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Cows in field

Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use

This page covers outdoor animals. For information about indoor pest control, please visit our Postharvest Handling & Sanitation page.

Animals on farms pose food safety concerns because they can carry certain human pathogens (e.g., Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli) and can spread those pathogens directly to produce if they poop in fields, or indirectly through water sources. Native wildlife species alone are relatively unlikely to carry food-borne pathogens—domesticated animals are more likely to be carriers of food-borne pathogens, along with wildlife that share rangeland or water sources with livestock, or wildlife that congregate at landfills or feedlots. While domesticated animals can be controlled and kept out of produce fields, wildlife is more difficult to control, and complete exclusion from produce fields is often impossible.

FSMA and Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, & Land Use

The FSMA Produce Rule explicitly requires a few actions regarding wildlife and domesticated animals, but most of the information that Extension can offer on this topic is general recommendations on how to effectively and appropriately manage animals on your farm. Specific FSMA requirements are included in each of the sections below, along with more extensive background information and recommendations. All FSMA requirements in this section apply any time you are working outdoors or in a partially enclosed building (§112.81). For FSMA requirements for fully enclosed buildings, please see our Postharvest Handling & Sanitation page.
Because it is impossible to exclude all wildlife from produce fields and measures to achieve that exclusion would likely increase food safety risks, the aim of the FSMA regulations is to limit the access of wildlife and domesticated animals to fields and ensure that produce contaminated with animal excrement is not harvested.