Great Achievements - Safer _ Healthier Foods (Lecture 9-10)

Great Achievements - Safer _ Healthier Foods (Lecture 9-10)...

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October 15, 1999 /48(40);905-913 Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Safer and Healthier Foods During the early 20th century, contaminated food, milk, and water caused many foodborne infections, including typhoid fever, tuberculosis, botulism, and scarlet fever. In 1906, Upton Sinclair described in his novel The Jungle the unwholesome working environment in the Chicago meat-packing industry and the unsanitary conditions under which food was produced. Public awareness dramatically increased and led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1). Once the sources and characteristics of foodborne diseases were identified--long before vaccines or antibiotics--they could be controlled by handwashing, sanitation, refrigeration, pasteurization, and pesticide application. Healthier animal care, feeding, and processing also improved food supply safety. In 1900, the incidence of typhoid fever was approximately 100 per 100,000 population; by 1920, it had decreased to 33.8, and by 1950, to 1.7 ( Figure 1 ). During the 1940s, studies of autopsied muscle samples showed that 16% of persons in the United States had trichinellosis; 300-400 cases were diagnosed every year, and 10-20 deaths occurred (2). Since then, the rate of infection has declined markedly; from 1991 through 1996, three deaths and an average of 38 cases per year were reported (3). Nutritional sciences also were in their infancy at the start of the century. Unknown was the concept that minerals and vitamins were necessary to prevent diseases caused by dietary deficiencies. Recurring nutritional deficiency diseases, including rickets, scurvy, beri-beri, and pellagra were thought to be infectious diseases. By 1900, biochemists and physiologists had identified protein, fat, and carbohydrates as the basic nutrients in food. By 1916, new data had led to the discovery that food contained vitamins, and the lack of "vital amines" could cause disease. These scientific discoveries and the resulting public health policies, such as food fortification programs, led to substantial reductions in nutritional deficiency diseases during the first half of the century. The focus of nutrition programs shifted in the second half of the century from disease prevention to control of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. Food Safety Perishable foods contain nutrients that pathogenic microorganisms require to reproduce. Bacteria such as Salmonella sp., Clostridium sp., and Staphylococcus sp. can multiply quickly to sufficient numbers to cause illness. Prompt refrigeration slows bacterial growth and keeps food fresh and edible. At the turn of the 20th century, consumers kept food fresh by placing it on a block of ice or, in cold weather, burying it in the yard or storing it on a window sill outside. During the 1920s, refrigerators with freezer compartments became available for household use. Another process that reduced the incidence of disease was invented by Louis Pasteur--pasteurization. Page 1 of 8
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PUBLIC HEA 232 taught by Professor Berger during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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Great Achievements - Safer _ Healthier Foods (Lecture 9-10)...

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