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Friday Flashback: Milk!

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Jun 5, 2009 7:00PM

somerefreshingmilkperhaps060509.jpg We've been loving poking around the annals of Chicago's past via LexisNexis and enjoying seeing what goes on through the lens of history. Just for shits and giggles, we plugged in today's date from a hundred years back to see what the headline from a century-old news cycle. The hot topic from back then: Should Chicago require that milk be pasteurized?

From a story headlined "Cook Milk? Many Fight It" in the Chicago Tribune, June 5, 1909:

Representatives of the butter and cheese trades yesterday joined with the milk dealers in protesting against the requirement of the pasteurization of milk from cows not scientifically proved free from tuberculosis.

In a two hour session before the health department committee in the counic chamber - which was crowded with milkmen - arguments that the cooking process destroys food values, that it prevents the manufacture of butter and cheese, and that it was not a guarantee of purity, that the enforcement of the requirement is impossible, and that its enactment as a law would hurt local industries were hurled at the ordinance.

Throughout it all, Health Commissioner W.A. Evans smiled, and when speakers had concluded, gently extracted from them admissions that pasteurization is a necessary expedient until the tuberculin test of cows can be enforced generally.

This proves three things: that lobbyists have always had a voice in politics, that slow news days are nothing new, and further proof that Chicago fooling with rules about food extend far before the foie gras wars. Other headlines from June 5th, 1909: "Airship Station Opens Today!" If only they had cable news back then - and what a marvelous richness of hilarity we'll have a hundred years from now.

"Some Refreshing Milk, Perhaps?" by pantagrapher.