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CARMEL, Ind., May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) decision upholds years of research on sucralose - the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA® Sweeteners – that shows it to be safe and does not cause cancer. The decision was published as an open...


CARMEL, IN (May 8, 2017) - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) decision upholds years of research on sucralose - the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA® Sweeteners - that shows it to be safe and does not cause cancer. The decision was published as an open access Scientific Opinion in EFSA Journal1, and rejects allegations made by a small Italian lab regarding a study in mice that they conducted. EFSA concluded that "the available data did not support the conclusions of the authors (Soffritti et al., 2016)2." EFSA noted numerous issues with the Ramazzini Institute study on sucralose, including: Ramazzini Institute has been criticized previously by the regulatory and research community for not complying with recognized research standards in its sweetener studies. The U.S. Congressional House Committee has also expressed concerns that funding of this lab may not meet adequate scientific integrity standards. The recent EFSA opinion further reinforces the importance of considering recommended research standards when reviewing scientific studies and their results, particularly when the research, as in the case of this latest Ramazzini study, utilizes unconventional methodology and employs scientific practices that have already been found to be problematic for data interpretation. It's important to remember, for food ingredients, industry does not set the guidelines for what type of research must be done. These are set by health and safety research authorities from around the world. The safety of sucralose has been demonstrated by a wide body of research. FDA and other regulatory agencies reviewed more than 110 scientific studies designed to meet the recommended research programs set by expert health authorities for investigating the safety of a new food ingredient. Reviews of these studies have led to consistent conclusions that sucralose is safe, including for women who are pregnant or nursing and for children. SPLENDA® Sweeteners are a safe choice. The science EFSA just dismissed has been used by some, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), to put sweeteners on their "avoid" lists. As EFSA's review confirms, this is not warranted and is particularly bad counsel when it comes to sucralose-sweeteners like SPLENDA®. SPLENDA® is one way consumers can safely reduce their added sugar and calorie consumption, which we know is important to long-term health. It would be prudent for CSPI to reconsider their advice based on the latest science and determinations from leading food safety authorities. EFSA's decision puts good science first, and it is consistent with the movement to bring greater scrutiny to poorly designed studies that draw false conclusions and unjustifiably alarm consumers. This is a topic we are particularly passionate about at SPLENDA®. We invite others to commit to evaluating research using rigorous scientific judgment and apply sound research findings before making recommendations or sharing opinions. We invite people to learn more about the safety of sucralose. A review of the regulatory and scientific rationale in determining the potential for sucralose to cause cancer is available here. Overconsumption of added sugar is a rising health concern, and low calorie sweeteners like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener help millions of people every day lower their added sugar intake for healthier eating without sacrificing the sweet moments in life. We support people in taking small steps to live a little healthier each day - whether that means cutting back on empty calories, managing weight, staying active and more. For information on how to make simple changes for a healthier you, visit Splenda.com. For more information on EFSA's review of the Ramazzini Institute study of sucralose, visit the report in the EFSA Journal. Based outside of Indianapolis, Heartland Food Products Group is a global leader in the production of low-calorie sweetener products, creamers, beverage concentrates, coffee, and nutritional drinks. Visit Heartland at http://www. . The SPLENDA® Brand is the most recognizable and iconic low calorie sweetener ("LCS") brand in the world, having sold more than 100 billion yellow packets since its launch in 1991. Today, the SPLENDA® Brand is the clear #1 LCS brand in the $72 billion global sweetener market with market shares that are more than twice those of its nearest competitor. Since the acquisition of the SPLENDA® Brand in 2015, Heartland Food Products Group has launched SPLENDA ZERO™ Liquid Sweetener and now SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener, expected to be the greatest innovation in the brand's history. 1. EFSA ANS Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food) et al. (2017). Statement on the validity of the conclusions of a mouse carcinogenicity study on sucralose (E 955) performed by the Ramazzini Institute. EFSA Journal 2017;15(5):4784, 14 pp. https:/ 2. Soffritti, M., et al. (2016). Sucralose administered in feed, beginning prenatally through lifespan, induces hematopoietic neoplasias in male swiss mice. Int J Occup Env Health, 22, 7-17 http://dx. .


