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Healthy Animals, Healthy People, Safe Food!


Next time you are browsing the meat and dairy counters at your local supermarket, think for a moment what it takes to produce such a variety of safe, wholesome and fresh food. There’s a remarkable system involved that keeps animals healthy and protects the safety of our food supply through appropriate monitoring and inspection of eggs, meat and dairy products.

The foundation of this system is based on the science of livestock management – it all centres on the world’s farmers raising healthy animals. If we are to have the abundant, safe and healthy food of animal origin that consumers expect, the animals themselves have to be kept healthy, first and foremost.

That is why the animal health industry, including veterinarians and livestock farmers, uses proven management systems to keep animals healthy. Just like people, animals can get sick – and thanks to advances in animal healthcare, safe and effective medicines are available to treat them.

There are a variety of resources that address the various components of food safety, ranging from proper medicines use and residue avoidance to making sure our eggs, meat and dairy products are free of bacterial contamination. Regulators around the world set strict limits on levels at which traces of medicines in meat, milk, eggs and other foods derived from animals are harmless and have no impact on the consumer’s health. These are known as Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), and are legal thresholds that must be respected.

Below we set out a small selection of food safety standards:

• Codex Alimentarious uses a theme of, “Safe, good food for everyone” to outline international food standards: http://www.codexalimentarius.org

• DG SANCO is focused on making Europe’s citizens healthier, safer and more confident about their food: http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/index_en.htm and also the DG SANCO and OIE video, http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Media_Center/video/Vet2011/Food_Safety_EN.mov

• The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website positions the agency as the Gateway to Federal Food Safety: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/

• Safer Food, Better Business is the theme of the UK-based Food Standards Agency: http://www.food.gov.uk/

To better understand the links between animal health and food safety, you can read our brochure “Veterinary medicines and Food Safety”.

Download the brochure