Open Access Grey Literature

Risk Assessment of the Active Plant Protection Product Ingredient MCPA (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid): AOEL and ADI Determination

Asbjørn Magne Nilsen, Hubert Dirven, Jan Ludvig Lyche, Marit Låg, Katrine Borgå, Ole Martin Eklo, Merete Grung, Line Emilie Sverdrup, Torsten Källqvist

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 38-39
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130126

MCPA (4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid) is the active ingredient in several registered herbicides. VKM concluded in 2006 that the effects observed in experiments with dogs were of little relevance to humans, and an AOEL value of 0.036 mg/kg bw/day was proposed, based on renal effects in a 90-day study in rats. The manufacturer is of the opinion that AOEL should be set to 0.11 mg/kg bw/day, and ADI to 0.05 mg/kg bw/day, based on the view that since a 90-day and 2-year study in rats were conducted in the same lab using the same rat strain, it is reasonable to eliminate effects which are not reproduced in both sets of data. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has therefore requested VKM’s Panel for Plant Protection Products for an opinion on the determination of NOAEL values based on the 90-day and 2-year studies in rats, and consider if it is acceptable to use the manufacturer's approach for an overall consideration of the submitted studies. The Panel has discussed the findings in the two rat studies and concluded that it is not considered acceptable that individual studies separated by several years, in this case studies performed in 1985 and 1988, are taken together and data not reproduced in both sets eliminated. The Panel is still of the opinion that both AOEL and ADI for MCPA should be set to 0.036 mg/kg bw/day based on a NOAEL of 3.6 mg/kg bw/day (50 ppm) from assessment of the renal effects in the 90-day study in rats. The manufacturer has also requested a reconsideration of the present values for dermal absorption which was set by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority during the administrative review of the product MCPA 750 Liquid in 2013. VKM’s Panel on Plant Protection Products supports the conclusion of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority concerning the determination of values for dermal absorption of MCPA. This includes the consideration of remaining substance in skin after washing as part of the absorbed dose in the in vitro studies, and the use of the same experimental time period in the in vitro and in vivo experiments as a basis for the so-called “Triple-pack-approach” for determination of human dermal absorption.

Open Access Grey Literature

The Risk of Development of Antimicrobial Resistance with the Use of Coccidiostats in Poultry Diets

Live Lingaas Nesse, Anne Marie Bakke, Trine Eggen, Kristian Hoel, Magne Kaldhusdal, Einar Ringø, Siamak Pour Yazdankhah, Erik-Jan Lock, Rolf Erik Olsen, Robin Ørnsrud, Åshild Krogdahl

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 40-43
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130127

Background:

 

Antimicrobials revolutionized human as well as animal medicine in the 20th century by providing effective treatment of diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms. However, microorganisms have the ability to develop antimicrobial resistant strains. This occurs when microorganisms mutate or when resistance genes are exchanged between them. The use of antimicrobial drugs accelerates the emergence of drug-resistant strains. A priority is to safeguard the efficacy of antimicrobial drugs we depend on for treatment of infectious diseases in humans. Use of antimicrobials in food animals can create a source of antimicrobial resistant bacteria that can spread to humans both by direct contact and through the food supply.

 

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease in animals caused by unicellular parasites called coccidia. As most of the damage of this infection is done by the time signs of the disease are widespread, preventive measures are preferred. Coccidiostats are animal feed additives used to prevent coccidiosis by inhibiting or killing coccidia. There are two major groups of coccidiostats; ionophores and non-ionophores, the latter also referred to as “non-ionophore coccidiostats” (but also called chemicals). One main difference between these groups is that ionophores also inhibit or kill some bacterial species, whereas non-ionophore coccidiostats do not. Consequently, some bacterial infections may also be controlled by ionophore coccidiostats, e.g. the poultry disease necrotic enteritis caused by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens).

 

Eleven different coccidiostats have been authorised for use in the EU, both ionophores and non-ionophore coccidiostats. Norway has been exempted from the EEA Agreement in this field and has approved only five; all ionophores. The two ionophore coccidiostats currently used in Norway are narasin for broilers and monensin for turkeys.

 

Resistance to coccidiostats in coccidia and bacteria:

 

Development of resistance in coccidia to all eleven coccidiostats has been described in the scientific literature, but the prevalence of resistance is unknown. Cross-resistance between various ionophore coccidiostats has also been shown, i.e. development of resistance to one ionophore may also render the coccidia resistant to another ionophore. Various rotation and shuttle programmes with exchange between ionophores and non-ionophore coccidiostats are believed to prevent or delay development of resistance in coccidia. In Norway, such programmes will have little effect as long as only ionophores and not non-ionophore coccidiostats are approved for use.

