New Zealand food safety and epidemiological expertise is being lent to a global coalition of researchers that have been awarded $8.8 million to help prevent the spread of zoonotic infectious diseases between animals and humans among livestock farmers in Tanzania.
Three Massey University researchers are involved in the Zoonoses in Emerging Livestock Systems programme, funded by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Department for International Development, which is designed to improve the health of poor farmers and their livestock through integrated, human, animal and environmental health research, an approach internationally referred to as ‘One Health’. Those involved are professor of food safety and veterinary public health Nigel French, senior lecturer in molecular epidemiology and veterinary public health Dr Jackie Benschop and Dr Gerard Prinsen, who has worked with development programmes in Africa for nearly 25 years.
They join University of Otago professor in global health John Crump to study how bacteria, such as salmonella and campylobacter, that are leading causes of septicaemia and diarrhoea in sub-Saharan countries, flow through meat pathways from livestock to retail meat, and to humans.
The safety of livestock products is an increasingly critical issue in Tanzania as food production is rapidly changing from meeting the needs of individuals or villages to market-driven systems using large-scale intensive production, centralised processing and wide-scale distribution.