This past week Veterinary Record published Dr. Patrick Wall’s article “One Health and the food chain: maintaining safety in a globalized industry” discussing the relationship between herd and farm animals with human health. Dr. Wall argues that the current “farm to fork” consumer’s mantra is ‘naive’ and he presents an alternate ‘maze’-like image of the food chain where even a slice from the local pizzeria has been impacted by legislation as far away as China--a main distributed of vitamins for animal rations.
Dr. Wall further argues that the “final objective” for the agri-food sector should be human health and that we should look to veterinarians and plant and animal geneticists for future food health interventions. Though many of his ideas are quite reasonable--no one can argue that diseased animals should not enter the food chain, he seems to be precariously close to calling out the so-called organic and small farm industry whose popularity is spreading beyond the affluent. Even a diet consisting of only home-raised animals will be touched by the animal feed industry. On the one hand, more hands in the pot of production leaves more opportunity for contamination. On the other hand, careful involvement by veterinarians and scientists can lead to healthier a “final product”--for example, meat with naturally less saturated fat.
Is the future of food locally grown organics or carefully bred, monitored, and enhanced animals and plants?