 

Development of resistance against ionophores has also been observed in bacteria. In the Norwegian surveillance programme NORM-VET during the years 2002 - 2013, between 50 - 80% of the tested flocks had narasin resistant faecal enterococci, which are bacteria that are part of the normal intestinal microbiota. However, the pathogenic bacterium C. perfringens has not been shown to be resistant against any ionophore. Cross-resistance in bacteria to more than one ionophore has been observed. In addition, a limited amount of data may indicate an association between narasin and resistance to the antibacterials bacitracin and vancomycin. As these are antibacterials used for treatment in humans, more research should be performed to validate these results. Non-ionophore coccidiostats, which do not have antibacterial effect, are not approved in Norway. If such coccidiostats were approved in Norway, coccidiostats with negligible probability of inducing resistance in bacteria would be available.

 

Human exposure to resistant bacteria and coccidiostats:

 

Humans may theoretically be exposed to coccidiostat resistant bacteria from poultry in a number of ways, e.g. by handling live animals and their manure, through slaughtering and processing, and by preparation and consumption of poultry meat. Furthermore, bacteria of the human normal microbiota, which cover all skin and mucosal surfaces, might develop resistance if they are exposed to coccidiostats.

 

In this assessment, the probabilities of exposure are classified as: Negligible (extremely low), Low (possible, but not likely), Medium (likely), High (almost certain) and Not assessable.

 

The Panel has estimated the following probabilities of human exposure:

 

  • Handling manure from coccidiostat fed poultry without sufficient risk-reducing measures entails a high probability of exposure to both resistant bacteria and coccidiostats. Without proper protection, the probability of exposure to coccidiostats is also high when handling coccidiostat premixes and feeds containing coccidiostats without proper protection measures. Various treatments, e.g. composting, of the manure may reduce the probability.
  • The probability of exposure to resistant bacteria is medium for workers handling carcasses and raw meat on a daily basis if risk-reducing measures are not applied, whereas the probability of exposure to coccidiostats is negligible.
  • For consumers, the probability of exposure to coccidiostats is negligible. The probability for exposure to resistant bacteria is also negligible in heat treated food since heat treatment kills the bacteria. The probability of exposure to coccidiostat resistant bacteria is low to medium if handling raw meat without proper hygienic procedures, because raw meat may harbour resistant bacteria.

 

Risk-reducing measures will lower the probabilities.

 

However, little is known concerning the consequences of human exposure to coccidiostat resistant bacteria or to to coccidiostats. There is little information in scientific literature indicating whether such bacteria in fact will colonize the human body, either transitionally or permanently. Furthermore, there is no information on the probability of exchange of resistance genes from transferred bacteria to bacteria of the human natural microbiota or to pathogens. Likewise, the Panel has no information on the level of exposure, e.g. the amount of coccidiostats and their metabolites, or the time period, necessary for the various bacteria to give rise to resistant variants. As coccidiostats are not used to treat infectious diseases in humans, concern of resistance is related to possible cross- or co-resistance with antibacterials considered important in human medicine. Such resistance has so far not been confirmed.

 

Use of therapeutic antibacterials for poultry:

 

If the ionophore coccidiostats used in Norway are replaced by one or more non-ionophore coccidiostat with no antibacterial effect and no other changes are done, the coccidiostats used will no longer inhibit the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, which is the cause of necrotic enteritis. Over time this will likely to lead to a need for intermittent or continuous use of higher levels of therapeutic antibacterials due to increased incidence of this desease in poultry production. The magnitude of the increase is difficult to predict.

 

Alternatives to in-feed antimicrobials:

 

Eradication from the birds’ environment of coccidia causing coccidiosis is difficult to achieve because the coccidia form oocysts that survive outside the host and resist commonly used disinfectants.

 

Vaccination with non-pathogenic vaccines is now used increasingly in commercial Norwegian broiler farms, instead of in-feed coccidiostats. So far coccidiosis has not been reported as a problem in this transition process to broiler rearing without in-feed coccidiostats in Norway.

 

Non-antimicrobial feed additives with purported health-promoting benefits, i.e. acid-based products, probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, yeast-based products, plant-derived products, combinations of these, and other products have been developed and used in feed. These products have been tested for efficacy against coccidia with conflicting, non-consistent or non-convincing results. The majority of these products appear to target the bacterial microbiota rather than coccidia. The Panel has not assessed possible effects of other types of management changes.

