The goal of improving human health and nutrition through research in the livestock system inspires us to conduct research that can impact the lives of people living in low- and middle-income countries. Human growth and development are complex, multifactorial processes, and no single intervention can adequately address all underlying causes of impairment. We distinguish two areas of research related to animal-source foods (ASF).
1. Safe livestock production and food safety
Previous research addressed pathogens and toxic substances in human food and livestock feed, the costs of foodborne disease, risk assessments, and risk prevention and mitigation. Impaired childhood growth and development can be due to increased exposure to diarrhea-causing pathogens that originate from livestock reservoirs which are increasingly recognized as causative agents of Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED). Phase II research will seek to improve the safety of ASF from production to consumption. We emphasize a One Health approach to Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) that includes reducing exposure to livestock-borne pathogens. We pursue the following research areas:
2. Consumption, dietary diversity and adequacy
Diverse and healthy diets, which include nutrient-dense foods, particularly ASF, are often rare in vulnerable populations. Low consumption of ASF/nutrient-dense foods can lead to sub-optimal nutrition and health outcomes. Increasing consumption of ASF is more complicated than increasing production of ASF, as it may be additionally constrained by cost, value of ASF, markets, and cultural norms and behavior. Phase II research will pursue the following areas:
McKune, S., Lane, J., Flax, V., Ouma, E., Austin-Datta, R., Williams, R., Moore, E., Jacobs, M. and Turk, J. 2020. Making livestock research and programming more nutrition sensitive. Global Food Security, Volume 26, 100430. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2020.100430
McOmber, C., McNamara, K., Ryley, T.d., and McKune, S.L. 2021. Investigating the Conceptual Plurality of Empowerment through Community Concept Drawing: Case Studies from Senegal, Kenya, and Nepal. Sustainability 13, 3166. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063166
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (click for Home page) is part of Feed the Future
This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.