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.beveragedaily.com

The safety profiles of Allura Red AC (E129) and Tartrazine (E102) as well as their use amongst the US population "did not pose a health risk at conservative ranges of food consumption and levels of use." “The findings are intended to allay consumer concerns that may have developed due to a lack of sufficient information,” said Dr Maria Bastaki, scientific director at International Association of Color Manufacturers (IACM). “Continued use of these synthetic colour additives is safe even with high intake levels, which still register far below the safe daily level established by expert bodies such as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).” In two seperate studies, mice were subject to Tartrazine and Allura Red exposure in trials that were conducted in response to an additional information request by EFSA. These studies, conducted by scientists from IACM, who also provided funding, subjected these animals to three dose levels of the additives, (25, 500, and 2000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg)) body weight on three consecutive days (0, 24 and 45 h). As the studies were conducted to address EFSA concerns, dose levels tested for Tartrazine were selected to mimic levels tested in the study which was the basis of EFSA's concerns (study for Allura Red). The presence of Tartrazine and Allura Red proved negative for genotoxicity in the bone marrow and the liver, stomach and colon. Some of the researchers involved in the two studies also participated in another study. Here, seven colour additives and five ‘synthetic’ food colours were used to assess estimated daily intake (EDI). Populations under examination included children aged 2–5 and 6–12 years, adolescents aged 13–18 years, and adults aged 19 or more in the United States. Actual use data was collected from an industry survey of companies that are users of these colour additives in a variety of products, with additional input from food colour manufacturers. Food-consumption data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Along with Tartrazine and Allura Red, other food colours analysed included Brilliant Blue, Erythrosine, Fast Green, Indigo Carmine and Sunset Yellow. European consumer concerns have lingered ever since the Allura Red and Tartrazine’s role’s in health were highlighted in the Southampton study. Here, researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK presented evidence of increased hyperactivity in children consuming mixtures of certain artificial food colours. Along with Tartrazine and Allura Red, the artificial colours Ponceau 4R (E124), Sunset Yellow (E110), Camoisine (E122), Quinoline Yellow (E104) were also under scrutiny. The 2007 study was closely followed up in 2009, where the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) re-evaluated the data and stated that "the available scientific evidence does not substantiate a link between the colour additives and behavioural effects." Referring to her team’s findings, Dr Bastaki said that the data filled a literature void of studies conducted according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. “If available publications report findings that indicate toxicity while their limitations are not communicated outside the scientific community, they negatively and needlessly skew public perception against synthetic colours,” “IACM’s intent in commissioning these studies is to generate high-quality studies that provide reliable and accurate data, and make them accessible in the body of literature for the scientific community, regulators, and consumers alike.” “Estimated daily intake and safety of FD&C food-colour additives in the US population.” “Lack of genotoxicity in vivo for food color additive Tartrazine.” “Lack of genotoxicity in vivo for food color additive Allura Red AC.”


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.foodprocessing-technology.com

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists have developed a new approach that has the potential to accurately calculate consumers exposure to enzymes used in food production. This is expected to improve their safety evaluation as required by EU law. Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyse chemical reactions and are used to produce food and beverages such as bread and beer. Foods are currently made using industrially produced enzymes that are extracted from plant and animal tissues, or made by fermentated microorganisms. “We have developed an exposure tool, which can be tailored to each food process involving food enzymes." This new approach by EFSA has provided a new platform for the evaluation of the remaining 300 applications. EFSA food contact materials, enzymes, flavourings and processing aids (CEF) panel member Christina Tlustos said: “We have developed an exposure tool, which can be tailored to each food process involving food enzymes. “The tool uses technical conversion factors, which means we can combine food consumption data with enzyme use levels and take into account the level of transfer of food enzymes into food products.” EFSA plans to use the same methodology for the remaining food enzymes’ applications that are scheduled for assessment. Last September, the CEF panel published a new methodology for dietary exposure to food enzymes based on actual consumption data collected from individual European citizens. Image: Enzymes are protein molecules that catalyse chemical reactions and are being used to production food and beverages. Photo: courtesy of EFSA.