211625 Swine Flu, CAFO's and the Salmonella peanut death recall: NAFTA, non-regulation and EPA self-regulation--More disasters on the wing?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:10 AM

Clyde L. Smith, MD, MPH, DTM&H , Depts of Medicine and Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
The April 2009 outbreak of swine flu seems to have started in the town closest to the biggest agribusiness hog factory farm in Mexico. This U.S. owned Concentrated Animal Feeding Organization (CAFO) was set up immediately after NAFTA went into effect. For years, townspeople complained of the stench, contamination of the water, and swarms of flies that infested the town. Influenza has been endemic in US and other hog CAFOs for years. Did the huge concentration of animals and manure provide the perfect natural laboratory for a new pathogen? Will it happen again? CAFOs are also major sources of air and water pollution and may be accelerating microbial resistance from over-use of anti-biotics. CAFOs in the US are supposed to be regulated by the EPA but the EPA guidance document calls for 95% “voluntary” regulation. In another outbreak, 8 died and over 500 were sickened from Salmonella infected peanut products. The manufacturer had a history of state regulation violations but no government action had been taken. Companies are not required to disclose lab test results and despite positive tests for Salmonella, the manufacturer distributed its products that led to the outbreak. Can we count on self-regulation by agribusiness to protect the public health?

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how the Swine Flu and processed peanut Salmonella outbreaks may be related to deregulation or so-called "self-regulation" 2. Explain the health hazards of concentrated animal feeding organizations (CAFOs) 3. Analyze the impact of inadequately regulated agribusiness on international public health

Keywords: Food Safety, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Founding President, Doctors for Global Health (DGH). He is the recipient of an APHA International Health award citing “his tireless advocacy to the right to health, community primary health care, social justice in health care and human dignity.”
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.