Plant-derived antimicrobials can be used for organic agriculture to maintain food safety


In the changing environment, when organic products are acquiring momentum across the globe, use of plant-derived antimicrobials for improving food safety in organic agriculture is an emerging area of research. Says Dr.Kumar Venkitanarayanan, Professor& Graduate Programs Chair, Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, USA. Professor Kumar, an alumni of College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Mannuthy recently presented a paper in the International workshop on Sustainable farming held at Kochi organized by Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Global innovation initiative partner Universities. United States Drug Administration recommends Production of food products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, including pesticides and antibiotics. United States, Germany and France are emerging as the largest markets for organic products. Poultry meat, organic eggs and organic milk are the most consumed organic animal products with the objective to protect humans, animals and the environment. Kumar added.
Food safety is emerging as the major component of sustainable/organic agricultural system. Healthy, safe, fresh and affordable food to feed a growing population is a concern. Assessment and reduction of risk at each level: core of assuring food safety and Hazards of food safety are some of the thrust areas. WHO lists the major concerns for food safety as Microbiological hazards like Salmonellosis and Chemical hazards like Mycotoxicosis; Says Dr.B.Sunil, Professor, Department of Veterinary Public Health at KVASU who presented a paper on One Health.
2.2 million people were killed annually worldwide due to salmonellosis. 48 million cases and 3000 deaths annually occurs in the US. So control of salmonellosis has got Public health and economic significance. Interventions for improving food safety are required at Pre-harvest, Post-harvest and Consumer level. Identification of treatments and practices that maintain and improve animal health and food safety without jeopardizing the organic standards has been recognized critical for the progress of the organic livestock industry.
Plant-Derived Antimicrobials (PDAs) like Phytophenolics were regarded as safe, food grade and bio degradable with Plant defense mechanism. It is very effective in reducing colonization and egg-borne transmission of Salmonella enteritidis. in Chickens. During feed supplementation these could be used to reduce egg-borne transmission and to improve microbiological safety of eggs. More over Salmonellosis in fresh produce emerge as13% of all food borne outbreaks. Kumar added.Good agricultural practices and Post-harvest treatments are the ways through which salmonella can be prevented. Controlling aflatoxicosis in chickens can also be prevented using PDAs. Fungal toxins in feed ingredients enter through Pre-harvest, post-harvest, transportation and Processing of feed ingredients. Phytochemicals could potentially be used for improving food safety in organic agriculture. Since they are natural and food-grade, Palatable, stable and cost effective. At a time when Kerala is planning to totally shift towards organic farming by 2016, use of plant derived antimicrobials will help to assure food safety and emerging health hazards; Says Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan, Director of Entrepreneurship of KVASU.



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