Food safety

Reducing risk of exposure to pathogens during slaughter and preparation of food

A variety of zoonotic and food-borne pathogens can be transmitted from infected animals to humans during handling, slaughtering, and preparing food in village and household settings, as well as in markets where live animals are sold. Although some of these pathogens, such as animal influenza viruses, are not transmissible to humans in appropriately prepared foods, people may be exposed during slaughter and preparation of infected animals.

There are many options for reducing exposure to these pathogens, including ensuring only healthy animals are slaughtered, limiting the number of people engaged in such activities, and limiting, as much as possible, close contacts between animals and humans in live animal markets.

WHO, in collaboration with animal health partners, assists Member States in identifying high-risk practices and in developing sustainable interventions adapted to each local situation to reduce the risk of transmission of these pathogens along the food chain.

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