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Veterinary Public Health
• Definition : "Veterinary Public Health is a component of public health activities devoted to the application of professional veterinary skills, knowledge and resources for the protection and improvement of human health." (WHO/FAO 1975)
Food animal production
• The raising of livestock for meat, milk, and eggs has been an integral part of the food production system. • The health of food producing animals is intrinsically linked to human health. That is to say, factors that affect food animal health will in turn, affect human health. • So , if you improve the health of animals, the health of the human population should not be compromised. • Furthermore, under globalization, with expanding domestic and international trade on animals and animal products, and with the changes in climate and environment, human society has been suffering from more maladies from the animal world.
• Food animal production have intensified and evolved over the past 50 years and consequently the numbers of animals have increased substantially. • The increase in production efficiency results from several factors including: • preventive medicine, • genetic selection, and • improved nutrition and management.
Veterinary medical care in food animals consists of the use of :
• Vaccines and prophylactic medications to prevent or minimize infections. • Antibiotics and parasiticides to treat active infection or to prevent disease onset. • Antibiotic drugs and hormones for production enhancement, growth promotion, and improved feed efficiency.
• A totally risk-free system of food production is an unreasonable and fundamentally unattainable. Three types of hazards have generally been associated with food, including meat: • Biological hazards include those hazards arising from the consumption of food containing pathogenic microorganisms derived from the animal itself or as a result of contamination from other sources ( intrinsic and extrinsic). • Chemical hazards include antibiotics, growth promotants, pesticides, herbicides, food additives, environmental contaminants, and chemicals naturally occurring in foods. • Physical hazards include those items or objects that are hard or sharp and may cause injury, such as metal, wood or bone splinters and glass
Veterinarians are involved in food safety at various levels:
• Regulatory medicine veterinarians :
- control or eliminate certain diseases and protecting the public from animal diseases that can affect people. - prevent foreign diseases from entering the country by enforcing quarantines and inspecting animals. - supervise interstate shipments of animals. - test for the presence of diseases, and manage campaigns to prevent and eradicate diseases that threaten animal and human health such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and rabies.
• Veterinarians who are livestock inspectors: - check animals for transmissible disease, - advise owners on treatment, - and may quarantine animals.
• Veterinarians who are, meat, poultry, or egg product inspectors: - examine slaughtering and processing plants. - check live animals and carcasses for disease. - enforce government regulations regarding food purity and sanitation.
• Their prime purpose of an inspection program is to ensure that meat is safe, wholesome, and suitable for human consumption using the following criteria: • It will not cause food-borne infection or intoxication when properly handled and prepared with respect to the intended use. • It does not contain residues in excess of established limits • It is free of obvious contamination • It is free of defects that are recognized as objectionable to consumers • It has been produced under adequate hygiene control