News Article | November 23, 2016
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The first case of H5N8 bird flu has been detected in Sweden amid a recent outbreak of the disease in Europe, the Swedish Board of Agriculture said on Wednesday.
PubMed | University of Turku, Vallnasvagen 3, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Acta veterinaria Scandinavica | Year: 2016
During the pre-slaughter period, animals experience novel environment and procedures which may cause reduced welfare and suffering. Over the last decades, the slaughter industry has restructured into fewer and larger abattoirs, implying potential risks of transport stress, injuries, and impaired animal welfare. Since recently, however, there is growing interest in small-scale slaughter to supply locally or regionally produced meat. Risk managers at all levels thus need to assess animal welfare risks also at small-scale operations. This study aimed to assess risks of poor animal welfare at small-scale lamb slaughter (5000 sheep/year and70 sheep/day) in Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland, and to compare these risks to large-scale industrial slaughter. Assessment was done applying an individual expert opinion approach during a 2-day workshop. Nine experts in lamb slaughter procedures, behaviour, physiology, health, scoring schemes and/or risk assessment provided estimates of exposure, likelihood of negative consequences following exposure, and intensity and duration of negative consequences for 71 hazards. The methods applied mainly adhered to the risk assessment guidelines of the European Food Safety Authority. The list of hazards was modified from an earlier study and distributed to the experts before the assessment. No other literature was reviewed specifically for the purpose of the assessment.The highest risks to animal welfare identified in both small- and large-scale slaughter were related to inadequate conditions during overnight lairage at the slaughter plant. For most hazards, risk estimates were lower in small-scale slaughter. The reverse was true for splitting of groups and separation of one sheep from the group.Small-scale slaughter has a potential for improved sheep welfare in comparison with large-scale industrial slaughter. Keeping the animals overnight at the slaughterhouse and prolonged fasting before slaughter should be avoided. Solutions include continuing education and training of stockpersons and, especially in large-scale slaughter, application of existing techniques for efficient transport logistics that minimise stress.
News Article | November 17, 2015
CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique, invented in collaboration with researchers at Umeå University, allowing scientists to make small edits in the genetic material of an organism, edits that can also occur naturally. Instead of hoping that such edits occur by natural recombination, they can now be deliberately introduced in a targeted and precise manner. CRISPR-Cas9 can thus be used in many ways in plant science and breeding. Plants that fall within the scope of EU GMO legislation are subject to a very strict regulatory regime (in reality making it impossible to grow them in the field in most EU countries). Plants that fall outside the scope can be grown without restriction. Since "inside or outside of the GMO definition" will decide whether or not plant scientists will be able to use the technique for practical applications, plant scientists and breeders have been waiting for the authorities' decision concerning CRISPR-Cas9. Outside the EU, countries such as Argentina have announced that similarly edited plants fall outside their GMO legislation, but no decision has been taken yet inside the EU. A complicating factor is that the technique can be used in several different ways with the consequence that some of the resulting plants may fall outside while others may fall inside the GMO legislation. Now, for the first time, concrete examples have been evaluated by a competent authority, and the Swedish Board of Agriculture announced today their opinion that some Arabidopsis plants that have been modified using CRISPR-Cas9 fall within the scope of the legislation while others do not. "The decision by the Swedish Board of Agriculture is the only logical one," says Stefan Jansson, professor at Umeå Plant Science Centre and Umeå University. He and his colleagues have used several techniques, including CRISPR-Cas9, to produce plants ("mutants") lacking a particular protein, PsbS, which is a so-called safety valve in photosynthesis. Science treats them as equivalents, nevertheless some of them clearly fall within the scope of the GMO legislation while other fall outside, illustrating the problem with the current GMO definition. "What we now have done pinpoints the problem; using CRISPR-Cas9 we can create a plant that in ALL aspects is identical to one that is not considered to be a GMO. Common sense and scientific logic says that it is impossible to have two identical plants where growth of one is, in reality, forbidden while the other can be grown with no restrictions; how would a court be able to decide if the cultivation was a crime or not? But regulatory logic is not necessarily the same as scientific logic, and it is therefore important that the Swedish Board of Agriculture has interpreted the definition in this way," continues Stefan Jansson. The particular case only affects our basic research on the mechanisms of photosynthetic light harvesting, but this interpretation opens up the possibility that this technique can be used to address some of the biggest challenges for mankind, expressed in the sustainable development goals recently suggested by the United Nations. Jens Sundström, associate professor and lecturer at the Linnean Centre for Plant Biology in Uppsala works with a gene, AI20, assumed to be important for stamen development and therefore pollen production. "We hope that this clear and logical interpretation will also be applied to other similar cases. The EU commission announced some time ago that it would present its interpretation of the legislation, but has not yet been able to come to an agreement. All 'GMO issues' divide the EU and this has led to paralysis for more than a decade. We think that the opinion by the Swedish Board of Agriculture will get a lot of international attention," says Jens Sundström.
