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January 1: Pasteurization

January 1, 2015

rosenauMilton J. Rosenau, who established the standards for the pasteurization of milk and became a prominent epidemiologist at Harvard School of Medicine and at Chapel Hill, NC, was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1869. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1889, then served as a quarantine officer with the United States Marine Hospital Service, for which he directed the MHS Hygienic Laboratory, which he transformed into a bustling institution with several divisions. During his ten years at the MHS, he conducted medical research and wrote The Milk Question (1912) and Preventive Medicine and Hygiene (1913). In 1906, Rosenau established that low temperature and slow pasteurization killed pathogens without spoiling the taste of milk, which eliminated most public resistance to pasteurization. In 1913, Rosenau became a Harvard University Medical School professor and a co-founder of the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers. In 1936, he moved to the University of North Carolina to help establish its public health school, where he served as dean until he died in 1946.

“We find monuments erected to heroes who have won wars, but we find none commemorating anyone’s preventing a war. The same is true with epidemics.” —Milton J. Rosenau