Book Review: TAINTED. (Killers at the dinner table?)

Mystery author and scientific sleuth Phyllis Entis’s new book will change the way you see everyday food!

Even the best home cooking could sicken or even kill us! The usual suspects include (but are not limited to): salmonella in eggs, listeria in deli meats, melamine in milk, and cyclospora in lettuce.

I give this book five perfect stars.

You may have never read non-fiction written by the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, but trust me: TAINTED, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures reads like a sci-fi thriller. Even the most unbelievable parts of the book are absolutely true. Here’s a taste of what’s in store for readers in TAINTED.

Chapter 3 – Betrayal

Sarah Lewis and her entire family attended a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant on May 29, 2010 to mark her sister Stacey’s college graduation. The next night, Sarah’s world turned upside down.

Already feeling unwell on the evening of May 30th, Sarah went to bed early. She awakened during the night, suffering from vomiting and severe diarrhea. The next day, Sarah’s mother, who lived nearby, took her to an urgent care facility. Twenty minutes later, she was admitted to hospital and was later diagnosed with salmonellosis.

Badly dehydrated and in enormous pain from her inflamed bowels, Sarah was moved to the hospital’s ICU. While there, she developed severe tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), and was moved to the critical care heart unit, where she spent three days.

When Sarah was finally discharged in time to attend her daughter’s preschool graduation, she thought the worst was behind her.

About 2½ weeks later, she was back in the hospital, still suffering from severe dehydration. She was released after five days.

The antibiotics Sarah took to combat her Salmonella infection stripped her digestive system of its normal population of protective bacteria, resulting in her becoming infected with Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a bacterium which causes severe diarrhea and cramping. A fourteen-day antibiotic regimen took care of the C. diff; however, the Salmonella was more resilient. Four months later, Sarah still was on five to ten different medications daily to combat the infection and control her symptoms.

Sarah Lewis was the first recorded California victim of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that sickened more than 1,900 people across the United States. The restaurant where Stacey’s graduation banquet was held had purchased custard tarts from a local bakery. Ordinarily, the bakery used a pasteurized liquid egg mixture to make the tarts. However, on the day they prepared the dessert items for the graduation dinner, the bakery ran out of pasteurized egg mix and used fresh, raw shell eggs instead. Eggs that most likely had come from Iowa.

According to author Entis, we live in a world where “irrigation water is contaminated by run-off from cattle feedlots and where [factories, transporters, or stores] cut corners.” As a result, “the food preparation skills we learned from our parents and grandparents are no longer good enough to keep us safe.”

Phyllis Entis has researched a variety of food-borne disease outbreaks and often illustrated her findings with the stories of individual victims. Perhaps that is why this non-fiction book reads like a novel.

In clear, entertaining style, TAINTED “explores the ways in which food becomes contaminated,” even in developed countries with high standards and widespread government oversight. You may remember some of the outbreaks reported in the book, but most of them will be new to you.

Phyllis Entis is the perfect author to bring us a book as informative and fascinating as TAINTED.

After graduating from McGill University and the University of Toronto, Entis was introduced to the science of food safety at Canada’s Health Protection Branch. She says she “she spent the first seven years of her professional life immersed in Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E. coli and other bad actors from the microbial world.”

Entis and her husband founded QA Life Sciences, “a company specializing in rapid testing methods for food-borne bacteria.” She worked closely with representatives of Health Protection brand, the US Food and Drug Administration and others to gain official sanction of rapid testing methods in government and industry settings.

Her first book, Food Microbiology – The Laboratory, was published in 2002. It was followed by Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives, in 2007. 

In addition to her books, Entis has written about food safety issues for several publications, and she writes her own food safety blog, eFoodAlert. She has also found the time to write and release a 5-book mystery series, The Damien Dickens Mysteries.

The Green Pearl Caper: Damien Dickens Mysteries, Book 1
Click on the image to view the series on Amazon.

Four Recommendations

Number 1: Pre-order TAINTED now so that it will be delivered automatically to your Kindle reader or Kindle app when it is released on December 2, 2020. You’ll never view grocery shopping the same way again.

Click on one of these book sellers to pre-order TAINTED:
Amazon, AppleBarnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Number 2: Follow Phyllis Entis on eFoodAlert. This is one newsletter that could actually save the lives of your family or pets. If you only subscribe to one newsletter this year, eFoodAlert should be the one.

Number 3: Connect with author Phyllis Entis via one or more of the following media:

Author website and blog:


Facebook Page:




Number 4: Follow Phyllis Entis’  Facebook author page for updates on how to order TAINTED from other ebook retailers.

Thanks for visiting the website today. I really enjoyed the book by Phyllis Entis, and I think you will, too. Please let me hear from you by commenting here, liking, or writing to me at

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One thought on “Book Review: TAINTED. (Killers at the dinner table?)

  1. Pingback: Award-winning guest: PHYLLIS ENTIS, author of the popular Damien Dickens Mysteries | Author_Iris_Chacon

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