Veterinarians and Public Health: Food Control in the Professionalization of Veterinarians

Kari Tove Elvbakken


This article explores the role of food control in the professionalization of veterinarians in Norway. Veterinarians became engaged in public health through food control and market inspection, which were the responsibility of Norway’s city boards of health from the 1860s. Food inspection served a double purpose: to ensure honest trade and to maintain the safety of food. I argue that food control, which was associated with cities’ efforts to secure public health and order, was important to the legitimacy of the veterinarian profession. This activity is not what one today sees as a core practice of veterinarians, which is the prevention and curing of animal sickness. Exploring boundary activities at the fringes of a profession, and especially activity connected to the city and the state, may shed light on the more general sources of professional influence and legitimacy in the Norwegian profession state.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Kari Tove Elvbakken

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