When it comes to food, knowing what you’re getting can be tricky. On the surface, words such as “pure” and “natural” seem straightforward, yet defining them in the modern world has required experts, laws, and administrative structures. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with Lafayette College’s Benjamin Cohen about the pure food crusades of the late nineteenth century, the origins of the Pure Food Act of 1906 and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the lessons this era offers us as we seek to make decisions about food policy in the 21st century.
Dr. Benjamin R. Cohen is Associate Professor of Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College and the author of Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Learn more about his work at his personal website or by following him on twitter at @BRCohen95.
This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.