Pre-harvest Food Safety as Integral Part of Quality Assurance Systems in the Pork Chain from "Stable to Table"
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The SafePork conference series began in 1996 to bring together international researchers, industry, and government agencies to discuss current Salmonella research and identify research needs pertaining to both pig and pork production. In subsequent years topics of research presented at these conferences expanded to include other chemical and biological hazards to pig and pork production.
The liberalization of the global trade with food, and the fact that the consumers in the industrialized countries are more and more demanding food to be not only economical, but also healthy, tasty, and safe, while at the same time respecting animal welfare and the environment, are the two major determinants of rather drastic changes occurring in agriculture throughout the world. The current quantity-oriented food production (agricultural bulk-commodity supply of agricultural raw products into the food production chain) that guarantees the nutrient supply for a nation is changing into an international quality-oriented food system (vertical supply chains for the production of identity preserved food). The main driver of this development is without doubt the never-ending chain of food safety break-downs: Salmonella Enteritidis in eggs, BSE in the UK, E. coli 0157:H7, the emergence of Salmonella Typhimurium DTI 04, the dioxin scandal in Belgium, and the BSE-scares in several continental European countries, especially in Germany. These events led to an increasing demand for transparency and traceability of the entire food production chain, including the agricultural primary production.