Public health and food safety: a historical association.
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Public health and food safety: a historical association.

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      Public Health Rep
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      Since the initial passage in 1906 of the first Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, public health, as measured by mortality trends, has greatly improved. These acts have been amended several times, and other laws dealing with safety of foods and drinks have been enacted. Food- and beverage-transmitted infectious diseases that were so devastating after the Civil War have been controlled. Nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra are almost nonexistent. Mass episodes of poisoning of food by chemical contaminants that have plagued some other countries have not occurred in the United States. Other factors such as refrigeration and improved transportation have helped, but it is probable that food safety regulatory activities have contributed to the saving of the 1.8 million Americans who would die each year if the public health advances since 1900 had not been made. Effective use of information was a key factor in the improvement in public health. Now, as then, effective information systems are needed.
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