The majority of our readers are, no doubt, aware that in this good city of New York, it has lately been discovered that for some time past our lacteal beverage has been of the variety called " swill;" and as this is not conducive to the bodily welfare of the inhabitants, the Board of Health set to work upon the milk question, intending, no doubt, to "reform it altogether." To do this more effectually, witnesdes were examined, investigations and official visits (of which due notice was given) were made ; and the sheds which had been reported dirty were fonnd dean; and such was the tenderness of the cowkeepers that the uiCiised cattle were sent into the country for their heahh immediately before the visit was made. The result of all this was a report, or rather two reports; one, that of the majority, containing analyses of swill milk by Drs. Doremus and Chilton, was in every way favorable to the swill milk; the other, the minority, not having $500 to pay for analyses, were obliged to content themselves with old analyses by Dr. Reed, and their report was opposed to swill mIlk. We have hitherto been silent On this subject, surrounded as it was by so many personalities, and so much excitement, but when our city officers—those appointed to guard the health of the city—sanction, with a few suggestions, the practices of the cowkeepers, we must protest. Because the analyses show the milk is good, that only pro ves that, chemically, it is pure ; but air, carrying with it the yellow fever, or while sweeping over a land laden with pestilence, is chemically and microscopically pure: You cannot weigh", measure, and detect the germ of disease, as you do the lime in chalk; and any reasonable person can at once see that the milk of any animal fed upon an unnatural diet must be unhealthy and dangerous. It seems to us that the Board of Health is composed of men whose sublime philanthropy outweighs even the duties of their office; and that whenever they are about to investigate a nuisance or inconvenience, they send a courier beforehand to announce their advent, ill order that the nuisance may be removed, and they will be spared the pain of catching a fellow-citizen at a disadvantage. This has evidently been the case with their swill milk investigation, for they have not observed things which are to be seen every day, and as a result they have lent their official name to the support of a system of stock and cow feeding which cannot be other than prejudicial to the welfare of the community. When will officials be appointed for their capabilities, and when will old ladies be refused admission to a Board of Health ?
This article was originally published with the title "Swill Milk—Wise Officials" in Scientific American 13, 44, 349 (July 1858)