Risk on the Table: Food Production, Health, and the Environment

Berghahn Books
Other Editors
Jean-Paul Gaudillière

Over the last century, the industrialization of agriculture and processing technologies have made food abundant and relatively inexpensive for much of the world’s population. Simultaneously, pesticides, nitrates, and other technological innovations intended to improve the food supply’s productivity and safety have generated new, often poorly understood risks for consumers and the environment. From the proliferation of synthetic additives to the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the chapters in Risk on the Table zero in on key historical cases in North America and Europe that illuminate the history of food safety, highlighting the powerful tensions that exists among scientific understandings of risk, policymakers’ decisions, and cultural notions of “pure” food.


“This collection draws insightful genealogies of a persistently virulent problem: food safety. The book brings together a series of well-written and exciting historical cases that together create a picture of the scientific and political struggles for food safety and their obstacles.” • Alexander von Schwerin, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

“‘Risk on the Table’ is a perfectly apt title for a book which deals with a major concern of modern societies: What shall we eat? Combining perspectives of ‘food risk’ as a matter of health concerns; environmental issues; and economic, social and employment problems, this book is truly innovative.” • Karin Zachmann, The Technical University of Munich

Area of Interest
Legal History
Medicine & Health