Food Poisoning, Policy and Politics: Corned Beef and Typhoid in Britain in the 1960s

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $13.15
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $13.15   
  • New (3) from $51.68   
  • Used (4) from $13.15   


The problem of food poisoning and food-borne infections is currently one of vigorous debate, highlighted since the 1980s by numerous outbreaks and scares involving salmonella in lettuce and eggs, listeria in cheese, the links between vCJD and BSE, E.Coli 0157 in cooked meats, and foot and mouth disease. Yet, as this book shows, the various issues involved were important as early as 1963/4, when there were serious typhoid outbreaks in Harlow, South Shields, Bedford, and Aberdeen, traced to contaminated corned beef imported from Argentina. Based upon extensive research, using archives which have only recently become available, private papers, and interviews as well as secondary literature, the book analyses the course of the outbreak and looks at the responses of politicians, officials, health professionals, business interests, the media and the public. It also considers the difficult issue of the weighing of food safety against international trade and other business and economic interests; conflicts between government departments; rivalry between professionals such as doctors and veterinarians; the effects upon and influence of victims and local communities; and the conduct of and responses to an official enquiry. Overall, it draws out generic lessons for how such epidemics should be handled, adding an historical perspective to contemporary debates.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Fascinating, detailed and articulate. (...) A thoroughly researched and intensive study into a very overlooked episode in British public health. BULLETIN of the HISTORY of MEDICINE (US) (A) handsome book...thoroughly researched and carefully written book helpfully extends our understanding of food policy. MEDICAL HISTORYCarefully planned, clearly written, and meticulously researched, it offers an intriguing if unedifying insight into the operations, considerations, and negotiations extant in the corridors of British power. (...) Despite the authors' expressed hopes for the new British Food Standards Agency, their final sobering observation is of the potential similarities between 1964 and current issues of trade with China and the risks presented by avian influenza. THE JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIESThis well-constructed book is informative and extremely readable; it is an ideal tool for the undergraduate or postgraduate scholar studying food history or public health. Strongly recommended. RESEARCH CENTRE FOR THE HISTORY OF FOOD & DRINK
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843831389
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 7/15/2005
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David F. Smith is Lecturer in the History of Medicine at Aberdeen University, Scotland.

H. Lesley Diack is Research Fellow at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The earlier history of typhoid and food poisoning 1
2 The 1963 corned beef-associated typhoid outbreaks in Harlow, South Shields and Bedford 38
3 The Aberdeen typhoid outbreak 58
4 The medical officer of health, the media and the public in the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak 96
5 Ministers, officials and the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak 127
6 The Milne Committee of Enquiry 158
7 The recommendation on the inspection of overseas meat plants : the roles of existing policy agendas, and interdepartmental and inter-professional tensions 199
8 The disposal of suspect canned meat : the priority of politics over technical advice 220
9 British action to encourage improvements in Argentine meat hygiene, 1964 to 1969 253
10 Summary and conclusions, and food safety since 1964 287
App Recommendations of the Milne Committee 310
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)