Four institutes of Freie Universität Berlin’s Department of Veterinary Medicine have been grouped together by the United Nations and elevated to the status of a Reference Center for Veterinary Public Health. As the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced in Rome, the scientists at the new FAO Reference Center for Veterinary Public Health will focus on issues of healthy livestock and food production in developing countries and emerging economies. Their duties will include consulting, on-site analyses, and troubleshooting. The four participating institutes are the Institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior, the Postgraduate Studies in International Animal Health unit, the Institute of Food Hygiene, and the Institute of Meat Technology and Hygiene.
Among other things the veterinarians at Freie Universität will assist the authorities in the respective countries with lab tests, for example in investigating zoonotic pathogens (germs that can transmit diseases from animals to humans). Their many years of experience in the development and adaptation of regional control procedures for animals that provide food for humans will be beneficial for their work in the new reference center. They will also be involved in training scientists from developing and emerging countries in the necessary laboratory techniques.