The University of Nebraska Press is committed to expanding our publishing program deep into American Studies. As part of that effort, we are attending and exhibiting at the 2014 American Studies Association conference this week, announcing new series, and highlighting particular books that speak directly to the American Studies community. One such book is the newly released, In Food We Trust: The Politics of Purity in American Food Regulation by Courtney P. Thomas.
As Thomas writes in her introduction:
“When today’s consumers think about food safety, they are far more likely to think about microbial contamination than they are to think about food adulteration. However, the regulatory environment that governs food safety has not changed, despite advances in science and shifts in public perception. In short, at the turn of the twenty-first century, a hundred years after the first food safety laws were passed in the United States, federal regulators could prevent peanut butter producers from adulterating their products with sawdust but could not prevent them from selling products contaminated with Salmonella. Why? How is it possible that the U.S. food safety regulatory regime remained unchanged for a hundred years? Why did the United States remain beholden to nineteenth-century notions of purity and wholesomeness while other developed countries updated their laws in accordance with the scientific advances of the twentieth century? Those answers take us to the heart of the American political system. This is a story about that system. It is a story about special interests and corporate power, about entrenched economic agents and political stalemate. It is a story that challenges us to reconsider what we believe we know about food safety, its regulation, and our system of government.”
If you are in Los Angeles for the conference please stop by booth 111 and chat with Alicia Christensen or Maggie Boyles and take a closer look at In Food We Trust and our other books on display.