At the end of the nineteenth century, the health and productivity of the livestock and poultry industries and the safety of foods of animal origin in the United States were severely compromised by infectious diseases. Bovine tuberculosis was a widespread and significant food safety hazard, with large numbers of human TB cases caused by contaminated milk. Texas fever, foot and mouth disease, brucellosis, glanders, trichinosis, and fowl plague challenged both animal and human health. Government intervention in veterinary public health made great strides during the first half of the twentieth century, however, and the U.S. food supply was proclaimed to be the safest in the world.
In the countries of the developing world, infectious diseases of animals and humans remain prevalent and pose serious threats to a globalized society, in which the health status of animals in one nation is directly linked to the health status of animal and human populations throughout the world. The problems and their solutions are immensely complex and difficult and extend well beyond the challenges of controlling infectious diseases. As a result, those involved in the food industry, and especially veterinarians, face the question, "Is it possible to feed a burgeoning world population while respecting the welfare of livestock and poultry, containing the spread of disease, and managing the Earth's natural resources?"
In Food Security in a Global Economy, contributors from across the globe and from a range of disciplines—veterinarians, public health officials, researchers, scholars, and industry experts—provide analysis and cutting-edge research. From the spread of avian influenza to the burgeoning problems associated with more affluent and urbanizing populations in the developing world, Food Security in a Global Economy provides a comprehensive overview of the issues that form the central challenge for veterinary medicine in the twenty-first century.
Gary Smith is Professor of Population Biology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
Alan M. Kelly is Gilbert S. Kahn Dean Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.