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In this Issue:

• Work package 1

• Work package 2

• Work package 3

• Work package 4

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Dear Sir/Madam,

We are contacting you with some early results from a project that may be of interest to you.

MARLON is an EU funded project that aims to support post-market monitoring of the link between health impact in livestock and GM feed consumption through the development of an open-source/access epidemiological model.

We have attached a newsletter that summarizes the results of some of the activities which include:

  • Overview of the existing and previous studies as well as initiatives and activities concerning the monitoring of GM-fed livestock’s health within and outside the EU.
  • Exploration of the possibilities to determine a livestock animal’s previous consumption of animal feed containing GM ingredients, and also assessed the possible risks involved.
  • Review of four desk case studies on potential risk scenarios and the associated health indicators with topics: allergenicity and immunotoxicity, horizontal gene transfer, lower mycotoxin levels and nutritionally altered GM crops.
  • Gathered a comprehensive assembly describing the livestock and feed production chains within the EU, with GMO ingredients examined in particular.

Summaries of these activities can also be found in MARLON website under the ‘Results’ Section (here).

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.

Best regards,

Summary of WP1

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The focus of Work Package 1 was on the availability of knowledge and data, as well an overview of existing activities, which could, for example, fit into the database to be established within Work Package 6. Its tasks were both to collect data on existing and previous monitoring activities, as well as to identify items that are not or not entirely covered by these activities and therefore could be further developed in order to facilitate possible future monitoring activities on the relationship between feed consumption and animal health.

Results of a literature search into published data on the health of animals consuming GM crops did not give rise to concerns about the effect of GM feed on livestock health as most short-term, long-term and multigenerational studies conclude that animal health is not adversely affected by feeding GM feed.

[Read More]

Summary of WP2

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The aim of Work package 2 was to explore which possibilities exist to determine a livestock animal’s previous consumption of animal feed containing GM ingredients, through a desk study compiling and analysing the available and public information on GM feed consumption measurement. Such measurements, if feasible, could help identify animals exposed to specific GM feeds and those that are unexposed, so as to be able to distinguish between exposed groups and non-exposed groups, as well as to link possible health impacts observed in these groups with exposure. Through the desk study, the following topics were reviewed:

  • The possibility to detect GM DNA and proteins in samples from animals as measure of its exposure,
  • Methods for detecting multiple GMOs in animal feeds (including new generation approaches),
  • Suitable sampling points for the analysis of specific GMO along de feed chain, and
  • Suitability of the documentary GMO traceability tools to record GMO consumption by animals.

[Read More]

Summary of WP3

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To identify potential health indicators that could be used to gauge health impacts of GM feed consumption on animals during post-market monitoring was the objective of Work Package 3. Four plausible scenarios of potential health impacts, including both potentially positive and adverse effects, were explored in more depth. The findings of these explorations are summarized in a final report delivered by this Work Package. The four scenarios investigated as parallel case studies thus included:

  • Feed allergies in livestock: The potential allergenicity of a GM product is a commonly assessed item in the safety assessment of GM crops according to a weight-of-evidence approach, considering both the newly expressed proteins present in GM crops as well as possible changes to the intrinsic allergenicity of the host crop. Besides allergies in human consumers, also domestic animals might develop such reactions. The report recommends that appropriate models representative of livestock animals are developed, and concludes that the impact of genetic modification on the intrinsic allergenicity may be limited compared to other factors. Allergic and intolerance reactions in livestock may not be always linked to specific IgE-levels in sera which anyway would be difficult to measure and therefore additional criteria should be taken into account for monitoring purposes. Case-control studies could help focusing on specific animal populations at risk and production systems.

[Read More]

Summary of WP4

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The aim of this work package is to provide a comprehensive assembly describing the livestock as well feed production chains within the EU. In particular the genetically modified ingredients (GMO) have been dealt with tracking selected chains. A written final report has been submitted, of which the key conclusions include the following, in summary:

  • EU and member state regulations enable clear tracing of livestock throughout the entire production chain.
  • Livestock controls and health data focus primarily on compliance with documentation and identification requirements as well as infectious diseases.

[Read More]

Other relevant initiatives

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The RISKSUR project is aimed to develop decision support tools for the design of cost-effective risk-based surveillance systems that integrate the most recent advances in epidemiological methodologies, based on an interdisciplinary approach and tailored to the needs of individual EU Members States.

Over the last months, it has been mapping the system context within which animal health surveillance is conducted in several EU countries from which it has developed a conceptual and analytical framework for animal health surveillance system design.

RISKSUR will organise a symposium themed “Animal Health Surveillance 2.0” on March 24, 2015, at Het Pand Convention Centre in Ghent, Belgium, in conjugation with the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.

For more information contact Katharina Stärk or go to the project website (www.fp7-risksur.eu).

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AMIGA is an EU project, funded by the FP7, aiming at producing scientific data related to the possible environmental and economic impacts of cultivation of Genetically modified plants (GMPs) that are relevant to European environments.

The project’s cornerstone is the application of the EFSA ERA Guidelines, which is the basis for the update of the regulatory process of GMPs in the EU. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers.

For more information please visit the website: www.amigaproject.eu/stay-updated

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The FP7 project – Development of Cost Efficient Advanced DNA-based methods for specific traceability issues and high-level on-site applications (DECATHLON) was initiated in December 2013 and will last for 3 years.

Decathlon brings together a broad range of experts and expertise to jointly work on the development of new or improved methods that are needed in the field of 1) food pathogens, 2) traceability of GMOs and 3) customs issues.

Among many of the activities Decathlon will carry out, a series of training sessions will be developed for interested stakeholders, for more information please visit the website: www.decathlon-project.eu

 
Project Website: www.marlon-project.eu
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