Many groups in society, including politicians, activists, scientists, and stakeholders, are advocating significant changes to livestock production practices. 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 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (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.
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