Rightly, people expect the food that they eat to be safe. Clearly, the vast majority of food available in Europe, providing it has been prepared and handled in line with the required standards, will meet expectations. However, consumers have a right to know that the animals involved in their food product, be it for dairy or for meat, are disease free and well looked-after. Healthy animals help ensure healthy, safe food and help protect against food-borne diseases and zoonoses.
The animal health sector plays a vital role in ensuring that Europe’s farms and food producers produce safe food by keeping animals healthy. All animal medicines are strictly regulated, meaning that that their quality, safety – to animals as well as people – and efficacy is guaranteed. In addition, there are a range of safety factors in place to protect consumers. Where animals have been treated with medicines, regulatory bodies such as the European Medicines Agency and CODEX (a standardisation body supported by the OIE and WHO) set strict limits on the residual levels permitted to enter the food chain. These limits are strictly monitored, and AnimalhealthEurope works closely with the responsible bodies, including the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority, to address current and emerging food safety issues.
In addition, consumers are increasingly interested in the provenance of their food. They want to know where the dairy cattle for their cheese has been raised, the heritage of the meat on their plate and how the animals have been farmed. The strict monitoring that accompanies medicine use in animals means that the public can be confident about how they have been managed.