Xaq Frohlich on the History of Food Labeling


Peoples & Things host Lee Vinsel talks with Xaq Frohlich, Associate Professor of History at Auburn University, about his new book, From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age (University of California Press, 2023). From Label to Table tells the fascinating history of the US Food and Drug Administration’s spreading authority of food regulation over the 20th century, which, after many twists and turns, culminated in the mandatory standardized food label featured on all packaged foods sold in the United States. The pair also talk about more recent controversies, such as labeling around genetically modified organisms, organic farming, and trans fats. Finally, they discuss Frohlich’s plans for future work, including fascinating potential projects on the history of the Mediterranean Diet and the history of food packaging.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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