This chapter introduces the global problem of food-borne disease and sets it in historical context, identifying Salmonella as the original food poisoning organism. It explains the choice and chronology of the British case study, sets out the public health issues past and present relating to Salmonella and food-borne disease, and discusses the roles and meanings of public health practice, epidemiology, bacteriology, and the laboratory in this story while emphasizing that human behaviours create public health problems and complicate their resolution. The historiographical context is discussed as it relates to public health administration, epidemiology, bacteriology and laboratories, veterinary medicine, knowledge networks, hygiene, food and farming practices, and the environment. The contents of the three parts of the book, issues of scientific nomenclature and the general historical approach, are set out.
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