"Poisoned", the Story of the Jack in the Box E. coli Outbreak, Soon to be Released as an Netflix Documentary
Doc Based on Jeff Benedict’s 2013 Best Seller Dives Deep Into America’s Convoluted, Dysfunctional and Dangerous Food Supply System
LOS ANGELES – (January 19, 2021) – On the heels of HBO’s Tiger, executive produced by award-winning author and journalist Jeff Benedict and based on his 2018 biography (with co-author Armen Keteyian), Benedict has joined forces with Ross Dinerstein’s Campfire (Jiro Dreams of Sushi; HBO Max’s Heaven’s Gate) as well as filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and her banner Atlas Films (Fed Up; The Devil We Know) for Poisoned, an investigative feature documentary based on Benedict’s 2013 Best Seller “Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat.”
Produced by Wheelhouse-backed Campfire, the film will be directed by Soechtig. Dinerstein serves as producer alongside Soechtig and Atlas Films’ Kristin Lazure. Benedict and Campfire’s Ross Girard and Rebecca Evans are executive producers.
Poisoned challenges consumers’ misguided faith in the modern American food supply system and the presumption that the food we purchase is “safe.” In reality, foodborne illness is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC estimates that each year 48 million Americans get a foodborne illness, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
After countless outbreaks, recalls and an ongoing political debate over proper food and safety regulations – as well as increasingly staggering hospitalization and death statistics – Poisoned will go directly to the source, following the distribution trail from start to finish, examining where the process breaks down, as well as the bureaucratic red tape and collusion among lobbyists and lawmakers that works against addressing this life-or-death problem.
The documentary will chronicle the evolution and twisted history of America’s food supply system, while also sharing unbelievable, untold stories from victims of notorious outbreaks and spotlighting high-profile criminal prosecutions for those responsible. The result will be an all-encompassing, infuriating, and at times even humorous roller coaster ride that seeks solutions and starts with one central question: “How did we get to a place with 15 government agencies in charge of the country’s food, yet none of them can keep its citizens safe?”
“‘Poisoned' began with my interest in writing about the Jack in the Box E. coli infections in 1993 that sickened over 750 children, four of whom died,” said Benedict. “But once I entered that world, it became clear the story was much bigger than one outbreak. It’s the same broken system behind each of these horrific events, and while we’ve become more vigilant about what we eat, the issues plaguing the industry rage on.”
“Jeff’s non-fiction work can be haunting and evoke shock, rage and humor; this film captures all of that, plus a slight risk of making you sick to your stomach,” added Dinerstein. “This is an important story that we needed to tell – even if my IMDB page will now list a sushi doc alongside a film about foodborne illness…”
Said Soechtig, “The food industry is so incredibly vast, flawed and full of deceit, yet crucial to the well-being of our society. For a filmmaker, there aren’t many topics as universal, timeless and critical, and yet there are still so many stones left unturned. ‘Poisoned’ will dive into a whole new realm of baffling statistics, harmful presumptions, criminal acts and coverups. There’s a lot to feed audiences.”
Founded in 2014 and helmed by producer and CEO Ross Dinerstein, Campfire is a premium production company known for its broad bench of content across scripted and unscripted, for both feature film and TV/streaming platforms. Part of Wheelhouse Entertainment, Campfire’s projects include docuseries Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults for HBO Max; Hulu’s upcoming WeWork feature documentary; FX’s first true crime docuseries The Most Dangerous Animal of All; Netflix’s true-crime documentary series John Grisham’s The Innocent Man (which contributed to a federal judge overturning in 2019 the wrongful conviction of subject Karl Fontenot after 36 years behind bars); and Netflix’s Emmy-nominated, scripted series Special (currently in production on Season 2). Among Campfire’s other features are Rattlesnake; thriller 1922, based on the Stephen King novella; and comedy The Package – all for Netflix – as well as IFC’s cult horror movie The Pact. Over the last 15 years, Dinerstein has produced or executive produced 40+ series and films, including debuts at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and TIFF. His credits also include feature documentaries Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Silicon Cowboys.