An inspector calls: Pennington, <i>E. coli</i> and disaster science

Ed Randall

in Food, Risk and Politics

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780719072307
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702918 | DOI:
An inspector calls: Pennington, E. coli and disaster science

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Dealing with the first of a series of E. coli O157 outbreaks in Scotland (which occurred in 1996), this chapter looks at the detective skills of a professor of bacteriology. Hugh Pennington's determination and independence rightly attracted public praise. Pennington wrote a book entitled When Food Kills (2003) about the E. coli outbreak he was asked to report on. His book was an exploration of what he called disaster science. He set out to compare the public response to a deadly episode of food poisoning with other disasters; his survey covered disasters in transportation, mineral extraction and waste disposal. The selective attention of press and officials, as well as disagreements within scientific communities, will, Pennington suggests, always make it difficult for even the most independent and determined of experts to ensure that what they have to say is acted upon.

Keywords: E. coli O157; E. coli; Scotland; bacteriology; Hugh Pennington; disaster science; food poisoning; disasters

Chapter.  9270 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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