Animal Health, Food Safety Link Studied

This week the Council for Agriculture Science and Technology will release a new report on a hot topic.

Published on: May 7, 2012

A team of experts took on the challenge to look at the issue of how animal health impacts food safety. Official release of the report on the topic will be made today in Washington, D.C. Alan Mathew, head of Purdue University's Department of Animal Sciences was a contributing author to the report titled "Healthy Animals Make Confident Consumers."

Mathew and five other members of a task force organized by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology were involved in the report. "This was our attempt to review the literature regarding animal health and food safety and determine what research needs to be conducted to determine the connection between the care and health of food animals and food safety," Mathew says in a release issued by Purdue.

Animal Health, Food Safety Link Studied
Animal Health, Food Safety Link Studied

The report cites challenges agriculture faces in meeting some consumer demands while maintaining animal health and food safety. Mathew noted that among the report topics is consideration of outdoor versus indoor livestock production and the potential effects on animal health and food safety. Mathew said some studies, for example, have shown differences in the levels of the bacteria Campylobacter and Salmonella, which cause foodborne illnesses in people, between outdoor and indoor production.

At the same time, the report notes, consumers want "virtually risk-free food" and expect farmers and processors to provide it.

You can download the free report here.

Other report co-authors are Scott Hurd, associate professor of veterinary science, Iowa State University, who was also the task force chair; Barbara Masters, a veterinarian and senior policy adviser with Olsson Frank Weeda law firm in Washington, D.C.; Steve Oliver, a professor of animal science at the University of Tennessee; Rod Preston, animal science professor emeritus at Texas Tech University; and Randall S. Singer, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.