At the TAFS forum we believe that our engagement for animal food safety is important for the following reasons:
Global demand for animal-based products (meat, milk, eggs) will grow (due to population growth and increasing wealth). Animal-based proteins play an important (yet not absolutely necessary) part in human nutrition.
The production of safe animal proteins will get more complex as:
- Production grows faster than (already often insufficient) capacities of veterinary services.
- Cost pressure brings incentives for (legal and illegal) unsafe practices (e.g., growth promoters, melamine, meat and bone meal, mass animal rearing).
- Production factors such as land, feed, and water are becoming scarce (leading to more cost pressure) and environmentally contaminated, i.e. unsafe.
- Climatic change may allow diseases to spread into new territories through various mechanisms (e.g., spread of hospitable climate for disease vectors, adaptive change in livestock composition, negative impact of climate on society at large withdrawing resources from veterinary services). Much of the risk in these factors stems from the gaps in our scientific knowledge and comprehension.
- Increasing sectors of society no longer tolerate certain classical means of disease control such as mass culling for animal welfare reasons.
- Production chains are growing longer and more complex through international trade, opening new opportunities for safety failures, both accidental and deliberate, and making product traceability harder to achieve.
- Regulators increasingly hand over primary responsibility for food safety to producers and focus on monitoring and supervision, requiring new models of public-private collaboration to assume shared responsibilities.
Information on food production systems is getting increasingly complex and difficult to convey to consumers. A broadly supported, yet neutral forum could be ideally suited for the task.