James Erlichman obituary

James Erlichman, that has died after having a short and sudden illness aged 69, would have been a consumer journalist, broadcaster and writer the main thing on reporting Britain’s devastating BSE food crisis. His work brought home uncomfortable truths about products used by millions.

When James became consumer correspondent within the Guardian in 1985, the greatest food scandal newest British history concerned to land. For ages cows have been fed on bone meal containing the remains of other cattle. That brought about a brain disease often known as BSE, named mad cow disease. James’ coverage marked a level in attitudes into the crisis as well as public’s trust in mass manufacture of food.

His article A Cow Disease to Beef About, published on 11 July 1988, accused the Ministry of Agriculture being a “penny pinching”, incompetent organisation for its not enough regulation on animal feeds. It was actually later identified as the primary article in great britain to reveal government culpability. James made to trace people suffering the human sort of the ailment, CJD, and his drive to show the scandal meant the Guardian ran over double as many articles on BSE each and every other quality paper in the UK.

In 1996, James took his bold style of journalism into broadcasting, working first on Radio 4’s consumer programme Both you and Yours and then joining BBC1. In 1997 he became a presenter with the Channel 4 food series Feast. In December that year, he found out that beef around the bone concerned to remain banned, producing questions from MPs inside Commons on how he previously had found out before them. He did it by building the confidence of contacts, who very often became his friends for lifetime. The genuine identity of his informant, known internally with the BBC because “meat man”, have been taken to his grave.

James always brought his very own ethical code to journalism, is undoubtedly one occasion his editor’s insistence that she accept a free trip from an oil firm backfired badly. Rather then writing an article concerning the cool product on show, he filed bull crap about lavish free trips distorting the good news agenda in preference of wealthy companies.

Born in Ny, James first came to Britain for an educational exchange and fell in love with what he saw as greater social equality in england. After having a degree at Brown University in Rhode Island, he returned to Britain to read through history at Cambridge University. Create entered journalism at the Kent Messenger newspaper and attained the Guardian in 1979.

His father, Irvine, was obviously a cardiologist; his mother, Grace (nee Rentschler), who originated a negative Pennsylvanian Dutch background, taught him the necessity of good nutrition. His energy and commitment getting on the truth was rooted in childhood tragedy.

James’s sister, Pamela Jane, died after being vaccinated against polio when she was seven and he each year younger. If James we had not had a cold, he too could have been given a shot through the same faulty batch, its thought. Losing his only sibling would be a shattering blow that taught James that officials and companies cannot possibly be trusted with all the health and welfare of others.

James’s first book, Gluttons for Punishment, was created by Penguin in 1986 and has now a lot of the earliest and clearest warnings on antibiotic resistance. He analysed how intensive farming production required low-dose antibiotics to generally be continually fed to livestock, creating “evolutionary pressure” on bacteria to create super-strains.

At enough time his views were often brushed off as the “scare story”, yet more than 30 years later britain’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies is using the exact same concerns to warn associated with a “post-antibiotic apocalypse”. His book also raised the alarm on pesticide and hormone residues left within our food, themes that increasingly took over as the cornerstones of the organic food movement.

In Enslaved by Food (2013), James argued that our meal has grown to be our fourth addiction after tobacco, alcohol and drugs. He attacked the current food promote for so eagerly exploiting it. He was quoted saying that drug or booze addicts can avoid their vice, but food junkies still need to eat everyday. James showed a web link between excessive excess weight and income, with unskilled workers suffering obesity excess of the professional classes. In modern Britain, most of the cheapest foods are definitely the worst in your case, and eating healthily might be expensive.

In 2007, James moved from London to Worcester to live a life regarding his partner Penny Perrett, plus in 2010 he gained a PhD in food policy from Sussex University. His voluntary work helping youngsters with their reading in the local school and cooking with the homeless gave him just as much satisfaction as even his greatest journalistic scoops.

James continued to challenge accepted consensus, particularly if it came to food. A week before his death, he had become concerned any time a favorite label of meat pie was donated for the local food bank perhaps it is counted for a “meat product”. He argued that for the reason that pies contain lower than 20% meat (the label states 10% beef, 8% pork kidney), clients were receiving a poor deal plus the product ought to be re-categorised.

He is survived by Penny and two children, Hannah and Matthew, from his marriage to Susan Littledale, which led to divorce.

James Rentschler Erlichman, journalist, born 20 January 1949; died 6 December 2018


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