When six-year-old Lauren Rudolph was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and fever, doctors were mystified as to the cause of her sudden and terrifying symptoms. Just five days later Lauren would become the first victim of a mysterious bacterial pathogen. Hundreds of sick children began to show up at hospitals across the Western states, three more children died.

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After frantic research, health officials managed to trace the deadly outbreak to a singlesource: undercooked hamburgers eaten at the popular fast-food chain Jack in the Box.

Back in 1993, no one had ever heard of E. coli. Food poisoning might give you a stomachache but it wasn't regarded as life-threatening, and no one dreamed that giving a child ahamburger could have deadly consequences. The alarming E. coli outbreak that began withLauren Rudolph opened America's eyes to the dangers of undercooked meat, touching off amedia and political frenzy that would revolutionize the way we eat.

"The Jack in the Box outbreak is considered the meat industry's wake-up call," says bestselling author Jeff Benedict. "As soon as hamburgers killed kids, everything changed." Benedict conducted over 250 on-the-record interviews and poured over thousands of pages of documents to produce an incredible behind-the-scenes account of the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Benedict chronicles how this outbreak, apart from causing severe injury, challenged everyone affected; from the group of doctors who had never seen a case of E. coli to the Jack in the Box executives who had to quickly devise new industry safety standards that went way beyond what any other restaurant chain had done previously or see their business fail.

In POISONED Jeff Benedict expertly guides readers through the unprecedented political and legal battle that followed America's largest outbreak of foodborne illness to date, told through the eyes of a vividly drawn cast of characters:

  • Roni Rudolph, the determined mother of the first E. coli victim, who would go on to become a food safety activist.
  • Bob Nugent, the blindsided CEO of Jack in the Box who never dreamed that undercooked meat could kill.
  • Brianne Kiner , a little girl sickened with E. coli who miraculously recovered from the brink of death, and her mother Suzanne Kiner, a woman determined to make the food industry listen to her daughter's story.
  • Dave Theno, the scientist hired by Jack in the Box to design new safety procedures for the entire industry.
  • Bob Piper, Jack-in-the-Box's larger-than-life defense attorney.
  • Bill Marler, the young maverick lawyer representing Brianne Kiner, whose audacious and unconventional tactics would win her the largest class action settlement in Washington state history.

Painstakingly researched and gut-wrenchingly immediate, POISONED tells the story of a pivotal moment in American history, one that graphically demonstrated the dangers of food-borne illness and would leave the food industry forever changed. Part investigative journalism and part legal thriller, POISONED is the definitive chronicle of the 1993 food poisoning drama that gripped the nation.

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Jeff Benedict is the bestselling author of sixteen non-fiction books, as well as a television and film producer. His latest book, The Dynasty, is the definitive inside story of the New England Patriots under Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, each of whom cooperated for the book. Published in 2020, it was an instant New York Times bestseller. The book is being developed into a 10-part documentary series, which Jeff is executive producing. In 2018, Jeff co-wrote the #1 bestseller Tiger Woods and he was an executive producer on the HBO documentary “Tiger” that was based on the book and aired in 2021. The book is currently being developed into a scripted series, which Jeff is executive producing. Jeff is also the executive producer on a documentary based on his book Poisoned that will air on Netflix. In 2017, he co-produced “Little Pink House,” a feature film starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn that was based on Jeff’s book of the same title. And in 2016, Jeff co-wrote with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young his bestselling autobiography QB, which was the basis of an NFL Films documentary. Jeff has been a special-features writer for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, and the Hartford Courant, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times. His stories have been the basis of segments on 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, HBO Real Sports, Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, 20/20, 48 Hours, NFL Network, and NPR.

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