In the field of food safety at the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics, we investigate the cost and benefit effects of interventions to increase the food safety of animal products along the food chain. The focus is on infectious diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans, so-called zoonoses. These have gained in importance worldwide in recent years. The reasons for this include increasing mobility and growing global trade. In addition to health damage, zoonoses can also have significant economic effects.
The focus of our analyses is (initially) on bacterial pathogens, such as Campylobacter, in poultry meat. Here we work closely with the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) for Meat Safety and Quality. We are investigating the costs of preventive interventions on farms and slaughterhouses that can reduce the risk of foodborne diseases. Examples of preventive interventions on farms include increased hygiene measures and the avoidance of pre-catch or splitting fattening procedures. At the slaughterhouse level, chemical decontamination, freezing of carcasses or UV irradiation can lead to a reduction of Campylobacter bacteria.
A few years ago, in a project (ZooGloW) coordinated by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) ), we investigated possible consumer reactions during food crises and communication policy options for action to manage and prevent crises. Furthermore, the possible costs and benefits of prevention measures in relation to zoonoses were estimated with the help of a simulation model.