Animal Production Food Safety

Animal Production Food Safety


Foodborne diseases (FBD) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in humans worldwide. Animals play an important role in FBD and can be a source of pathogens in food products of animal origin (e.g. nontyphoidal salmonellosis) and also through faecal contamination of plant derived foods and water. Many of the pathogens responsible for FBD do not normally cause disease in animals. To minimise the risk of FBD, control measures should be considered at both the pre-harvest level and subsequent stages of the production-to consumption chain, i.e. ‘from farm to fork’. 

The relationship between the OIE and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is particularly important because risks to human health and food safety may arise at the farm and any subsequent stage in the food production continuum. Therefore, risk management must be tailored to detect and address risks at the appropriate stage(s). The OIE is responsible for setting standards in the domains of animal health and veterinary public health, including animal production food safety, to manage risks arising from the farm level through to primary processing, and Codex from primary processing through to consumption. The OIE and Codex collaborate closely in the development of standards relevant to the whole food production continuum, taking care to avoid gaps, duplications and contradictions. OIE Members strongly support this collaboration.

The OIE Animal Production Food Safety (APFS) Working Group

From 2002 until 2017, the OIE Animal Production Food Safety (APFS) Working Group functioned as a steering committee for the OIE’s work programme on standards to reduce food-borne risks to human health due to hazards arising during the animal production phase of the food chain. Membership included high level experts from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Codex Alimentarius (Codex), and internationally recognised experts in animal production food safety from around the globe. 

The Animal Production Food Safety Working Group was established in 2002 and provided significant advice to the OIE Director General and to the Terrestrial Commission, in particular through the development and updating of relevant chapters in the Terrestrial Code. The establishment of the Working Group also contributed to the development of a strong working relationship with Codex and the development of standards by the two organisations that, when implemented, ensure the production of safe food of animal origin. 

At the 85th OIE General Session in May 2017, the World Assembly of Delegates, through the adoption of Resolution No. 32, agreed not to renew the mandate of the OIE Animal Production Food Safety Working Group. The decision not to renew the mandate of the Working Group was made considering that the OIE’s work in animal production food safety is now well integrated into the work of the OIE.

The OIE is still committed to this important area of work which will continue to be addressed in other OIE forums, for example as part of the annual WHO, FAO, OIE Tripartite, through the ongoing work of the Terrestrial Commission, and the OIE continuing to actively engage in Codex fora in relation to the development of standards related to animal production food safety. 

The OIE is very grateful to all members of the Working Group for their significant contributions that have ensured that the role of veterinarians and Veterinary Services along the food production chain is well understood. The OIE wished to also acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Dr Stuart Slorach, who chaired this Working Group from 2006 until 2017.

Past reports and resolutions of the APFSWG will remain available at the tabs on the right.

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