chicken, food safety

[September 4, 2013, Kennett Square, PA] – Veterinarians at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center are involved in research that is critical to the safety of our food supply. During National Food Safety Month in September, these experts are available to speak about their important work, which links animal science to human well-being, advances food production and safety, and provides critical defense against pandemics.

“Veterinary medicine is the profession that stands between all of humanity and plague and famine,” said Joan C. Hendricks, VMD, PhD, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “We have a unique perspective for helping both the animal and human population by assuring our global food supply is safe, healthful, plentiful, nutritious, and affordable.”

National Food Safety Month was created in 1994 to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education.

The following experts are available for interviews. Please contact Louisa Shepard to make arrangements.  

Helen Aceto, VMD, PhD – Biosafety/Biosecurity

Assistant Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology, Director of Biosecurity

Dr. Aceto can address questions on food safety, especially concerning meat and milk and the unsafe nature of raw milk. She is also an expert in salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

Lisa Murphy, VMD – Toxicology

Assistant Professor of Toxicology

Dr. Murphy, director of the New Bolton Center toxicology laboratory, can address food safety issues related to chemicals such as pesticides, medications, and plant toxins that may affect animal foods. These substances could harm animals directly or pass into meat, milk, or eggs and potentially affect humans.

Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD – Swine Production and Health  

Associate Professor of Swine Production Medicine

Keeping our food production within the US is a major security issue.  However, growing societal concerns about animal agriculture have the potential to increase our farmers’ costs and make them less competitive in a global economy. The vexing problem is how to reshape American agriculture without putting US farmers out of business. Evolving views on animal welfare continue to challenge traditional agriculture. Veterinarians are ideal to solve these problems, and thus, Penn Vet has worked with farmers to develop innovative, cost-effective methods to address emerging societal concerns about how pregnant mother sows are housed.

Dr. Parsons is available to discuss his "Penn gestation" husbandry system, a crate-free way of caring for sows, which he has helped implement on both small and large farms across North America. The need for such loose sow housing is being driven, in part, by recent calls from over 60 major food retailers in the US to remove traditional, more restrictive practices from their supply chains. Dr. Parsons and his group work with farmers to design their barns and teach them how to manage loose-housed sows in ways that will be both socially acceptable and financially viable for the long term.

Ray Sweeney, VMD – Food Animal Medicine

Chief, Section of Medicine and Ophthalmology, Professor of Medicine

Dr. Sweeney can explain diseases transmitted to people from eating food products that come from dairy or beef cattle, including listeriosis, salmonellosis, and "Mad Cow" disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

About Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, seeing nearly 33,000 patients a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. In addition to treating about 6,000 patients annually, New Bolton Center includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

For more information, visit www.vet.upenn.edu.