Open Access Grey Literature

Risk Assessment of Furan Exposure in the Norwegian Population

Trine Husøy, Augustine Arukwe, Mona-Lise Bindrup, Anne Lise Brantsæter, Christiane Kruse Fæste, Ragna Bogen Hetland, Jan Alexander, Heidi Amlund, Knut Helkås Dahl, Gunnar Sundstøl Eriksen, Berit Granum, Kari Grave, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Jan Erik Paulsen, Anders Ruus, Tore Sanner, Inger-Lise Steffensen, Cathrine Thomsen, Vibeke Thrane, Janneche Utne Skåre

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 44-46
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130128

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (Vitenskapskomiteen for mattrygghet, VKM) has on request of The Norwegian Food Safety Authority performed a risk assessment of furan intake in the Norwegian population based on the most recent national food consumption surveys. National occurrence data of furan concentrations in food were preferentially used in the risk assessment. When national data were lacking, VKM has used occurrence data of furan from other countries. The assessment has been performed by the VKM Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food and Cosmetics and the VKM Panel on Contaminants.

 

Furan is a volatile and lipophilic compound formed in a variety of heat-treated commercial foods and contributes to the sensory properties of the product. The substance has been found in a number of foods such as coffee, canned and jarred foods including baby food containing meat and various vegetables. High concentrations of furan have been found in coffee and the presence of furan in jarred baby food and infant formulae has received much attention since such products may be the sole diet for many infants. The occurrence of furan in a variety of foods suggests that there are multiple routes of furan formation rather than a single mechanism.

 

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has in 2008 and 2009 collected data on furan concentrations in different food products sold on the Norwegian market (Norwegian Food Safety Authority, 2008). In 2011, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority also decided to analyse commercial porridges for infants and children sold on the Norwegian market, to see if furan could be detected in such products.

 

The calculated furan exposures from food and beverages are based on data from the nationally representative food consumption surveys; Spedkost, Småbarnskost, Ungkost and Norkost. The consumption for each relevant food or food category in the dietary surveys were multiplied with the corresponding mean furan concentrations and totalled for each individual.

 

The liver is the main target organ for furan toxicity both in mice and rats, but the rat is the most sensitive species. A dose-dependent increase in hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas was observed in mice and rats, and an increase in the incidence of cholangiocarcinomas was observed in rat liver. Cholangiocarcinomas in male and female rats were the most sensitive toxicological end point observed in rodents. On the basis of the available data, VKM considers that rat cholangiocarcinomas may be relevant for assessing human risk from furan.

 

Available in vivo data with furan indicate that a reactive metabolite, most likely cis-2-butene1,4-dial (BDA), is formed and that this metabolite can react with DNA and induce mutations. To VKM’s knowledge, no in vivo studies on genotoxicity of BDA have been performed, but BDA was found to be genotoxic in several in vitro tests. VKM therefore considers that a genotoxic mechanism in furan-induced carcinogenesis cannot be excluded and the substance was assessed as a genotoxic carcinogen.

 

VKM used the Margin of Exposure (MOE) approach in this risk assessment. The suitability of different studies on cholangiocarcinomas for dose-response modelling was considered. The 9-month interim evaluation of a 2-year study from NTP (1993) was chosen because it demonstrates a dose-response relationship. From this study, a point of departure of 0.02 mg/kg bw/day was chosen, based on a benchmark dose lower bound (BMDL10) of 0.14 mg furan/kg bw/day and a correction factor of 7 for shorter than full life-time (2 years) study duration. 

 

For 6-, 12- and 24-month-old children, the main source of furan exposure is jarred baby food. For 4-, 9- and 13-year-old children, the major food source to the furan exposure is breakfast cereals. In adults, the major contribution to the furan exposure is coffee. The highest furan exposure was calculated for 12-month-old infants and ranged from 0.62-1.51 µg/kg bw/day. In adults the furan exposure ranged from 0.27-0.82 µg/kg bw/day. 

 

For mean exposure among infants, children and adolescents, the MOE-values ranged from 29 in 12-month-infants to 2000 in the 13-year-old adolescents. Among high consumers in these groups, the MOE-values ranged from 13 to 400. In adults, the corresponding MOE-values ranged from 59 to 74 for mean furan exposure and from 24 to 26 for high exposure.

 

It should be noted that this risk assessment of furan contains notable uncertainties and limitations. The use of the 9-month interim study in rats including a correction factor of 7 to derive a point of departure, instead of a full life-time study (2-year) study, likely overestimates the hazard of furan. A possible over-diagnosis of the cholangiocarcinomas, due to the similarities in histopathology between cholangiofibrosis and cholangiocarcinomas in rats, may overestimate the hazard. There are also limitations in assessing food consumption and furan content in foods, leading to uncertainties in estimation of furan exposure.

 

VKM considers that the current exposure to furan in all age groups, particularly among infants and children, is of health concern.

