The “one health”-concept and organic production of vegetables and fruits

B. W. Alsanius, E. Von Essen, R. Hartmann, I. Vagsholm, O. Doyle, U. Schmutz, H. Stützel, A. Fricke, M. Dorais

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Abstract

Although the organic production concept is characterised by an efficient and environmentally sound production that is based on a few off-farm inputs as well as recycling organically grown products. Organic products are often perceived as safer and more promotive to consumers’ health as compared to products from conventional or integrated production systems. However, from a hygienic point of view, animal husbandry and plant crop production can share a larger contact interface in organic farming than in conventional or integrated production systems due to a higher usage of animal waste products and composts which are mainly used for soil health and fertility purposes. Furthermore, animals may also play an integral part in crop rotation/management (i.e., pasture) in organic horticulture. However, there are also organic systems which exclude any livestock inputs (vegan organic). This paper assesses the organic production of fruits and vegetables in light of the “one health”concept. The “one health”-concept encompasses human medicine, veterinary medicine and husbandry science with zoonoses as the linking element. However, this concept does not consider plant foods as a potential health hazard. In light of the “one health”concept, the organic production of fruits and vegetables, in particular for products that are consumed raw or after minimal processing, is a hotspot for the transmission of fecal pathogens and completes the pathogens’ transmission cycle between animals and humans and/or humans and humans. This review focuses on four critical routes of transmission (i) soil and soil fertility management, ii) irrigation water, iii) presence of livestock and wildlife, iv) humans) and discusses the measures (risk assessment, hurdle concept, guidelines and risk based inspection regimes) to be taken for the organic (and conventional with livestock inputs) production of safe fruits and vegetables. We concluded that a mixture of measures is available to manage risks within the “one health”-concept and this includes a choice for consumers to source more vegan organic products that are produced without any animal inputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalActa Horticulturae
Volume1242
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Foodborne illnesses
  • Guidelines
  • Hygiene
  • Intervention strategies
  • Irrigation water
  • Listeria spp
  • Microbial activity
  • Organic manure
  • Salmonella spp
  • Shigatoxigenic E. coli (STEC)
  • Soil management
  • Stock-free
  • Vegan organic
  • Workers’ health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture

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