The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) will present a new commentary on May 7 which will explore the relationship between animal health and food safety. This commentary will be available as a free download on the CAST website at

Led by task force chair Scott Hurd, the authors of the new CAST commentary will:

  • Discuss the quantifiable impact animal health has on public health risk of foodborne illness from farm products;
  • Identify the factors that impact animal health; and
  • Highlight specific research needs.

The commentary will look at the pressures to change livestock rearing methods, the public health impact on human illness, and food safety and inspection service regulations. The authors will use indirect evidence, diagrams, and graphs to deliver their findings about the ways that healthy animals result in safer food.

Understanding the complex relationship between animal health and food safety is critical since many groups in society, including politicians and activists are advocating significant changes to livestock production practices. These changes include limitations on antimicrobial use, which may affect animal health.

Simultaneously, consumers are demanding virtually risk-free food, and they think food safety should be addressed on-farm as well as during processing.

Task force authors include:

  • Scott Hurd (Chair), College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames
  • Barbara Masters, Olsson Frank Weeda Law Firm, Washington, D.C.
  • Alan Mathew, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Steve Oliver, Agricultural Research, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Rod Preston, Texas Tech University (Emeritus), Bellingham, Washington
  • Randall Singer, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.