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Food Safety Starts Before Slaughterhouses, Report Says

Cattle, poultry, and swine gather microorganisms that can lead to foodborne illnesses well before they reach the slaughterhouse, according to a new report called “Food Safety From Farm to Fork” by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

For producers, animal health is incredibly important morally and financially, but Pew has confirmed the value of clean food/water and regular vaccinations for livestock in combatting illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, etc.

“An effective food safety system includes measures to prevent contamination at every step along the meat and poultry supply chain. More can and should be done on farms and feedlots,” says Sandra Eskin, Pew’s director of the food safe project.

Within the report, Pew also makes recommendations to help control pathogens. Some of the suggestions include: government-funded field trials and research on herd management, incentives for preharvest food safety implementations, standards for livestock food and water safety, and better sharing of new research and information. 

About 2 million illnesses in the U.S. each year are because of contaminated meat and poultry leading to somewhat staggering medical costs, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. The organization also says potential contamination by salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli made up for about half of the meat and poultry products removed from the marketplace between 2005 and 2015.

“Collaboration among producers, researchers, and regulators is critical to ensure food safety hazards are minimized before the animals ever reach slaughter,” says Karin Hoelzer, the Pew food safe project’s veterinarian. 

For more information on this report, click here

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