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New knowledge on milk composition and quality is of essential importance to consumers as well as the industry. There are therefore considerable research efforts in milk worldwide. One of the major topics concerns milk's content of different proteins and their importance to human health. Basically, milk consists of two protein types - whey and casein. Casein can be further divided into four categories. One of these, beta casein, attracts particular attention. Several beta casein types exist and A1 and A2 are the most common. It has been suggested that A2-protein milk is a healthier alternative to A1-protein milk, as the latter is claimed to metabolize into potentially detrimental peptides in the intestine. One specific peptide formed during digestion is further claimed to have unfavourable effects on the consumers drinking it. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) dismissed these claims in 2009 as undocumented. It is currently debated whether some of the discomfort reported by some milk consumers regarding impact on the gastrointestinal system may be caused by discomfort originating from these detrimental peptides. A2-milk has been labelled a more "original" milk and is closer to breast milk. Foreign companies have succeeded in establishing specialized industries that sell milk that only contains A2-type beta casein. In December 2016, the Danish dairy Thise introduced a Danish variant. This particular area still requires additional research and there is no scientific evidence to substantiate that one protein type is superior compared to the other, states Professor Lotte Bach Larsen, Department of Food Science at Aarhus University: - I acknowledge that further research and examination is required within this particular area in order to base the debate on solid, fact-based argumentation. We cannot rule out that some consumers, who feel discomfort when consuming milk, might benefit from drinking solely A2-milk. In a recently finished investigation, Lotte Bach Larsen and her colleagues from the Department of Food Science cooperated with Norwegian scientists to examine if the two different protein types give rise to different metabolization patterns and thus the formation of potentially bioactive protein fragments. In their examination the scientists used gastric and intestinal juices from humans to study how enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract break down the proteins. The experiment was accomplished in a laboratory model system and using protein types that were purified from milk from cows whose milk contained either solely A1 or A2 variants of the protein. - The examination demonstrates - quite as expected - that a number of different peptides is formed from both protein types, when the milk is metabolized. But, it also turns out that the peptide in question is actually present when both A1 and A2 milk is digested. However, the content of this specific peptide formed from A1 beta casein protein variant by the human digestion enzymes was approx. three times higher than liberated from the A2 beta casein variant. As this study was carried out with purified beta casein variants, there is a need to examine whether there is a difference in content of this specific peptide, if digestion is going on using milk and not simply isolated beta casein proteins. In addition, it would be beneficial to carry out a proper human intervention study on eventual the effects when consuming the two different types of milk, and also examine if the peptide can be measured in the blood, says Lotte Bach Larsen. Another interesting aspect when discussing the difference between A1 and A2 milk is the fact that milk containing the A2-type beta casein is actually the most frequent type in Danish dairy cattle. Scientists from the Department of Food Science were able to conclude this fact when they - in connection with a major research project - carried out a screening of the protein composition of Danish milk. Actually, the frequency of the A2 protein was almost the same in both Danish Jersey cattle and Danish Holstein cattle. - It is rather interesting if consumers consider A2 milk to be something unique and special. We should point out that even though most of the Danish milk is mixed, dairy milk will normally contain both types, but with levels of the A2 type over the A1 type, as it seems that A2 is present in highest frequency over the A1 vatiant. If you choose a milk type that specifically contains the A2 protein of the beta casein, you should know that this milk comes from cows that have been screened for the variants and selected for this production, says Lotte Bach Larsen. She hopes that the future will bring an increased focus on studies in the metabolism of milk proteins in human studies. Basically, milk consists of two protein types - whey and casein. Casein can be further divided into four categories, and one of these, beta casein, attracts particular attention. Several beta casein types exist and A1 and A2 are the most common. The difference between the two types consists of two changed amino acids.


