What is The Poison Squad?

Dr. Harvey Wiley is a name we should ALL know. We should have studied him in school. He’s a true American hero.

Because BEFORE this pioneering physician-chemist, Americans had no idea what they were eating. Or what they were feeding their children. Or about the toxic food additives regularly consumed in everything from milk to meat. Nor did the federal government offer ANY kind of consumer protection.

Dr. Wiley, it turns out, is almost single-handedly responsible for the food safety we count on every day, with every purchase, in every grocery store. He is the reason that we can trust that when we buy a jar of honey, it actually contains honey. His lifetime’s work is the reason there are ingredient labels now on our food.

Dr. Harvey Wiley 1844-1930

Wiley stopped many mega companies (like Armour and Swift) from secretly adding chemicals like formaldehyde, borax, and copper sulfate to hide food spoilage. And to accomplish this, he relied on 12 human guinea pigs whose bravery provided Wiley with the evidence he needed to defeat Congress, a President, and his own boss — most of whom benefited from substantial corporate donations from the food processing companies involved. Sound familiar?

Don’t miss PBS’s fascinating American Experience episode THE POISON SQUAD about this little known piece of our history. Which, among other things, proves how little things change over time.

Watch Trailor HERE!

Watch Full Film HERE!

More information about the program.