Medicine: There Ought to Be a Law

Like much of the U.S. population at the turn of the century. Theodore Roosevelt suffered periodically from what was unhandily called cholera morbus−an acute inflammation of the digestive tract, with diarrhea, cramps and vomiting. He took "cholera" medicine with him on his hunting trips to Wyoming's Big Horns. But it was not until after T.R. became President that the prime cause of cholera morbus became known: spoiled food.

Spoiled food was a result of urbanization. In the 19th century U.S. farms and small towns, every housewife was an alert guardian of the freshness of the food she fed her family. But the...

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