The safety of fresh produce is an important concern in the United States, especially in the wake of recent national foodborne illness outbreaks. The agricultural industry has implemented steps to enhance food safety along the entire farm-to-fork supply chain. This includes on-farm measures to exclude wildlife and to remove its habitat in and around fields. Farmers and others from across the United States have expressed concern about the ecological consequences and uncertain food safety benefits of such practices. This article reviews the scientific rationale behind management of wildlife and its habitat as part of good agriculture practices for enhancing food safety. The review concludes that, although pathogen prevalence has been documented in wildlife at overall low levels, the potential role that wildlife and its habitat play in pathogenic contamination remains unclear and is interwoven with pathogenic risk from human and domesticated animal sources. The characterization and disruption of potential links between livestock and wildlife is highlighted as a research priority. The findings underscore the importance of appropriate wildlife research and management in the context of food safety and to human–wildlife interactions in general, and they have implications wherever fresh produce is grown in the United States.
Langholz, Jeff A. and Jay-Russell, Michele T.
"Potential Role of Wildlife in Pathogenic Contamination of Fresh Produce,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 7
, Article 14.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol7/iss1/14