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Wednesday, September 26 | 7:00 – 9:00 pm

The Poison Squad

Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Blum tells the true David and Goliath tale of how food was made safe in the United States and the heroes, led by the inimitable Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who fought for change. Wiley crusaded to regulate the chemical preservatives used to keep food fresh and ended up creating the nation's first law to protect against poisons in our food supply. Did he succeed? Are the preservatives we eat today safe? Join us to hear Wiley's story and learn why some of the chemicals he tested are still in our food today. Book signing to follow.

Here's what people are saying about the The Poison Squad:

“More than a century ago, enterprising manufacturers added brand-new chemical preservatives into food to keep it fresh as it traveled from the farm into rapidly growing American cities. Milk no longer went rancid! Meat no longer spoiled! But some scientists wondered: could all these preservatives be doing more harm than good?” -- Gastropod

“Wiley’s 'poison squad' was made up of young, healthy, male government workers who consumed capsules of borax, formaldehyde, and other preservatives alongside their daily meals. The trials’ shocking results led to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and eventually to the creation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), transforming what the nation eats in the process.” -- The Atlantic

This program is for audiences 18+.

This program is free thanks to the generosity of the Lowell Institute.

For information about accessibility in the Museum: For questions or accommodation requests: 617-589-3102, Please request ASL interpreters at least two weeks in advance.


Cahners Theater


Recommended for: Visitors 18 years of age and older

Public Event

Separate ticket required. Cost: Free


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