Pork meat sold in Vietnam has been found by researchers to commonly carry bacteria that could cause disease—but they also found that the risk of that meat sickening people is largely reduced due to the Vietnamese habit of buying very fresh meat and cooking it shortly thereafter. The research results indicate ways that the safety of pork meat can be even further improved in this fast-growing and -evolving market. The bottom line is that ensuring safe pork consumption in Vietnam is very important—and very doable.
The experience of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partner scientists in 2015–2016 unmistakably identifies the potential benefits to smallholder farmers and consumers of research into livestock and human health. Smallholder farmers could potentially save hundreds of millions of US dollars annually, following breakthroughs in the development of vaccines for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and Rift Valley fever, the latter posing a serious threat to human as well as animals. However, it was the participation in high-level fora and implementation strategies which are likely to deliver the rapid life changes for smallholder farmers on the ground.
The experiences of developed countries, which now have relatively safe food, is that command-and-control approaches to food safety, which rely mainly on inspection and punishment, are less effective than approaches in which stakeholders are empowered and encouraged to self-regulate, motivated by the realisation that this is more profitable in the long term.
Discussants at this event unpacked the tensions inherent between developing livestock markets to meet economic goals of the poor and meeting the nutritional needs of poor households raising livestock.
A first look at a revamped ILRI research program: Animal and Human Health
A useful summary of the future plans of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), based in Washington, DC, has been published. Two of the five flagships of this multi-institutional research program are led or co-led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi, Kenya. Future work of these two flagships is described below.
In October 2014, the Committee on Food Security requested the High-Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition to prepare a report on sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, including the role of livestock. An important planning meeting was held at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).