Open Access Grey Literature

Preliminary Environmental Risk Assessment of Insect Resistant Genetically Modified Maize MON 89034 for Cultivation (EFSA/GMO/BE/2011/90)

Audun Helge Nerland, Aksel Bernhoft, Per Brandtzæg, Merethe Aasmo Finne, Askild Lorentz Holck, Olavi Junttila, Heidi Sjursen Konestabo, Richard Meadow, Kåre M. Nielsen, Ville Erling Sipinen, Hilde-Gunn Opsahl-Sorteberg, Rose Vikse, Åshild Andreassen

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 47-50
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130129

The environmental risk assessment of the insect resistant genetically modified maize MON 89034 (Reference EFSA/GMO/BE/2011/90) has been performed by the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM). VKM has been requested by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority to issue a preliminary scientific opinion on the safety of the genetically modified maize MON 89034 (Unique identifier MON-89Ø34-3) for cultivation, and submit relevant scientific comments or questions to EFSA on the application EFSA/GMOBE/2011/90. The current submission is intended to complement application EFSA-GMO-NL-2007-37, which was approved by Commission Decision 2009/813/EC of 30 October 2009, authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize MON 89034 (scope import, processing, food and feed).  Maize MON89034 has previously been assessed by the VKM GMO Panel in connection with EFSA´s public hearing of the application EFSA/GMO/NL/2007/37 (VKM 2008a). Preliminary health- and environmental risk assessments of several stacked events, with MON 89034 as one of the parental lines, have also been performed by the VKM GMO Panel (VKM 2009a, b, c; VKM 2010a,b).

 

The environmental risk assessment of the maize MON 89034 is based on information provided by the applicant in the application EFSA/GMO/BE/2011/90, and scientific comments from EFSA and other member states made available on the EFSA website GMO Extranet. The risk assessment also considered peer-reviewed scientific literature as relevant.  

 

The VKM GMO Panel has evaluated MON 89034 with reference to its intended uses in the European Economic Area (EEA), and according to the principles described in the Norwegian Food Act, the Norwegian Gene Technology Act and regulations relating to impact assessment pursuant to the Gene Technology Act, Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms, and Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has also decided to take account of the appropriate principles described in the EFSA guidelines for the risk assessment of GM plants and derived food and feed (EFSA 2006, 2011a), the environmental risk assessment of GM plants (EFSA 2010), the selection of comparators for the risk assessment of GM plants (EFSA 2011b), and for the post-market environmental monitoring of GM plants (EFSA 2006, 2011c). 

 

The scientific risk assessment of maize MON 89034 include molecular characterisation of the inserted DNA and expression of target proteins, comparative assessment of agronomic and phenotypic characteristics, unintended effects on plant fitness, potential for gene transfer, interactions between the GM plant and target and non-target organisms, effects on biogeochemical processes and evaluations of the post-market environmental plan.

 

In line with its mandate, VKM emphasised that assessments of sustainable development, societal utility and ethical considerations, according to the Norwegian Gene Technology Act and Regulations relating to impact assessment pursuant to the Gene Technology Act, shall not be carried out by the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms. 

 

The genetically modified maize MON 89034 was developed to provide protection against certain lepidopteran target pest, including European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) and Mediterranean corn borer (Sesamia nonagrioides). Protection is achieved through expression in the plant of two insecticidal Cry proteins, Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab2, derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, a common soil bacterium. Cry1A.105, encoded by the cry1A.105 gene, is a chimeric protein made up of different functional domains derived from three wild-type Cry proteins from B. thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki and aizawai.  The Cry2Ab2 protein is encoded by the cry2Ab2 gene derived from B. thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki. 

 

Molecular characterization:

 

Appropriate analysis of the integration site, including flanking sequence and bioinformatics analysis, has been performed to characterise the transformation event MON 89034. The results of the segregation analysis are consistent with a single site of insertion for the cry1A.105 and cry2Ab2 gene expression cassettes and confirm the results of the molecular characterisation.  Molecular analysis of both self-pollinated and cross-fertilised lines, representing a total of seven different generations, indicates that the inserted DNA is stably transformed and inherited from one generation to the next. No genes that encode resistance to antibiotics are present in the genome of MON 89034 maize. The molecular characterisation confirmed the absence of both the aad and nptII genes, which were used in the cloning and transformation process.

 

Event MON 89034 and the physical, chemical and functional characteristics of the proteins have previously been evaluated by The VKM Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, and considered satisfactory (VKM 2008a).

 

Comparative assessment:

 

The field trials for comparative assessment of agronomic and phenotypic characteristics of maize MON 89034 in the USA (2004-2005) and Europe (2007), have been performed in accordance with the EFSAs guidelines for risk assessment of genetically modified plants and derived food and feed (EFSA 2010, 2011a). Based on results from the comparative analyses, it is concluded that maize MON 89034 is agronomically and phenotypically equivalent to the conventional counterpart and commercial available reference varieties, with the exception of the lepidopteran-protection trait. The field evaluations support a conclusion of no phenotypic changes indicative of increased plant weed/pest potential of MON 89034 compared to conventional maize. Evaluations of ecological interactions between maize MON 89034 and the biotic and abiotic environment indicate no unintended effects of the introduced trait on agronomic and phenotypic characteristics. 

