"Outbreak: Foodborne Illness and the Struggle for Food Safety"
Foodborne illness is a big problem. Wash those chicken breasts, and you’re likely to spread Salmonella to your countertops, kitchen towels, and other foods nearby. Salad greens can become biohazards when toxic strains of E. coli inhabit the water used to irrigate crops. All told, contaminated food causes 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States. Timothy Lytton takes a deep dive into the complex workings of the U.S. food safety system. He explains how devastating foodborne illness outbreaks have spurred steady scientific and technological advances in food safety. Lytton offers practical reforms that will strengthen the food safety system’s capacity to learn from its mistakes and identify cost-effective food safety efforts capable of producing measurable public health benefits.
Timothy Lytton is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law, where he currently serves as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. His scholarship examines the regulation of health and safety, with a particular focus on food. He is the author of several books, including Outbreak: Foodborne Illness and the Struggle for Food Safety (University of Chicago Press 2019) and Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food (Harvard University Press 2013). Lytton has received grant funding to support his work from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.