Osterman Lind E.,National Veterinary Institute SVA |
Juremalm M.,National Veterinary Institute SVA |
Christensson D.,National Veterinary Institute SVA |
Widgren S.,National Veterinary Institute SVA |
And 6 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2011
Surveillance for the fox tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis, has been carried out in Sweden since 2000, with about 300 red foxes analysed annually. We report the first finding of E. multilocularis in Sweden, in a fox shot in December 2010 in the south-west of the country. A second infected fox shot in the same location was detected in March 2011. This paper describes the national monitoring programme and the ongoing work to estimate the prevalence and spread of the infection.
PubMed | Swedish Board of Agriculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Public Health Agency of Sweden, Swedish Animal Health Service and National Veterinary Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015
Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in human, as well as in veterinary medicine. Part of the problem concerns how to respond to the risk presented by animal reservoirs of resistant bacteria with the potential of spreading to humans. One example is livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA). In countries where LA-MRSA is endemic in the pig population, people in contact with pigs have a higher risk of being colonised with LA-MRSA, and persons from this group are subjected to precautionary measures when visiting health care facilities. In the present study, it is assumed that, if LA-MRSA was introduced to the Swedish pig population, the prevalence in the risk groups would be the same as in Denmark or the Netherlands (two countries with low human prevalence that have implemented measures to detect, trace and isolate human LA-MRSA cases and, therefore, have comprehensive data with good coverage regarding prevalence of LA-MRSA), and that similar interventions would be taken in Swedish health care facilities. It is also assumed that the Swedish pig population is free of MRSA or that the prevalence is very low. We analyse if it would be efficient for Sweden to prevent its introduction by testing imported live breeding pigs. Given that quarantining and testing at import will prevent introduction to the pig population, the study shows that the preventive measures may indeed generate a societal net benefit. Benefits are estimated to be between 870 720 and 1 233 511, and costs to 211 129. Still, due to gaps in knowledge, the results should be confirmed when more information become available.
Mejersjo E.-M.,Swedish Board of Agriculture
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2010
In 1988, the Swedish Parliament decided on a special action programme for improving the environmental performance of agriculture. This was a result of the attention that problems with eutrophication attracted. At that time, the measures in the action programme mostly concerned areas with intensive agriculture and coastal areas. They focused on adapting plant nutrient supply to its specific need, on limiting pollution and on increasing the share of land under green cover in winter. The action programme has since been expanded to include measures for reducing ammonia losses from agriculture as well, and it has been revised and updated twice. The agricultural measures based on the action programme contribute both to reach the goals decided in Sweden, like the environmental quality objectives, and to reach international agreements and directives.
