JORDAN VALLEY, Israel -- Public Health Activity-Italy recently conducted a Commercial Sanitation Audit in collaboration with the Israeli Defense Force in Israel.

A Public Health Activity-Italy Veterinarian and a food inspection noncommissioned officer joined the Israeli Defense Force Central Command Veterinarian on a comprehensive public health sanitary food and audit of an Israeli infantry base which included the dining facility and barracks.

"To ensure Soldier readiness, it is important that we, U.S. Army veterinarians, take our responsibility in the field of food safety very serious," said Capt. Kiva Auten, Sigonella Branch Veterinary Services officer in charge. "Staff need to be properly trained on how to handle and store food to prevent foodborne illnesses."

Public Health Activity-Italy has previously worked with the Israeli Defense Force on food audits and joint trainings encompassing food safety and defense. The first collaboration was established at the International Military Veterinary Medical One Health Symposium last year.

The annual symposium provides an opportunity for Veterinary Corps Officers to engage with their international counterparts from more than 22 partner nations. During the symposium, Public Health Activity-Italy's leadership met with Maj. Lavie Haim, Deputy Head of Preventive Medicine of the Israeli Defense Force, and discussed the possibility of future collaborations.

"The collaboration with our U.S. allies is very important to us. We will continue this collaboration and build interoperability from strategic to tactical levels. The young officers who work together side by side today, will be the next leaders tomorrow." Haim said.

The engagement allowed Auten and food operations noncommissioned officer in charge Sgt. Ashley Patz, to share best practices and appreciate the unique public health challenges faced by the IDF in harsh environments first-hand.

"A lot of the challenges the Israeli Defense Forces face are similar to ours," Auten said. "For example, how do you properly preserve the quality of food while safely storing it in extremely high temperatures? These joint audits are a great way to exchange expertise and enhance our procedures to create a safer food supply and stronger Warfighters."

U.S. Army veterinarians ensure the strength of veterinary public health capabilities through veterinary medical and surgical care, food safety, and biomedical research and development.