Battling the Scourge of ‘Embalmed Milk’ – A Story From Our Past

Have you ever wondered how we arrived at our current dairy regulations? Well here's part of the story. From Deborah Blum and, here's how an obscure Indiana public health official pioneered a campaign against tainted dairy products at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 20th century, Indiana was widely hailed as a national leader in public health issues. This was almost entirely due to the work of two unusually outspoken scientists. One was Harvey Washington Wiley, a one-time chemistry professor at Purdue University who had become chief chemist at the federal Department of Agriculture and the country’s leading crusader for food safety. The other was John Newell Hurty, Indiana’s chief public health officer, a sharp-tongued, hygiene-focused — cleanliness “is godliness” — official who was relentlessly determined to reduce disease rates in his home state. Hurty began his career as a pharmacist, and was hired in 1873 by Col. Eli Lilly as chief chemist for a new drug manufacturing company the colonel was establishing in Indianapolis. In 1884, he became a professor of pharmacy at Purdue, where he developed an interest in public health that led him, in 1896, to become Indiana’s chief health officer. He recognized that many of the plagues of the time — from typhoid to dysentery — were spread by lack

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One thought on “Battling the Scourge of ‘Embalmed Milk’ – A Story From Our Past

  1. Fascinating and we sometimes forget that the “Good Ole Days” weren’t really all that good in many ways with the pollution, infection rates, poor sanitation etc.

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