Posted by George Tice | 03-Nov-2020
One Health principles don’t just help protect the health of poultry, writes Executive Director of Public Policy, George Tice, they also protect the health of consumers, our shared planet and trust in poultry.
Food safety has always been high on the consumer agenda, and any perceived risk can quickly lead to changes in purchasing behaviour.
Today, unfounded fears about poultry in India resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak have demonstrated how food safety not only needs to be managed across the food supply chain, but also understood by consumers to maintain their confidence.
The principles of the One Health approach – which states that the health of animals, humans and our shared environment are inextricably linked – can be of huge help to us here.
Let’s look at the control of Salmonella in the food chain as a practical example of One Health in practice. We all know salmonella can be a significant food safety problem in many different types of food, and that it affects the health and lives of millions of people around the world. In fact, it causes one third of foodborne outbreaks reported in the European Union1.
When people become sick with salmonella, many recover but some may require hospitalisation and in rare cases antibiotic treatment. Because of this, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an additional concern. Therefore, investments in comprehensive food safety programmes and particularly in poultry, preventative protocols that include vaccination, contribute very significantly to One Health.
But good animal health on-farm also requires some understanding by consumers of these One Health links, from farm to fork.
Providing public-facing education and awareness on the links between poultry, salmonella and human health, for example, helps farmers to continue investing in food safety through biosecurity, vaccines and all that is required to deliver intestinal health in poultry.
And when these investments are communicated back to consumers, it helps build their trust and continues to keep up the expectation on producers in turn.
As we recognise One Health Day on November 3, poultry producers must work together to communicate how they ensure food safety and deliver One Health. While it starts with the animal, it results in positive impacts for people and the planet too.
It is this fundamental belief uniting all Elanco employees – healthier animals are the key to solving some of the world’s most pressing issues. Coming together in our Elanco’s Healthy Purpose™ framework to advance the well-being of animals, people and the planet.
1 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/salmonella-most-common-cause-foodborne-outbreaks-european-union (accessed October 2020)