Assistance of Veterinary Public Health Practicum
Friday, 20 June 2008
Food products of animal origin (milk, meat, egg) are highly nutritious foods. Unfortunately foods of animal origin are also perishable and potentially hazardous. Therefore appropriate handling is crucial to prevent the food from transforming into something that is hazardous for humans. In food safety there is a term called ‘safe from farm to table’, this concept institutes food safety starting from production (farm) until the product is ready to be consumed.
Food safety, which is also regulated by law, has not been correctly practiced until now. This is apparent from the occurrence of many cases related to safety of food from animal origin such as glonggongan meat (meat from cattle fed with large amounts of water), selling of dead chicken carcasses, poor hygiene and sanitation in handling of poultry products at slaughterhouses, and use of formalin in animal products.
Safety of food from animal origin in the world of veterinary medicine is included in the scope of veterinary public health. Veterinary public health addresses all issues related to animal and animal products that directly or indirectly affect human health. The role of veterinary public health has become so essential in creating healthy Indonesian citizens. The government is obliged to guarantee food safety because it is a public right and one of the many professions with the competence to ensure food safety is veterinarians. Therefore, subjects on food safety must be given to veterinary school students so they would have the capability in maintaining safety of food from animal origin.
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Bogor Agricultural University enriches its students with subjects on food safety (veterinary public health). A practicum is conducted once every week for the whole semester for this subject. The practicum focuses on food hygiene of animal products such as meat, milk, eggs and its derivatives. Activities done in the practicum includes tests for quality control of animal products and microbiological assessment.
Center for Indonesian Veterinary Analytical Studies (CIVAS) as a non-government organization focused on animal health and food safety has a moral responsibility to educate the public, including students, about safety of food from animal origin. Thus in this occasion, CIVAS has participated in providing assistance for practicum of the veterinary public health subject held by the Department of Animal Disease Science and Veterinary Public Health of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Bogor Agricultural University. Every week, two people from CIVAS are sent to assist veterinary students in conducting food hygiene practicum activities. Hopefully through this activity, CIVAS has given a true contribution to the education of students, which in the end could become veterinarians with high skills and competence in veterinary public health.