Milk Safety in the 20th Century: Eradicating Brucellosis in the United States

Fellow in Focus
Thursday, March 28, 2019
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

The Spring 2019 Fellow in Focus Lecture will be presented by Rebecca Kaplan, our 2018–2020 Cain Postdoctoral Fellow.


Cow and dairy maid ad from 1945

Ad featured in the trade journal Food: Processing, Packing, Marketing, 1945. Science History Institute.

On February 11, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert for raw milk from a farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania. One person had contracted brucellosis from the farm's raw dairy products, and people in 19 states may have been exposed to the disease-causing bacterium Brucella. Although today most people do not know what brucellosis is, it was once considered a major foodborne and agricultural disease. Over the course of the 20th century the Department of Agriculture worked with state health officials, cattle owners, health professionals, and consumers to eradicate the disease in cattle to protect human lives and livelihoods.

Join us for the spring Fellow in Focus lecture, where our Cain Postdoctoral Fellow Rebecca Kaplan will use this recent case of brucellosis to examine the complex relationship between veterinary medicine, human medicine, agricultural economies, and politics.

Event Schedule

  • 6:00 p.m.
  • 7:00 p.m.

About the Speaker


Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan is a historian of medicine and public health. Her research interests include animal health and disease, One Health, and global health. While at the Science History Institute she will be exploring how pharmaceuticals are developed, marketed, and used across animal populations.

Rebecca holds a PhD in the history of health sciences from the University of California, San Francisco, and an MS in epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Before joining the Science History Institute, Rebecca was the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow at the Pulitzer Center, and she taught at UC Berkeley, Michigan State University, and UT Southwestern Medical School.

About the Series

The Rohm and Haas Fellow in Focus Lecture series gives the Institute’s scholars an opportunity to present their work to a broad audience interested in history, science, and culture. Fellow in Focus lectures are presented by the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry.

More Information

For more information about this event please contact Kelly Smith at 215.873.8254 or