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Safeguard the informal food market. Part two: meat

Safeguarding the informal food market helps to safeguard health and society. Watch Bassirou Bonfoh demonstrate this with the example of meat.
Now, let us explore a second case study, let us turn to meat.
Animals that seem healthy before slaughter may present many lesions from disease when their carcasses are inspected. Some of these lesions may be signs of diseases that are transmitted to humans. Other lesions may just not be nice to watch. But we find regularly livers or lungs with a lot of nodules that are a sign of tuberculosis.
Meat inspection is done to protect the consumers. In many areas of Africa, meat is well-cooked, and this may destroy all microbes. Still, risk exists during preparation, cutting and cooking. Women who prepare food may contaminate children inadvertently as they handle them.
In pastoral communities, only small animals are slaughtered for consumption during festivals or sacrifices. Small animals will be equivalent to savings accounts used to cover special expenses. On the other hand, healthy, large animals like cows or camels are preserved us capital. In this sense, they are treated like a deposit account. This means that only sick, old, and non-reproductive animals are sold to the market for slaughter. This is why many lesions are visible. To confiscate the lesioned meat, reduces the income of people in the chain. But it’s paramount that meat inspectors cut the transmission. Otherwise, the disease cycle will continue. In addition, slaughtering should respect certain religious and cultural norms that promote animal welfare. This also has health and hygiene implication.
We find many parasites in the organs. This is a fasciola, a liver fluke.
And this cyst is a tape worm larva surrounded with liquid. Butchers always think that this is the dog’s share, as it’s always thrown to the dogs. The reality is that this practise maintains the cycle of parasites. When a survey was conducted at the Horn of Africa,
one consumer told the researcher: ‘a man without a tapeworm is not really a man’. In those regions, meat is often consumed raw. And the notorious answer shows how serious and widespread hydatid infection can be. Disease awareness and the protection of consumers in the abattoirs are important. We hardly find vegetarians in Africa. Meat is the main product prepared during festivals, ceremonies, and for hosting strangers. It is common for farmers to be frustrated when a vegetarian refuses this precious gift. Meat inspection does not always comply with norm in most of the pastoral settings due to lack of technology, water, energy and awareness of the people. Clandestine slaughter occur as well as slaughter at home during sacrifices, inspection being absent.
Since there are no possibilities to store it, meat is processed, sold, and consumed the same day. Many hazards occur in the animal source food. They may induce alteration with economic loss. But not all of them turn into risk for humans. Collaboration between disciplines and sectors allow to generate data for risk analysis at affordable cost for resource-limited countries. It is important that many stakeholders are involved. This helps to identify the real problems and perceived risks. It has also helped to promote changes in practise. Very simple messages have a big impact on health protection. As you see, there are many questions arising around these issues.
How would you perceive the risk of food, be it meat, milk, or milk products coming from animals? Where do you perceive social or economic barriers in promoting hygiene? What do you think are adapted interventions in the resource-poor settings to make products more competitive in terms of quality and price? Maybe you will reflect upon these questions. Then please tell us some of your stories about eating, digestion, and well-being with animal products. We look forward to hear your experiences.

The last step addressed the example of milk to show that cultural and economic aspects have to be considered, when applying the One Health approach. In this video you discover that the same problems occur when dealing with meat.

Meat is the main product in festivals and ceremonies. Meat inspectors try to protect consumers, but often clandestine slaughter happens when inspectors are absent. Hazards are transmitted to people and this maintains the cycle of parasites.

Watch Bassirou Bonfoh talk about the involvement of stakeholders and the communication between sectors to indicate problems and to find solutions in a genuine One Health approach.

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One Health: Connecting Humans, Animals and the Environment

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