Dr. Walcott Favors State Inspection of Milk Farms to Avert Such Deadly Danger to Consumers.
Fri, Aug 17, 1900 – 2 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)
Thus far no deaths have resulted from the typhoid epidemic in Norwood, which was brought about by the carelessness of a farmer and a milk dealer, and in consequence of which 35 or 40 persons are seriously ill.
The state board of health is much wrought up over the occurrence, but can do nothing more than it has already done, as the matter is now entirely in the hands of the local board of health.
The epidemic has caused a good deal of discussion in medical circles, and Dr Walcott, chairman of the state board of health, favors the establishment of a state corps of inspectors, whose duty it shall be to make frequent inspections of milk farms and immediately call the attention of the local board of health to any unsanitary conditions which they may discover.
Dr Walcott’s idea, in brief, is to have the governor empowered to appoint a certain number of district inspectors, say 30, who shall be under the control of the state board of health, and who shall be persons of unquestioned medical standing.
It is suggested that a district might embrace one city or a half dozen towns. The power to act would remain with the local board of health, for it is not proposed to override the authority of these.
“At the present time,’’ said Dr Walcott. “we are notified of a condition of affairs in a town after it has reached a point that either infection or contagion has absolutely reached the danger line.
“This is in too many cases the result of ignorance.
“I have talked it all over with a number of governors In their turn, and each has felt as I have, that some inspection is absolutely necessary.
“The time has come for the people to act for their own protection.”
The present case has been under investigation by Dr Morse of the state board, and he said today that no further report had been received from the seat of the trouble.
This Is the second visitation of the epidemic that Norwood has recently suffered from, both of them, apparently, from the same cause—a well on the farm of milk producer William Bateman.
The officials of the state board believe that the germs from this well were disseminated by reason of the cans of milk being placed in the well to cool.
The affected milk was distributed in the teams of Kent S. Fulton, a local dealer, who gets his supplies from a number of farmers. Last January 10 cases of typhoid occurred in the town, and the first case in the second epidemic was reported July 10.
Dr Morse visited the scene July 27, and suggested to the dealer that he cease taking milk from Bateman, and that he thoroughly disinfect all of his cans. When he went back a week later he found that the milk dealer had done neither up to that time.
The state board of health people believe that some one ought to be held responsible for such a state of things, especially when one lesson passes unheeded and it is likely that the Norwood incident will lead to a much more rigorous inspection of milk farms than has heretofore been in vogue.