The role and functionality of Veterinary Services in food safety throughout the food chain.Rev Sci Tech. 2006 Aug; 25(2):837-48.RS
Both national Veterinary Services and international standard-setting organisations have now embraced risk assessment as an essential tool for achieving their goals. Veterinarians have key roles in all aspects of the control of food-borne hazards of animal origin, but additional specialist skills are necessary for assessing, managing and communicating risk. Further, the deployment of Veterinary Services must reflect the multi-functional aspects of public and animal health activities. A generic risk management framework provides a systematic process whereby food safety standards and other measures are chosen and implemented on the basis of knowledge of risk and evaluation of other factors relevant to protecting human health and promoting non-discriminatory trade practices. In this context, a number of countries are exploring new administrative and structural arrangements for competent authorities. The traditional focus of veterinary involvement in food safety has been in meat hygiene at the level of the slaughterhouse. While this role continues, the emerging 'risk-based' approach to food control requires increased involvement in other segments of the meat food chain, as well as other areas such as production of milk and fish. This more extensive role requires a wider skill base and establishment of effective networks with a different range of stakeholders.