 

Environmental risk:

 

There are no reports of the target Lepidopteran species attaining pest status on maize in Norway. Since there are no Bt-based insecticides approved for use in Norway, and lepidopteran pests have not been registered in maize, issues related to resistance evolution in target pests are not relevant at present for Norwegian agriculture.

 

Published scientific studies show no or negligible adverse effects of Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab2 proteins on non-target arthropods that live on or in the vicinity of maize plants. Cultivation of maize MON 89034 is not considered to represent a threat to the prevalence of red-listed species in Norway.

 

Few studies have been published examining potential effects of Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab toxin on ecosystems in soil, mineralization, nutrient turnover and soil communities. Some field studies have indicated that root exudates and decaying plant material containing Cry proteins may affect population size and activity of rhizosphere organisms (soil protozoa and microorganisms). However, data are only available from short term experiments and predictions of potential long term effects are difficult to deduce. Most studies conclude that effects on soil microorganisms and microbial communities are transient and minor compared to effects caused by agronomic and environmental factors.

 

Few studies have assessed the impact of Cry proteins on non-target aquatic arthropods and the fate of these proteins in senescent and decaying maize detritus in aquatic environments. Further studies with better experimental design are needed for the assessment of the potential effects of Bt crops on aquatic organisms. However, exposure of non-target organisms to Cry proteins in aquatic ecosystems is likely to be very low, and potential exposure of Bt toxins to non-target organisms in stream ecosystems in Norway is considered to be negligible. 

 

Maize is the only representative of the genus Zea in Europe, and there are no cross-compatible wild or weedy relatives outside cultivation with which maize can hybridise and form backcross progeny. Vertical gene transfer in maize therefore depends on cross-pollination with other conventional or organic maize varieties. In addition, unintended admixture of genetically modified material in seeds represents a possible way for gene flow between different crop cultivations. The risk of pollen flow from maize volunteers is negligible under Norwegian growing conditions. 

 

In addition to the data presented by the applicant, the VKM GMO Panel is not aware of any scientific report of increased establishment and spread of maize MON 89034 and any change in survival (including over-wintering), persistence and invasiveness capacity. Because the general characteristics of maize MON 89034 are unchanged, insect resistance are not likely to provide a selective advantage outside cultivation in Norway. 

 

Since MON 89034 has no altered agronomic and phenotypic characteristics, except for the specific target pest resistance, the VKM GMO Panel is of the opinion that the likelihood of unintended environmental effects due to the establishment and survival of maize MON 89034 will be no different to that of conventional maize varieties in Norway 

 

The environmental risk assessment will be completed and finalized by the VKM Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms when requested additional information from the applicant is available.

Open Access Grey Literature

Environmental Risk Assessment of Glufosinate-Tolerant Genetically Modified Oilseed Rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 for Import, Processing and Feed Uses under Directive 2001/18/EC (Notification C/BE/96/01)

Audun Helge Nerland, Per Brandtzæg, Merethe Aasmo Finne, Askild Lorentz Holck, Olavi Junttila, Heidi Sjursen Konestabo, Richard Meadow, Kåre M. Nielsen, Ville Erling Sipinen, Hilde-Gunn Opsahl-Sorteberg, Rose Vikse, Åshild Andreassen

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 51-55
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130130

In preparation for a legal implementation of EU-regulation 1829/2003, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) has been requested by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management to conduct final environmental risk assessments for all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products containing or consisting of GMOs that are authorized in the European Union under Directive 2001/18/EC or Regulation 1829/2003/EC. The request covers scope(s) relevant to the Gene Technology Act. The request does not cover GMOs that VKM already has conducted its final risk assessments on. However, the Directorate requests VKM to consider whether updates or other changes to earlier submitted assessments are necessary. 

The genetically modified, glufosinate-tolerant oilseed rape lines MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 (Notification C/BE/96/01) are approved under Directive 2001/18/EC for import and processing for feed and industrial purposes since 26 March 2007 (Commission Decision 2007/232/EC). In addition, processed oil from genetically modified oilseed rape derived from MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 were notified as existing food according to Art. 5 of Regulation (EC) No 258/97 on novel foods and novel food ingredients in November 1999. Existing feed and feed products containing, consisting of or produced from MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 were notified according to Articles 8 and 20 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and were placed on the market in January 2000.  

