Healthy Animals Make Confident Consumers: Report

US - Many groups in society, including politicians, activists, scientists, and stakeholders, are advocating significant changes to livestock production practices.
calendar icon 8 May 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

According to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, these changes include modification of stocking densities, limitations on antimicrobial use, and requirements for outdoor "experiences." Such changes may affect animal health. Simultaneously, consumers are demanding virtually risk-free food, and they think food safety should be addressed on-farm as well as during processing. Understanding the complex relationship between animal health and food safety is critical.

Led by Task Force Chair Scott Hurd, the authors of this new CAST Commentary will

  1. Discuss the quantifiable impact animal health has on public health risk of foodborne illness from farm products;
  2. Identify the factors that impact animal health; and
  3. Highlight specific research needs.

The Commentary looks at the pressures to change livestock rearing methods, evidence to support the direct public health impact on human illness days, and food safety and inspection service regulations. The authors use indirect evidence, diagrams, and graphs to deliver their findings about the ways that healthy animals result in safer food.

The publication includes specific information from studies and numerous cited sources. The authors believe that "it should be clear that the health of the animals within the food animal production system impacts many aspects of the system far removed from the animals themselves.... Based on the research described here, it is evident that the national policy impacts of changing animal health can and should be modeled." The paper concludes that more research is needed in this crucial area of food safety.

Task Force Authors:

  • Scott Hurd (Chair), College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames
  • Barbara Masters, Olsson Frank Weeda Law Firm, Washington, D.C.
  • Alan Mathew, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Steve Oliver, Agricultural Research, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Rod Preston, Texas Tech University (Emeritus), Bellingham, Washington
  • Randall S. Singer, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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