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Mother's milk and infant death in Britain, circa 1900-1940

Atkins, P.J.


P.J. Atkins


My contribution to this journal issue is to reconstruct the darker side of the most popular of infant foods. I will give a brief overview of contamination and disease in Britain's milk supply between 1880 and 1940, with particular reference to the impact upon infants. Not surprisingly, young children consumed a substantial proportion of market milk and, as a result, they seem to have suffered heavily from diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and summer diarrhoea. I will ask why these children were not wholly breast-fed and why relying upon artificial foods was such a risk. Also, I will give a preliminary report on my findings from data I have collected on the feeding of over three million infants, as recorded in the Medical Officer of Health Reports of 130 Local Authorities, mainly from England and Wales.


Atkins, P. (2003). Mother's milk and infant death in Britain, circa 1900-1940. Anthropology of food, 2,

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2003
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Publisher URL