6 Pages

Part II: In searCH oF mILk introduction to Part ii

Chapter 4 then turns to expertise. the schrumpf case demonstrated the problem of uncertainty in scientific knowledge, an issue that continues today in animal biochemistry, as the recent Bse enquiry showed in great depth.2 My emphasis is upon two major themes. First, there is the intriguing prospect of struggles between rival groups within the circles of analytical chemistry at the end of the nineteenth century. this was partly a matter of personalities but methods of working were also at stake, and, ultimately, so was scientific authority under the law. second, we will discuss whether expertise should be seen as concentrated and hierarchical, or distributed. there is a strong case for the latter, and the logic of knowledge and power being everywhere is that we may need fundamentally to reassess our understanding of material quality. if the adulteration of foods can be seen as the

application of skill and entrepreneurial initiative, where does our moral judgement stand? it also reopens the debate as to whether the human modification of nature can ever successfully be subject to legal sanctions, because one person’s fraud is another person’s new product.3 to put this argument into a recent context, the British consumer now buys semi-skimmed milk with barely a thought about its naturalness; but one hundred years ago selling such a product under the designation of ‘milk’ would have contravened the sale of Milk regulations and attracted a punishment.