Trichinosis revisited: Scientific interventions in the assessment of meat and animals in Imperial Germany

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the interplay of science, meat, and animals through a reappraisal of the trichinosis outbreaks during a critical period in the development of a meat inspection regime in Imperial Germany. Taking a more domestic approach than previous treatments, it questions why solutions to the problems of this parasitic disease moved from the hands of physicians, who initially called for a model of private protection carried out in the home, and into the hands of veterinarians, who established a model of public inspection centered on abattoirs. Building on previous scholarship, this article reveals how contrasting frameworks of medical and veterinary expertise shaped the debate; explains why self-protection was abandoned in favor of greater state intervention; questions why public slaughterhouses initially struggled to gain favor and then won acceptance; demonstrates why concerns about animal rather than human health were crucial in the establishment of abattoirs; and reveals why the contrasting focus on pork, on the one hand, and pigs, on the other, conditioned measures of prevention. Linking humans and animals, urban and rural society, as well as consumers and producers, this article provides a holistic and complex analysis of how German meat and animal inspection developed in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-73
Number of pages25
JournalFood and Foodways
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 3


  • health
  • medicine
  • pig
  • pork
  • self-protection
  • slaughterhouse
  • trichinosis
  • veterinary medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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