Governments need to reassure consumers of food safety, ag groups say

An international coalition of agricultural and veterinary groups issued a letter urging governments to reassure consumers about the safety of agricultural goods during the pandemic.

“The precise origin of COVID-19 remains under investigation, but ongoing research continues to confirm that domestic livestock production is safe and has not played a role in the spread of COVID-19,” according to the letter, which was signed by 75 organizations and individuals. Signees include leaders from the International Feed Industry Federation, the World Veterinary Association and the International Poultry Council, among others.

They warned that “some are making unfounded claims that livestock and modern agriculture were somehow the source of the pandemic.

“This threatens to distract the global public health response at a time when animal agriculture can offer lessons for wildlife zoonosis management as part of the long-term pandemic preparedness.”

Authorities, intergovernmental groups and nongovernmental organizations should do three things, the letter says:

  • Reaffirm the safety of livestock production and remind consumers of the importance of veterinarians and animal nutrition.
  • Refute misinformation that purports a link between livestock and the spread of COVID-19.
  • Consult with livestock experts, including farmers and other stakeholders, to understand how to aid their efforts to feed communities.

“During this pandemic, livestock farms and the value chain are working tirelessly to ensure we have safe and affordable food to eat and drink,” the signees wrote. “It’s vital that society supports these efforts and tap into their knowledge to build a more resilient world in the future.”