Germ theory of disease and food hygiene

Germ theory of disease and food hygiene

James Bradley, Lecturer in History of Medicine/Life Science at University of Melbourne, Australia, looks at the legacy of Louis Pasteur:

"While the natural food movement insists sterilisation techniques destroy many nutritional benefits, there can be no doubt these same techniques have been instrumental in reducing morbidity and mortality from the consumption of bacteria-ridden food and drink. Of these, pasteurisation is one of the most important. It involves heating food or drink to a temperature where most harmful bacteria are eradicated. It’s particularly associated with milk, but is used across a wide range of products."

"So powerful was the argument provided by the germ theory of disease, that more often than not it was consumer choice that drove pasteurisation, rather than state legislation."

Worth remembering when you next encounter an arguments about the risks of infection posed by microbes in the food supply versus the negative impacts of pasteurisation upon the nutritional value of milk.

I note that the article states that in England and Wales, whether to buy pasteurised milk or not remains a matter of choice. Perhaps the cooler climate compared to Australia, reduces the build up of bacteria and the associated toxins in milk.


Photo: I guess this is what you call a spreading gum tree...

Last edited by

2 Replies

  • I know from experience that unpasteurised cheese and CLL do not sit well together. It took me a few years to realise the connection between bad guts and cheese made from untreated milk, I wish I'd known sooner.

  • Great place to go for a walk Neil.

    I used to love roaming the local hills ... you could touch the tranquility.

    Even sitting here in the ' quarantine ' of a Scottish Winter I'm drawn to walk through those trees .... though nowadays I'd have trouble making through the grass .... too bumpy !

    To all you photographers out there, how about taking me out for a walk .... somewhere nice and quiet .... I think Chris once showed a path that mirrored the old overgrown railway line that is just outside my house ... it led me to the way out of town and into the hills ... bliss.

    Stuck in his wee hoose


You may also like...