Rundlof M.,Lund University |
Andersson G.K.S.,Lund University |
Bommarco R.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
Fries I.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences |
And 7 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015
Understanding the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees is vital because of reported declines in bee diversity and distribution and the crucial role bees have as pollinators in ecosystems and agriculture. Neonicotinoids are suspected to pose an unacceptable risk to bees, partly because of their systemic uptake in plants, and the European Union has therefore introduced a moratorium on three neonicotinoids as seed coatings in flowering crops that attract bees. The moratorium has been criticized for being based on weak evidence, particularly because effects have mostly been measured on bees that have been artificially fed neonicotinoids. Thus, the key question is how neonicotinoids influence bees, and wild bees in particular, in real-world agricultural landscapes. Here we show that a commonly used insecticide seed coating in a flowering crop can have serious consequences for wild bees. In a study with replicated and matched landscapes, we found that seed coating with Elado, an insecticide containing a combination of the neonicotinoid clothianidin and the non-systemic pyrethroid β-cyfluthrin, applied to oilseed rape seeds, reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions. Hence, such insecticidal use can pose a substantial risk to wild bees in agricultural landscapes, and the contribution of pesticides to the global decline of wild bees may have been underestimated. The lack of a significant response in honeybee colonies suggests that reported pesticide effects on honeybees cannot always be extrapolated to wild bees. ©2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Mattsson K.,Swedish Board of Agriculture
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015
Trade standards provide a product description that serves as a basis for commercial agreements between seller and buyer. When they contain quality classes (extra, I and II), different prices can be set. Today the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission draw up quality standards for fresh fruits and vegetables, and both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNECE interpret standards. To be useful to traders, quality standards need to reflect current production and trade practices. A standard should be applicable in all regions where it is used; otherwise it will become a technical barrier to trade. By providing commonly agreed product descriptions, standards clarify the buyers' requirements for producers, sorters and packers. This reduces misunderstandings and returns. Quality standards can increase waste by limiting the lowest acceptable quality, if there is a demand for products of a quality below the standard's lowest acceptable limit and if it is compulsory to apply the standards. But if standards correctly reflect market requirements, they will not increase waste since buyers would have the same requirements even if standards did not exist. To some extent, the influence between standard-setting and market requirements is reciprocal. When standards are being drafted or changed, requirements need to be set at the correct level. "Cosmetic" requirements with no effect on eating quality, keeping quality or nutritional value may increase waste and/or use of pesticides and fungicides without improving consumer eating satisfaction. Greater consumer knowledge and awareness, however, would lead to less waste and less use of chemicals. Thus, producers, traders, retailers, consumers and standard-setting bodies all have a role in reducing waste and the use of chemicals in the production and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables.
PubMed | Swedish Board of Agriculture and National Veterinary Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Transboundary and emerging diseases | Year: 2015
Extensive and rapid spread of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in Sweden was detected by consecutive serological bulk milk surveys conducted before and after the vector season of 2012. Whereas <0.2% of cattle herds tested positive in a first survey in spring 2012, SBV-specific antibodies were detected in almost 75% of 723 bulk milk samples randomly collected all over the country 6 months later, beyond the 65th northern latitude, and with an observed spatial distribution suggesting multiple introductions of the virus. Circulation of virus was later confirmed by the detection of SBV in malformed lambs and calves starting from November 2012 and January 2013, respectively. These observations suggest SBV circulation starting from July 2012, with a peak in transmission between August and October. A local heterogeneity of within-herd seroprevalence was found, indicating that SBV-nave animals remain also in highly infected areas enabling the re-emergence of the infection in the coming vector season.
PubMed | Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Lund University and Swedish Board of Agriculture
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Nature | Year: 2015
Understanding the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees is vital because of reported declines in bee diversity and distribution and the crucial role bees have as pollinators in ecosystems and agriculture. Neonicotinoids are suspected to pose an unacceptable risk to bees, partly because of their systemic uptake in plants, and the European Union has therefore introduced a moratorium on three neonicotinoids as seed coatings in flowering crops that attract bees. The moratorium has been criticized for being based on weak evidence, particularly because effects have mostly been measured on bees that have been artificially fed neonicotinoids. Thus, the key question is how neonicotinoids influence bees, and wild bees in particular, in real-world agricultural landscapes. Here we show that a commonly used insecticide seed coating in a flowering crop can have serious consequences for wild bees. In a study with replicated and matched landscapes, we found that seed coating with Elado, an insecticide containing a combination of the neonicotinoid clothianidin and the non-systemic pyrethroid -cyfluthrin, applied to oilseed rape seeds, reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions. Hence, such insecticidal use can pose a substantial risk to wild bees in agricultural landscapes, and the contribution of pesticides to the global decline of wild bees may have been underestimated. The lack of a significant response in honeybee colonies suggests that reported pesticide effects on honeybees cannot always be extrapolated to wild bees.