Opaque whiteness: milk regulation and the introduction of food controls in Queensland

Colclough, Gillian (2009) Opaque whiteness: milk regulation and the introduction of food controls in Queensland. In: Q150 Conference: Journeys through Queensland History: Landscape, Place and Society , 3-4 Sep 2009, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.

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This paper maps the Queensland government’s early approaches to food controls. As comprehension of the role of microbes in disease grew in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many disease germs were found in foods likely to be consumed by small children. Unacceptable child mortality rates and connections between ideas of racial and public health motivated governments to introduce food safety standards. Racial concerns were particularly strong in Queensland where long-term white population growth seemed a vital issue. As such, the government moved swiftly after Federation to ratify regulations enforcing food-borne disease control measures intended to protect the health of its white working and middle classes. While referring to several disease concerns, this paper gives special attention to bovine tuberculosis because of the prominence of milk (deemed a racial food) in infant and child diets. Using oral references to dairying and household milk production it demonstrates the ways in which ordinary people handled milk products before the availability of domestic refrigeration. Combining these accounts with official records, it reveals the Queensland government’s efficiency in convincing manufacturers and public to adopt modern food handling techniques in times when racial fears reinforced the need to protect Queensland’s most vulnerable citizens.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Learning and Teaching Support Unit
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2011 07:41
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: milk-analysis; milk microbiology; women; health and hygiene; North Queensland
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18431

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