CAST Commentary Released: The Direct Relationship between Animal Health and Food Safety Outcomes

May 11, 2012

Cast May commentary
The Council of Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) recently released a commentary paper on the direct relationship between animal health and food safety outcomes. It is an informative read for livestock producers and consumers. The following is from the paper's introduction and objectives: 

"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, productivity, and food quality. Simultaneously, many consumers are demanding virtually risk-free food at least cost, and they believe that food safety should be addressed on-farm as well as during processing. It is critical that decision makers understand the relationship between animal health and food safety, which is a complex association requiring careful evaluation of many variables.

The objectives of this paper are to (1) discuss the quantifiable impact animal health has on public health risk due to foodborne illness from meat, milk, eggs, and poultry; (2) identify the factors that impact animal health; and (3) highlight specific research needs. This paper will focus on direct and indirect impacts that animal health may have on public health."

The entire paper, in pdf format, is available for free at:

Make sure you select Online/Dowloadable in the drop-down to the right of the page on the link above.


By John M Harper
Author - Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor - Emeritus