Researchers have linked artificially sweetened sodas to increased risk of dementia and stroke in two studies published in the journals Stroke Alzheimer’s & Dementia The observational studies were based on 2,888 people from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort, who have been providing data since 1971. The researchers found those who drank at least one diet soda a day were three times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke or to develop Alzheimer’s. Importantly, such studies can only suggest an association, and do not mean that diet sodas actually cause dementia or stroke. An editorial accompanying the Stroke study noted the results could be due to reverse causality, “whereby sicker individuals consume diet beverages as a means of negating a further deterioration of health”. Although the statistics suggest a possible link between diet soda and health risks, they do not necessarily draw a straight line from sweetener to stroke or dementia.  Experts were quick to repeat the “correlation isn’t causation” mantra and called for caution when interpreting these studies. They highlighted several flaws, including that the researchers themselves admit when other factors like diabetes, genes and overweight are taken into account, the association with dementia disappears. They also found no association between consumption of sugary drinks and stroke risk – despite this being a well-established link. It is possible people who are already in ill health, particularly those suffering with diabetes, are more likely to choose zero-calorie drinks, thereby skewing these results. In the meantime, many experts suggest all fizzy drinks, however they are sweetened, should be consumed in moderation. Scientists have long been researching the health risks of soda, and some have suggested a link with weight gain. In response to this latest study, the American Beverage Association issued a statement highlighting international organizations, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization and European Food Safety Authority, repeatedly have reviewed the safety status of artificial sweeteners, and concluded they are safe. Whether artificially sweetened drinks carry a health risk or not, consumers increasingly are looking for alternatives, including naturally sweetened low-calorie drinks and bottled water. Bottled water sales overtook those of carbonated soft drinks in the U.S. last year to become the largest beverage category by volume. Soda sales nationally have been declining as consumers shun sugary drinks in favor of healthier, better-for-you beverages. Taxes slapped on sugary drinks in Berkeley cut sales 21% last year, while in Philadelphia PepsiCo said it would need to lay off 80 to 100 workers after sales dropped 40% following the city's tax. The latest studies are unlikely to noticeably hurt soda sales in the near-term without more definitive proof linking the drink to dementia and stroke, but given the challenges plaguing the beverage lately it's hardly welcomes news.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: phys.org

It has been suggested that A2-protein milk is a healthier alternative to A1-protein milk, as the latter is claimed to metabolize into potentially detrimental peptides in the intestine. One specific peptide formed during digestion is further claimed to have unfavourable effects on the consumers drinking it. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) dismissed these claims in 2009 as undocumented. It is currently debated whether some of the discomfort reported by some milk consumers regarding impact on the gastrointestinal system may be caused by discomfort originating from these detrimental peptides. A2-milk has been labelled a more "original" milk and is closer to breast milk. Foreign companies have succeeded in establishing specialized industries that sell milk that only contains A2-type beta casein. In December 2016, the Danish dairy Thise introduced a Danish variant. This particular area still requires additional research and there is no scientific evidence to substantiate that one protein type is superior compared to the other, states Professor Lotte Bach Larsen, Department of Food Science at Aarhus University: - I acknowledge that further research and examination is required within this particular area in order to base the debate on solid, fact-based argumentation. We cannot rule out that some consumers, who feel discomfort when consuming milk, might benefit from drinking solely A2-milk. In a recently finished investigation, Lotte Bach Larsen and her colleagues from the Department of Food Science cooperated with Norwegian scientists to examine if the two different protein types give rise to different metabolization patterns and thus the formation of potentially bioactive protein fragments. In their examination the scientists used gastric and intestinal juices from humans to study how enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract break down the proteins. The experiment was accomplished in a laboratory model system and using protein types that were purified from milk from cows whose milk contained either solely A1 or A2 variants of the protein. - The examination demonstrates - quite as expected - that a number of different peptides is formed from both protein types, when the milk is metabolized. But, it also turns out that the peptide in question is actually present when both A1 and A2 milk is digested. However, the content of this specific peptide formed from A1 beta casein protein variant by the human digestion enzymes was approx. three times higher than liberated from the A2 beta casein variant. As this study was carried out with purified beta casein variants, there is a need to examine whether there is a difference in content of this specific peptide, if digestion is going on using milk and not simply isolated beta casein proteins. In addition, it