Plant Health and Its Effects on Food Safety
Although healthy plants are vital to human and animal health, plant health is often overlooked in the One Health literature. Plants provide over 80% of the food consumed by humans and are the primary source of nutrition for livestock. However, plant diseases and pests often threaten the availability and safety of plants for human and animal consumption. Global yield losses of important staple crops can range up to 30% and hundreds of billions of dollars in lost food production. To demonstrate the complex interrelationships between plants and public health, we present four case studies on plant health issues directly tied to food safety and/or security, and how a One Health approach influences the perception and mitigation of these issues. Plant pathogens affect food availability and consequently food security through reductions in yield and plant mortality as shown through the first case study of banana Xanthomonas wilt in East and Central Africa.