its revealing and heartbreaking stories of the victims of foodborne illnesses, took over my life for an entire week.
Published: July 16, 2011
By: Rick Koster
Old enough to remember the "Popeye" cartoons? A principal character was Wimpy, a man whose sole passion in life was the consumption of hamburgers; who would broker any demon's bargain to obtain one; and who literally levitated at the scent of grilling patties.
Well, Wimpy never met Jeff Benedict - and presumably never read Benedict's latest book, "Poisoned," a flash-fire read about America's tragic E. coli outbreak in 1992, when four children died and several were critically stricken after eating Jack in the Box hamburgers.
The DayPublished: July 14, 2011By: Rick Koster
My friend Lee Hansen, way back when we were young, worked at a fast-food franchise. As an enthusiastic fan of their "secret sauce," I plied him for the recipe.
He shook his head and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand - a faraway stare in his eyes as though he were remembering a traumatic battlefield experience. Then he shuddered and gripped my shoulder. "Dude, you don't EVER want to know the answer to that question," he said.
The New York TimesPublished: June, 27 2011BY: Abigail Zuger, M.D
If little mental woodpeckers of guilt begin to hammer away every time you reach for a John Grisham novel (shouldn’t you be reading something factual and relevant to current events?), your perfect beach book has arrived. With “Poisoned,” Jeff Benedict manages to deliver the full literary experience of a medico-legal thriller in a work of nonfiction that, fortuitously enough, could not be more relevant to recent headlines.
Mr. Benedict’s subject is one of the first outbreaks of E. coli-related diarrhea to sicken and kill innocent diners. Last month’s outbreak in Germany was traced to salad vegetables, probably bean sprouts, but back in the winter of 1993 it was Jack in the Box hamburger meat that catapulted this new threat into the public eye and left enduring repercussions in the worlds of medicine, law and food services.
Food (Safety) FightPublished: June 27, 2011By: Richard Raymond
If you are not one inclined to read much, or just too short of time to take on a new book, please just read the first chapter, or even the first 8 pages about the end of Lauren Rudolph’s life. No child and no parent should have to go through what Lauren and her parents did.The just released novel by best-selling author Jeff Benedict should be mandatory reading for anyone with an interest or an opinion in the ground beef discussions that never seem to run out of gas.
Before I go any further, let me make my personal views very clear. I am not a beef, meat or protein hater. I love a good hamburger, I just wish I knew how to keep them moist like I used to enjoy before the need to “just cook it” to 160 degrees became my standard.
San Diego Union-TribunePublished: June 26, 2011Susan Gembrowski
The nonfiction book “Poisoned” reads like a novel as the author skillfully weaves medical mystery and legal maneuvering with the heart-rending reality of what happened to children who ate a Jack in the Box hamburger.
The deadly outbreak of E. coli killed four children and sickened more than 600 who ate the contaminated beef from December 1992 to January 1993.
“Poisoned” opens with 6-year-old Lauren Rudolph in San Diego, who went from perfectly healthy to dead in six short days. Her doctors were as baffled as her grieving parents.
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