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Jeff Benedict's 'Poisoned' receiving national attention

Published: Thursday, June 30 2011 1:30 p.m. MDT

Jeff Benedict’s book, "Poisoned," continues to grab headlines across the country.

With the recent E. coli outbreaks in Germany and France, Benedict’s nonfiction work is becoming a resource for people concerned about food poisoning issues, according to his publicist, Gretchen Crary.

The book, which was featured in a Deseret News article in May, has been in-and-out of Amazon’s top 50 and appears headed for the New York Times best-seller list. Benedict is also a columnist for the Deseret News.

“Poisoned” chronicles the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak in the early 1990s. The book was recently reviewed by New York Times writer Abigail Zuger.

Zuger likened “Poisoned” to a John Grisham novel, only “factual” and “relevant.” The piece reviews the highlights of the story and calls it “completely gripping.”

“Jeff Benedict manages to deliver a full literary experience of a medico-legal thriller in a work of nonfiction ... Benedict delivers the story in a staccato, you-are-there fashion,” Zuger wrote. “There is only one supremely colorful character in the story that Mr. Benedict overlooks, and that is E. coli itself.”

ABC News posted this report from Christopher Sullivan of the Associated Press.

“Once the legal story gets rolling, however, 'Poisoned' becomes a fast-paced narrative and a cautionary tale about how public health policy, corporate practices and public relations, and lawyers' chutzpah and frenzy for fees can converge in a place we all know well: the neighborhood hamburger joint,” Sullivan wrote.

Susan Gembrowski of the San Diego Union Tribune also gave Benedict’s work high marks.

“Benedict proves to be a master storyteller,” she wrote. “And his subtext is that because of what happened at Jack in the Box, the government changed its regulations, the company provided an all-encompassing plan that it shared with others in the industry to keep food products safe and people changed the way — and what — they eat.”

“Poisoned” also received some extra exposure when another New York Times writer, Mark Bittman, who discussed “some stomach-churning facts about the E. coli outbreak,” with central character Bill Marler, the lawyer who sued Jack in the Box in the early 1990s.

“The guy we have to thank for having our current level of protection against E. coli … is Bill Marler who made his bones in the Jack in the Box case."

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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