In a world with a rapidly growing and urbanising population, we become more and more aware of the disconnect with where our food comes from, how we get it, and how it is safe for us to eat it.
Today, many are unaware of the importance of farms and the vital contribution sustainable agriculture makes to put food on the table that is safe. A fundamental part of this is ensuring that farm animals are healthy.
The world animal health organisation estimates that globally 20 per cent of food production is lost due to disease in animals while 60 per cent of all infectious diseases in people have their origin in animals.
It is therefore very clear that to meet the critical challenges ahead such as feeding a rapidly growing population, the animal health industry needs a more efficient veterinary medicines regulatory framework to help stimulate innovation and increase product availability across all of Europe's markets.
Animal medicines are essential to Europe's farmers. They help them to maintain and restore high levels of health and welfare in animals; they allow animals to produce high quality meat and animal-derived products in an efficient and sustainable manner while minimising environmental impact and let farmers compete on an international level.
Europe benefits from the highest food safety standards and is the largest exporter of agri-food in the world, valued at over €120bn (in 2013).
The European food safety authority (EFSA) highlights that Europe enjoys one of the best food safety systems in the world, supported by comprehensive scientific advice along the food chain, from farm to fork.
IFAH-Europe is a member of EFSA's stakeholder platform and a keen contributor to the ongoing discussions in this regard.
At our annual conference on 11 June 2015 at the Hotel Bloom, we will be looking at exactly these topics: the animal health industry's contribution to a sustainable future.
A wide range of animal health and agri-food chain experts from across Europe, as well as European and national policymakers and other experts will discuss how to develop a common understanding of Europe's role in the global food security challenge, affordability of food, sustainable animal production and the role of animal health as well as the importance of innovation in animal production and consumer acceptance (more information on the conference: http://www.ifaheurope.org/ifah-media/events/236-ie-anconf15.html).
To bring home this point even more, and on a more global setting, we at IFAH-Europe will be at EXPO Milan on 29 June where the agri-food chain coalition (AFCC) is hosting a panel debate on "Innovation: how can it fuel a strong and competitive EU agri-food sector?" at the EU Pavilion as part of Food and Drink Week.
The AFCC is a joint initiative of 11 leading industry associations across the agri-food chain calling for sustainable, solution-oriented and innovative policies which benefit Europe and beyond.
Also in attendance will be European commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan who will deliver the keynote address (more information on the event: http://www.ifaheurope.org/ifah-media/events/249-innovation-%E2%80%93-how-can-it-fuel-a-strong-competitive-eu-agri-food-sector.html)