An application for renewal of the authorisation for continued marketing of existing food, food ingredients and feed materials produced from MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 was submitted within the framework of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 in June 2007 (EFSA/GMO/RX/MS8/RF3). In addition, an application covering food containing or consisting of, and food produced from or containing ingredients produced from oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 (with the exception of processed oil) was delivered by Bayer CropScience in June 2010 (EFSA/GMO/BE/2010/81). 

The VKM GMO Panel has previously issued a scientific opinion related to the notification C/BE/96/01 for the placing on the market of the oilseed rape lines for import, processing and feed uses (VKM 2008). The health and environmental risk assessment was commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management in connection with the national finalisation of the procedure of the notification C/BE/96/01 in 2008. Due to the publication of updated guidelines for environmental risk assessments of genetically modified plants and new scientific literature, the VKM GMO Panel has decided to deliver an updated environmental risk assessment of oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3.  

A scientific opinion on an application for the placing on the market of MS8/RF3 for food containing or consisting of, and food produced from or containing ingredients produced from MS8/RF3 (with the exception of processed oil) (EFSA/GMO/BE/2010/81) have also been submitted by the VKM GMO Panel (VKM 2012). 

The environmental risk assessment of the oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 is based on information provided by the notifier in the applications EFSA/GMO/RX/MS8/RF3, EFSA/GMO/BE/2010/8, the notification C/BE/96/01, and scientific comments from EFSA and other member states made available on the EFSA website GMO Extranet. The risk assessment also considered other peer-reviewed scientific literature as relevant.   

The VKM GMO Panel has evaluated MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 with reference to its intended uses in the European Economic Area (EEA), and according to the principles described in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act and regulations relating to impact assessment pursuant to the Gene Technology Act, Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms, and Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has also decided to take account of the appropriate principles described in the EFSA guidelines for the risk assessment of GM plants and derived food and feed (EFSA 2006, 2011a), the environmental risk assessment of GM plants (EFSA 2010), the selection of comparators for the risk assessment of GM plants (EFSA 2011b), and for the post-market environmental monitoring of GM plants (EFSA 2006, 2011c).  

The scientific risk assessment of oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 include molecular characterisation of the inserted DNA and expression of target proteins, comparative assessment of agronomic and phenotypic characteristics, unintended effects on plant fitness, potential for horizontal and vertical gene transfer, and evaluations of the post-market environmental plan.

In line with its mandate, VKM emphasised that assessments of sustainable development, societal utility and ethical considerations, according to the Norwegian Gene Technology Act and Regulations relating to impact assessment pursuant to the Gene Technology Act, shall not be carried out by the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms.  

The genetically modified oilseed rape lines MS8 and RF3 were developed to provide a pollination control system for production of F1-hybrid seeds (MS8 x RF3).  Oilseed rape is a crop capable of undergoing both self-pollination (70%) as well as cross-pollination (30%). Therefore a system to ensure only cross-pollination is required for producing hybrids from two distinct parents. As a result of hybrid vigor cross-pollinated plants produce higher yield as compared to self-pollinating rape.  

The hybrid system is achieved using a pollination control system by insertion and expression of barnase and barstar genes derived from the soil bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens into two separate transgenic oilseed rape lines. The barnase gene in the male sterile line MS8 encode a ribonuclease peptide (RNase), expressed in the tapetum cells during anther development. The RNase effect RNA levels, disrupting normal cell function, arresting early anther development, and results in the lack of viable pollen and male sterility.  

The fertility restoration line RF3 contains a barstar gene, coding for a ribonuclease inhibitor (Barstar peptide) expressed only in the tapetum cells of the pollen during anther development. The peptide specifically inhibits the Barnase RNase expressed by the MS8 line. The RNase and the ribonuclease inhibitor form a stable one-to-one complex, in which the RNase is inactivated. As a result, when pollen from the receptor line RF3 is crossed to the male sterile line MS8, the MS8 x RF3 progeny expresses the RNase inhibitor in the tapetum cells of the anthers allowing hybrid plants to develop normal anthers and restore fertility. 

The barnase and barstar genes in MS8 and RF3 are each linked with the bar gene from Streptomyces hygroscopus. The bar gene is driven by a plant promoter that is active in all green tissues of the plant, and encodes the enzyme phosphinothricin acetyltransferase (PAT). The PAT enzyme inactivates phosphinothricin (PPT), the active constituent of the non-selective herbicide glufosinate-ammonium. The bar gen were transferred to the oilseed rape plants as markers both for use during in vitro selection and as a breeding selection tool in seed production.

 Molecular characterization:

The oilseed rape hybrid MS8xRF3 is produced by conventional crossing. The parental lines MS8 and RF3 are well described in the documentation provided by the applicant, and a number of publications support their data. It seems likely that MS8 contains a complete copy of the desired T-DNA construct including the bar and barnase genes. Likewise, the event RF3 is likely to contain complete copies of the bar and barstar genes in addition to a second incomplete non-functional copy of the bar-gene. The inserts in the single events are preserved in the hybrid MS8xRF3, and the desired traits are stably inherited over generations.  

Oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 and the physical, chemical and functional characteristics of the newly expressed proteins have previously been evaluated by the VKM Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms, and considered satisfactory (VKM 2008, 2012). The GMO Panel finds the characterisation of the physical, chemical and functional properties of the recombinant inserts in the oilseed rape transformation events MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 to be satisfactory. The GMO Panel has not identified any novel risks associated with the modified plants based on the molecular characterisation of the inserts. 

Comparative assessment: 

Based on results from comparative analyses of data from field trials located at representative sites and environments in Europe and Canada, it is concluded that oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 is agronomically and phenotypically equivalent to the conventional counterpart, except for the newly expressed barnase, barstar and PAT proteins. 

The field evaluations support a conclusion of no phenotypic changes indicative of increased plant weed/pest potential of event MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 compared to conventional oilseed rape. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that in-crop applications of glufosinate herbicide do not alter the phenotypic and agronomic characteristics of event MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 compared to conventional oilseed rape varieties.

Environmental risk:

Considering the scope of the notification C/BE/96/01, excluding cultivation purposes, the environmental risk assessment is limited to exposure through accidental spillage of viable seeds of MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 into the environment during transportation, storage, handling, processing and use of derived products.

Oilseed rape is mainly a self-pollinating species, but has entomophilous flowers capable of both self- and cross-pollinating. Normally the level of outcrossing is about 30%, but outcrossing frequencies up to 55% are reported. 

Several plant species related to oilseed rape that are either cultivated, occurs as weeds of cultivated and disturbed lands, or grow outside cultivation areas to which gene introgression from oilseed rape could be of concern. These are found both in the Brassica species complex and in related genera. A series of controlled crosses between oilseed rape and related taxa have been reported in the scientific literature. Because of a mismatch in the chromosome numbers most hybrids have a severely reduced fertility. Exceptions are hybrids obtained from crosses between oilseed rape and wild turnip (B. rapa ssp. campestris) and to a lesser extent, mustard greens (B. juncea), where spontaneously hybridising and transgene introgression under field conditions have been confirmed. Wild turnip is native to Norway and a common weed in arable lowlands.

Accidental spillage and loss of viable seeds of MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 during transport, storage, handling in the environment and processing into derived products is likely to take place over time, and the establishment of small populations of oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 cannot be excluded. Feral oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3 arising from spilled seed could theoretically pollinate conventional crop plants if the escaped populations are immediately adjacent to field crops, and shed seeds from cross-pollinated crop plants could emerge as GM volunteers in subsequent crops. 

However, both the occurrence of feral oilseed rape resulting from seed import spills and the introgression of genetic material from feral oilseed rape populations to wild populations are likely to be low in an import scenario in Norway. 

There is no evidence that the herbicide tolerant trait results in enhanced fitness, persistence or invasiveness of oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8 x RF3, or hybridizing wild relatives, compared to conventional oilseed rape varieties, unless the plants are exposed to herbicides with the active substance glufosinate ammonium. Apart from the glufosinate tolerance trait, the resulting progeny will not possess a higher fitness and will not be different from progeny arising from cross-fertilisation with conventional oilseed rape varieties. 

Glufosinate ammonium-containing herbicides have been withdrawn from the Norwegian market since 2008, and the substance will be phased out in the EU in 2017 for reasons of reproductive toxicity.

Overall conclusion:

The VKM GMO Panel concludes that oilseed rape MS8, RF3 and MS8xRF3 are unlikely to have any adverse effect on the environment in Norway in the context of its intended usage.

Open Access Original Research Article

Maternal Anthropometry and Dietary Diversity Associated with Birth Weight in Maternity Hospitals in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire)

Stéphane Claver Vanié, Grodji Albarin Gbogouri, Angèle Edjème-Aké, Allico Joseph Djaman

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 1-13
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130123

Aims: Birth weight is a powerful predictor of infant growth and survival and depends on the fetal growth environment, which is influenced by maternal nutritional status. However, the association between maternal anthropometric and nutritional factors and birth weight is not well characterized in Côte d'Ivoire. The objective of this study was to determine the maternal anthropometric and nutritional characteristics associated with birth weight.

Study Design: This was a retrospective study.

Place and Duration of Study: This study was done in maternity hospitals of three municipalities in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 1st October to 30 November 2018.

Methodology: It consisted in collecting birth data from 146 newborns born from a monofetal pregnancy, whose mothers aged 20 to 42 had participated in a previous survey. Also, the relationship between birth weight, maternal anthropometry and maternal nutrition factors has been studied. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate data analysis was done using SPSS version 25 software.