would be beneficial to carry out a proper human intervention study on eventual the effects when consuming the two different types of milk, and also examine if the peptide can be measured in the blood, says Lotte Bach Larsen. A2-milk is the most frequent type Another interesting aspect when discussing the difference between A1 and A2 milk is the fact that milk containing the A2-type beta casein is actually the most frequent type in Danish dairy cattle. Scientists from the Department of Food Science were able to conclude this fact when they - in connection with a major research project - carried out a screening of the protein composition of Danish milk. Actually, the frequency of the A2 protein was almost the same in both Danish Jersey cattle and Danish Holstein cattle. - It is rather interesting if consumers consider A2 milk to be something unique and special. We should point out that even though most of the Danish milk is mixed, dairy milk will normally contain both types, but with levels of the A2 type over the A1 type, as it seems that A2 is present in highest frequency over the A1 vatiant. If you choose a milk type that specifically contains the A2 protein of the beta casein, you should know that this milk comes from cows that have been screened for the variants and selected for this production, says Lotte Bach Larsen. She hopes that the future will bring an increased focus on studies in the metabolism of milk proteins in human studies. More information: Tora Asledottir et al, Identification of bioactive peptides and quantification of β-casomorphin-7 from bovine β-casein A1, A2 and I after ex vivo gastrointestinal digestion, International Dairy Journal (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.idairyj.2017.03.008


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE PHOTO: An undated image taken with electronic microscope shows EHEC bacteria (enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli) in Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Brunswick, Germany. REUTERS/Manfred Rohde/Helmholtz-Zentrum fŸr Infektionsforschung (HZI)/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - Superbug bacteria found in people, animals and food across the European Union pose an "alarming" threat to public and animal health having evolved to resist widely used antibiotics, disease and safety experts warned on Wednesday. A report on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said some 25,000 people die from such superbugs in the European Union every year. "Antimicrobial resistance is an alarming threat putting human and animal health in danger," said Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU's health and food safety commissioner. "We have put substantial efforts to stop its rise, but this is not enough. We must be quicker, stronger and act on several fronts." Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to evolve to survive and develop new ways of beating the medicines. Wednesday's report highlighted that in Salmonella bacteria - which can cause the common and serious food-borne infection Salmonellosis - multi-drug resistance is high across the EU. Mike Catchpole, the ECDC's chief scientist, said he was particularly concerned that some common types of Salmonella in humans, such as monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium, are showing extremely high multi-drug resistance. "Prudent use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine is extremely important," he said. "We all have a responsibility to ensure that antibiotics keep working." Resistance to carbapenem antibiotics - usually the last remaining treatment option for patients infected with multi-drug resistant superbugs - was detected for the first time in animals and food, albeit at low levels, as part of EU-wide annual monitoring for the report. It said very low levels of resistance were observed in E. coli bacteria found in pigs and in meat from pigs. Resistance to colistin, another last-resort human antibiotic - was also found at very low levels in Salmonella and E. coli in pigs and cattle, the report said. Marta Hugas, head of EFSA's biological hazards and contaminants unit, noted geographic variations across the European Union, with countries in northern and western Europe generally having lower resistance levels than those in southern and eastern Europe and said this was most likely due to differences in the level of use and overuse of the medicines. "In countries where actions have been taken to reduce, replace and re-think the use of antimicrobials in animals show lower levels of antimicrobial resistance and decreasing trends," she said.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers from the University of Burgos (Spain) have developed a fluorescent polymer that lights up in contact with mercury that may be present in fish. High levels of the metal were detected in samples of swordfish and tuna. According to the conclusions of another Spanish study, mercury exposure is linked to reduced foetal and placental growth in pregnant women. The presence of the toxic metal mercury in the environment comes from natural sources, however, in the last decades industrial waste has caused an increase in concentrations of the metal in some areas of the sea. In the food chain, mercury can be diluted either in organic form as methylmercury (MeHg+) or as an inorganic salt, the cation Hg2+. Now, researchers from the University of Burgos have created a fluorescent polymer, JG25, which can detect the presence of these two forms of mercury in fish samples. The development is published in the journal Chemical Communications. "The polymer remains in contact with samples extracted directly from the fish for around 20 minutes. Then, while is being irradiated with ultraviolet light, it emits a bluish light, which varies in intensity proportionally to the quantity of methylmercury and inorganic mercury present in the