A memorandum on the Nutritive Value of Milk by the Advisory Committee on Nutrition appointed by the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland has now been published with a prefatory note by Sir Kingsley Wood and Sir Godfrey Collins. The Chairman of the Advisory Committee is Lord Luke, and the members include Professor Cathcart, Sir F. Gowland Hopkins, Professor Mellanby and Sir John Boyd Orr. Its terms of reference are “To inquire into the facts, quantitative and qualitative, in relation to the diet of the people and to report as to any changes herein which appear desirable in the light of modern advances in the knowledge of nutrition.” The memorandum explains the high value of milk as an article of food. Analysis of its composition shows that milk contains protein of high nutritive value, energy‐giving nutrients, the known essential vitamins and many mineral elements and apart from its chemical composition it derived value from other properties such as easy digestibility. Many investigations have been made which justify the belief that the general health of the community, and especially of children, would be improved, and the incidence of disease, including rickets, diminished, if the present consumption of liquid milk, averaging about 0.4 pint per head per day, could be increased to about a pint. Milk has few disadvantages as an article of diet. For infants, after breast‐feeding has ceased, it should form the bulk of the diet, with any necessary supplements to furnish iron and vitamins C and D. After infancy milk is not a complete food but a very important item in diet, particularly for children, who should be given one to two pints a day, and for expectant and nursing mothers, for whom about two pints a day are desirable. Other adults, who need milk especially for the sake of its calcium and animal protein, should have at least half a pint a day. Milk is unfortunately liable to contamination by disease‐producing bacteria and its heating by suitable methods such as pasteurisation has important advantages in making it safe for human consumption from this point of view. Moreover, when milk is treated by heat, little significant change is known to occur in its nutritive properties, and such deficiencies as may be caused can readily be made good. It is therefore reasonable to assume that raw milk incorporated in other cooked articles of diet, such as bread and puddings, retains most of its nutritional properties. The report also calls attention to the degrees of nutritive value possessed by various milk products, especially separated milk. The memorandum is entitled “The Nutritive Value of Milk” and can be obtained (price 3d.) direct from H.M. Stationery Office or through any bookseller.
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