Upton Sinclair was a "muckraking" journalist and author most famous for exposing horrific and unsanitary conditions in the American meatpacking industry in his novel The Jungle.

Photograph from New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, courtesy Library of Congress

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  • On November 25, 1968, American journalist and author Upton Sinclair died in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Sinclair wrote 90 books, but his most famous is The Jungle. In The Jungle, Sinclair exposed the unhealthy and inhumane conditions in the American meatpacking industry. The publication of this book in 1906 caused a public outcry, and led to the passage of the first food-safety laws in the United States. After an investigation into the conditions described in Sinclair’s book, the government passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and Meat Inspection Act, and created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make sure food produced in the U.S. was safe to eat.
    The FDA continues to play an important role in determining what foods and medicines are safe to consume. Chemists, biologists, and pharmacists now analyze genetically modified foods as well as imported goods.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    analyze Verb

    to study in detail.

    biologist Noun

    scientist who studies living organisms.

    chemist Noun

    person who studies the theory and application of atoms and molecules, and their relationships and interactions.

    consume Verb

    to use up.

    expose Verb

    to uncover.

    FDA adjective, noun

    (Food and Drug Administration) United States government agency responsible for "protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation."

    food Noun

    material, usually of plant or animal origin, that living organisms use to obtain nutrients.

    Encyclopedic Entry: food
    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    import Verb

    to bring in a good or service from another area for trade.

    journalist Noun

    person who reports and distributes news.

    meat Noun

    animal flesh eaten as food.

    medicine Noun

    substance used for treating illness or disease.

    public Adjective

    available to an entire community, not limited to paying members.