fish," explains Tomás Torroba, lead author of the paper. A portable polymer probe, which can be used in situ, was used to apply the technique to 2-gram samples from a range of fish species. The qualitative relationship between the mercury levels in fish and the increased fluorescence was verified using chemical analysis (called ICP-Mass). The research showed that the larger is the fish the higher are the levels of mercury: between 1.0 and 2.0 parts per million for swordfish, tuna and dogfish, around 0.5 ppm in conger eels and 0.2 ppm in panga. No mercury was found in farmed salmon. These are large fish and at the top of the food chain, but the metal is not present in captivity due to the lack of an industrial or natural source. The toxicity of fish depends on the amount mercury found in the fish presented in the diet. According to the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the tolerable weekly intake of methylmercury should be no more than one serving containing amounts over 1.6 μg/kg (micrograms per kilogram of fish) or 4 μg/kg for inorganic mercury (this amount is close to the one detected in the study). However, the current trend for this limit is to be lowered. For example, the United States food safety agency, the FDA, goes beyond this and recommends consuming no more than one portion per week of fish containing concentrations over 1 μg/kg, a tendency other countries are likely to follow. "Contamination of above 0.5 ppm in a food is already thought to be a considerable level," Torroba explains. "Several of the fresh tuna and swordfish samples we analysed exceed and even double this amount. This is why experts recommend that pregnant women reduce their weekly intake of certain types of fish, such as swordfish, due to possible risks to the foetus." In this context, a study led by researchers from the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research of the Community of Valencia (FISABIO, for its Spanish abbreviation) and the Spanish Consortium for Research on Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP, for its Spanish abbreviation) has shown that there is an association between prenatal mercury exposure and reduced placenta size and foetal growth. The study, carried out within the Environment and Childhood (INMA, for its Spanish initials) mother-child cohort project, aimed to evaluate this link using data on 1,869 newborns from different regions of Spain (Valencia, Sabadell, Asturias and Guipúzcoa). One of the largest studies carried out to date in order to determine mercury levels in umbilical cord blood samples and its association with different reproductive effects: measurements of foetal development (weight, height and head circumference at birth), placental weight, duration of pregnancy and risk of premature birth. The findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, show a relatively high average mercury concentration in umbilical cord blood (8.2 micrograms per litre), with a 24% of samples exceeding the WHO's provisional tolerable weekly intake equivalent. "A double in the cord blood mercury concentrations (e.g. a change in the concentration from 8 to 16 micrograms per litre) is associated to a 7.7 gram reduction in the weight of the placenta and also shows a pattern of negative association with the newborn's head circumference," explain Mario Murcia and Ferran Ballester, co-authors of the study. "However no relation was found with other parameters, such as duration of pregnancy." The results of the INMA project suggest that prenatal mercury exposure may, therefore, be affecting the development of the placenta and foetal growth. Although the magnitude of these potential effects is small, reduced placental weight has been linked to the risk of high blood pressure in adulthood. Head circumference, in turn, has been associated with subsequent cognitive development. Despite preventive and surveillance measures are been considered for foods, due to the positive effects on health that are also linked to consuming fish, the researchers urge for public health efforts in order to reduce human mercury emissions. José García-Calvo, Saúl Vallejos, Félix C. García, Josefa Rojo, José M. García, Tomás Torroba. "A smart material for the in situ detection of mercury in fish". Chemical Communications 52, 11915, 2016.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

THERE’S no end in sight to the bird flu epidemic, which has struck poultry farms across Europe and the Middle East. Some 800,000 exposed, free-range ducks and geese are set to be slaughtered in south-west France this month to stop the H5N8 virus spreading further. Meanwhile, nine mute swans carrying the virus have died at a major colony at Abbotsbury in Dorset, UK, and 40 more swans may also have died from it. This flu strain has also been killing other bird species, including endangered ones, says the European Food Safety Authority. Infected white-tailed eagles, as well as peregrine falcons, crows and gulls, have been found dead in Europe. These birds may have caught the virus after eating birds killed by flu. “Given the pattern of spread, the virus is probably being carried by migrating ducks” “Given the pattern of spread, and the weather we have seen, I think it is being carried by mallard ducks on the short migrations they make during winter,” says Ab Osterhaus at the Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses in Hannover, Germany. H5N8 doesn’t seem to be a threat to humans. It is similar to H5N1, a bird flu strain that has killed hundreds of people, but is thought to be less likely to jump to people. The winter flu season is just getting started in Europe, but fortunately H5N8 is believed to be unlikely to hybridise with human flu viruses – an occurrence that would pose a severe threat. This article appeared in print under the headline “Flu still killing birds”

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