[Those curious about the history of the Victorian Web (which began before the WWW in another hypermedia environment) might be interested to learn that this document was one of the very first contributed by someone outside Brown University.]
Mother's milk provides the infant with immunity to micro-organisms to which the mother has already been exposed and which the infant is likely to encounter, and modern research has shown that 'feeding infants with human milk reduces the incidence of gastro-intestinal infections,' infections which. . . were a major cause of infant mortality throughout the nineteenth century. Cow's milk, on the other hand, was perhaps the most widely adulterated food in Victorian Britain. In 1877 a quarter of all the milk examined by the Local Government Board was seriously adulterated; in 1882 one-fifth of the 20,000 milk analyses made by the 52 county and 172 borough analysts was adulterated. Not until 1894 was the Local Government Board able to report that adulterated milk accounted for less than ten per cent of all samples.
Wohl, Anthony S. Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian Britain. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1983. p. 21.
Last modified 1989