About the One Health Intellectual Exchange Series

This interdisciplinary course will introduce the concept of One Health as an increasingly important approach to a holistic understanding of the prevention of disease and the maintenance of both human and animal health. The list of topics will include a discussion of bidirectional impact of animal health on human health, the impact of earth’s changing ecology on health, issues of food and water security and preparedness, and the benefits of comparative medicine. Learning objectives include 1) to describe how different disciplines contribute to the practice of One Health, 2) to creatively design interdisciplinary interventions to improve Global Health using a One Health model, and 3) to interact with One Health-relevant professionals in the Triangle and beyond. The course aims to include students from Duke, UNC and NC State from diverse disciplines relevant to One Health, including: human medicine, veterinary medicine, environmental science, public health, global health, public policy, and others.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Farming for Food Safety

This past week Veterinary Record published Dr. Patrick Wall’s article “One Health and the food chain: maintaining safety in a globalized industry”[2] 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?

[1] http://www.ineffableisland.com/2010/06/eu-funded-moniqa-tracks-edible-safety.html
[2] http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/174/8/189.full

Authored by Chrissy Dideriksen

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