Results: The results indicate mean birth weight of 3118.48±515.39 g and 7.6% and 5.5% respectively of low and excessive birth weight. In a multivariate linear regression, the mean birth weight of newborns of women with medium and high dietary diversity score was higher than those newborn of women with low dietary diversity score (AOR=0.386, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.072-0.699; p=0.017 and AOR=0.233, 95% CI: 0.016-0.450; p=0.036). Similarly, women with gestational weight gain greater than 7 kg and high stature (>1.55 cm) gave birth to heavier children (AOR=0.551, 95% CI: 0.346-0.756; p=0.000 and AOR=0.633, 95% CI: 0.207-1.059; p=0.004, respectively).

Conclusion: Although it revealed the presence of low and excess birth weight, this study has shown that maternal anthropometry and dietary diversity score were associated with birth weight of the baby.

Open Access Original Research Article

Protein and Mineral Contents in Some Fish Species Available in the Brahmaputra River of Bangladesh

M. S. A. Eti, H. M. Zakir, Q. F. Quadir, M. S. Rahman

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 14-27
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130124

An experiment was conducted in the laboratory of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh to determine protein and major mineral nutrients (viz. Ca, Mg, Na, K, P, S and Fe) in different available fish species of the Brahmaputra River of Bangladesh. Total 32 fish samples of 15 fish species were collected from three locations of the river during November 2017. The highest amount of Ca (2.00%), Mg (4.17%), Na (0.41%), K (3.24%), P (0.17%), S (0.129%) and Fe (226.9 mg kg−1) were obtained from chela (Salmophasia bacaila), chanda (Chanda nama), chingri (Macrobrachium sp.), shingi (Heteropneustes fossilis), bele (Glossogobius giuris), baim (Macrognathus aculeatus) and mola (Amblypharyngodon mola), respectively and the sequence of the mineral nutrients was K > Mg > Ca > Na > P > S > Fe. The study results revealed that 100% of daily Ca requirement can be replenished by consuming 100 g fish flesh portion of the chela (Salmophasia bacaila)/ chingri (Macrobrachium sp.)/ bele (Glossogobius giuris). Similarly, among the 15 fish species, 11 and 12 species alone can contribute 100% of Mg and K requirement for human by taking 100 g fish flesh, respectively. The maximum content of N (3.88%) was obtained from shingi (Heteropneustes fossilis), while the minimum (2.81%) was recorded from mola (Amblypharyngodon mola). The protein content among the fish samples varied between 17.6-24.3% with a mean value of 21.2%. Finally, the study results concluded that the common fishes available in the Brahmaputra River are a good source of protein and major mineral nutrients, which contributes in nutrition to the local people of the country.

Open Access Original Research Article

Qualitative Risk Assessment of Campylobacter jejuni in Street Vended Poultry in Informal Settlements of Nairobi County

Beatrice J. Birgen, Lucy G. Njue, Dasel M. Kaindi, Fredrick O. Ogutu

European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, Page 28-37
DOI: 10.9734/ejnfs/2019/v11i130125

Aim: To determine the food safety risks of consumption of street-vended poultry products, to evaluate the determinants of microbial safety and the risk rank of these products.

Study Design: A cross-sectional survey was done in the Korogocho and Kariobangi North slums among the consumers and vendors to assess their food safety knowledge and practices. Swab samples of the cooking equipment, utensils, and personnel, raw and cooked portions of poultry were collected for microbial quality evaluation. The most prevalent microorganism was assessed for its qualitative risk rank using the Risk Ranger software.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi, from June 2018 to July 2018.

Methodology: A total of 15 vendors were exhaustively sampled and included in the study with the food safety and hygiene practices evaluated using a food safety checklist. The snowballing sampling technique was used to locate all the vendors. Samples of raw and cooked street vended poultry products were subjected to microbial analysis. All samples were collected in sterile polythene bags followed by transportation to the laboratory of the Department of Food Science and Technology of the University of Nairobi and microbial analysis.

Results: Campylobacter jejuni contamination, in both raw and cooked poultry products, was 8.95±0.94 log10 CFU g-1 and 4.66±2.67 log10 CFU g-1 respectively; the probability of contamination of raw street-vended poultry was found to be 48.96%. The mean weekly intake of the poultry was reported 140.0 g per person. The probability of campylobacter infection in an individual consumer was found as 7.12x10-3 with the predicted illnesses among the population found as 1.11x106 cases. The qualitative risk estimate from the study was reported as 67, above the limit of 48 for medium risk.

Conclusion: The study concluded that Campylobacter jejuni posed high food safety risks as a resultant from the consumption of street-vended poultry.