The role of veterinarians as experts in the hygiene and safety of foods of animal origin has been identified in the late 19th century, i.e. relatively recently in comparison with their functioning as practitioners in curative veterinary medicine. As assuring food hygiene and the implementation of safe technologies (public health associated) are related to animal production systems and rely on effective measures to protect animal health, there are obvious cross-relationships between this curricular element and basic topics such as anatomy, pathology, bacteriology, virology, pharmacology, animal husbandry, nutrition and the veterinary clinics.

More recently the assessment of risks and their successful management has become increasingly important. Hence, Food Hygiene is a veterinary discipline which builds upon many topics. The complexity and extent of the subject matter dictate that the fresh graduate can – in compliance with the ‘Bologna Declaration’ - only be provided with a starting competence (1st day skills) in Food Control during general undergraduate training, to be completed through ‘tracking’ (for a subpopulation of undergraduates), and postgraduate courses as well as on-the-job experience gained while being supervised by experienced official veterinarians.

First day skills comprise the scientific basis of the various tasks of the veterinarian in a control function (‘official veterinarian’) as stipulated in the European food legislation (Regulation EC 854/2004).

Consequently, the Institute has issued a textbook (in german) integrating various elements of animal production and Food Hygiene, the first edition of which has become available in May 2007.