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Silent VictoriesThe History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth Century America$
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John W. Ward and Christian Warren

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.001.0001

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Advances in Food Safety to Prevent Foodborne Diseases in the United States

Advances in Food Safety to Prevent Foodborne Diseases in the United States

(p.18) 2 Advances in Food Safety to Prevent Foodborne Diseases in the United States
Silent Victories

Robert V. Tauxe

Emilio J. Esteban

Oxford University Press

In the United States, the current food supply is broader and far safer than it was 100 years ago. At the start of the 20th century, contaminated foods frequently caused botulism, typhoid fever, septic sore throat, and trichinosis, diseases that now rarely occur. Along with drinking water treatment, sewage sanitation, and pasteurization, food-safety measures have become routine; these measures have been developed and initiated in response to specific public health threats and are continually evolving. The shift of the U.S. food supplies from small local farms to huge global agribusinesses has opened new niches for pathogens, as well as the potential for more systematic disease prevention. The methods public health authorities use to detect, investigate, and understand these public health threats have also advanced over the last century. This chapter, which addresses the progress achieved in the field of food safety, serves to support the continuing effort to make food safer.

Keywords:   public health, 20th century, history, food safety, food regulation, food supply, epidemics, pasteurization, Food and Drug Administration, germ theory

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