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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll open your eyes!
I bought this based on a recommendation - and have since bought several copies to give to friends and family!
The book begins by explaining just how far back the tradition of dodgy food goes - basically right back to medieval times and probably beyond. Sweets coloured with mercury, chicory and barley being sold as 'coffee', gravel and sand being used to fill out...
Published on 30 Jun 2009 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disorganized
Obviously well researched, but the organization of information lacking. Information ping-pong made an irritating read!
Published on 14 July 2009 by Rachael Elizabeth Gilbert


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It'll open your eyes!, 30 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats (Paperback)
I bought this based on a recommendation - and have since bought several copies to give to friends and family!
The book begins by explaining just how far back the tradition of dodgy food goes - basically right back to medieval times and probably beyond. Sweets coloured with mercury, chicory and barley being sold as 'coffee', gravel and sand being used to fill out bread mixture - ugh!!
I loved the historical bit as it was really interesting, but where the book really hits its stride is the later chapters discussing modern food adulteration - you will find yourself scrutinising labels in the supermarket too. There's also a discussion about 'additives' such as fluoride and vitamins into drinks and food - in the USA it's mandatory to add folic acid to bread. (Folic acid is vital for women as it helps to reduce spinal complications in babies, but a lot of women simply don't get enough in their standard diet).
Anyway, DO buy this book, I guarantee you'll enjoy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As haunting as a thriller, 25 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats (Paperback)
Buying Swindled is a smart move for your health. Especially if you are a parent.

I bought this book for educational purposes, but actually, I couldn't put it down. Swindled reads like an alarming thriller, and will have you frightened and outraged in equal measures.

Who should buy it?
Every family. Every food writer. Every chef. Every cook. No. Every one.

Food piracy is a massive industry (I'm writing this in the wake of the horse meat scandal). Wilson chronicles a lot more than your supermarket burger. Hers is a voice worth listening to. The book shares her research and helps to inform us about the perils of highly processed food and the desperation of food 'adulterers.' Pretty haunting stuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 22 May 2013
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This review is from: Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats (Paperback)
I read this over a couple of days while laid up in bed with a snapped ankle ligament. It makes fascinating - and deeply worrying - reading for anyone interested in the history of food, and also for those who care deeply about the quality of the food we eat. It proves that from ancient times we have been at the mercy of individuals, big (and small) business and politicians regarding the quality of our daily bread and practically every other item of food that we have put in our mouths over the centuries. Along the way, the careful reader will find out such interesting snippets of information to drop into the dinner table conversation as why Double Gloucester cheese is described as "double" (the milk used has to come from two milkings made on successive days rather than just from one milking) and the origin of the giant's "Fee, fi, fo fum" speech in "Jack the Giant Killer" - the 1792 wheat harvest was particularly poor and millers were accused of adding ground bones to the flour to increase its bulk. Of perhaps greater relevance is the explanation of why modern "bread" is so disgustingly tasteless and flabby and how lucky we are that individuals and organisations have campaigned in the past and continue to do so against food adulteration and sharp practice.

Wilson writes that we suffer from "food scare malaise" - almost every day we read or hear about some new claim that this or that foodstuff is bad for us or good for us, and so eventually we stop taking any notice. Part of this book's problem is that, once the modern era is reached, we've heard it all before. I have personally read many of the books that Wilson quotes from (Fast Food Nation, SuperSize Me, etc) and so I have heard many of the stories before or broadly similar ones, and must admit (proving Wilson's Food Scare Malaise theory beyond all possible doubt) that as a consequence my interest began to wane once the historical aspect was dispensed with. "Swindled" went (for me) from being an interesting historical examination of food adulteration to yet another "food scare" book. This is not the fault of the book, however, more a symptom of Food Scare Malaise itself. Other readers may not find this a problem if they have not previously read some of many other "horror stories" already in print. From the historical perspective, however, this is a fascinating and extremely readable book.
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2 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disorganized, 14 July 2009
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This review is from: Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats (Paperback)
Obviously well researched, but the organization of information lacking. Information ping-pong made an irritating read!
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