The Poison Squad Makes Modern Food Crusaders Look Like Wimps

By Mike Pomranz |

Nowadays, if you have an issue with your food, you’re likely to take your grievances to the internet. (Cue everyone from the Food Babe to yours truly.) Not to say there’s anything wrong with that. Quite the opposite in fact: The web is a great forum for exchanging ideas. But compared to 1902, when researcher Harvey Washington Wiley rounded up volunteers for a “poison supper club” so he could study the effect chemicals in our foods had on their bodies, blogging no longer feels particularly hardcore.

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The YouTube channel Great Big Story recently did a quick recap on the history of the “poison squad,” explaining how these brave (and maybe, in retrospect, not particularly bright) volunteers helped spark modern food regulations and the formation of the FDA.

Granted, today, the equivalent of a poison supper club would probably be illegal – or at the very least released would be an absolute nightmare for your lawyers. But hey, thank the people of yore for joining “poison squads” so we didn’t have to. You can now go back to eating gluten-free organic snack chips and watching Netflix.

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