Published Date: 2002-06-01 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> BSE - European Union: source
Archive Number: 20020601.4379
BSE - EUROPEAN UNION: SOURCE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 31 May 2002
From: Dr Paul Vossen <Paul.Vossen@cec.eu.int>
[ProMED-mail's post "BSE - Japan (03): Source" (20020518.4253) of 18 May
2002 dealt with the possible role of milk replacers in the epidemiology of
BSE; recent discussions of the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of the
European Union (EU) were mentioned. For additional data, we have approached
the EU headquarters in Brussels. ProMED-mail is most grateful for the
following reply, obtained from Dr Paul Vossen, Scientific Secretary of the
SSC. - Mod.AS]
The Scientific Steering Committee of the EU is indeed working on a
quantitative assessment of the possible residual BSE risk in bovine-derived
products such as tallow, gelatine, and dicalcium phosphate (DCP). The
possible BSE risk from milk replacers could then be deduced from
information such as the type, purity, and amounts of animal fats used in
milk replacers, the daily consumption, etc.
Currently, a specialised working group is preparing a (not yet publicly
available) report containing proposals for the basic assumptions and input
data to be used in the risk assessment (for example: amounts consumed by
humans and animals; ratio ruminant/non ruminant raw materials; geographical
origin of the raw materials; TSE infectivity reduction by processing; etc).
This report has been provided to a number of stakeholders -- mainly large
industrial associations of fat producers, gelatine producers, DCP
producers, etc with the request to possibly correct the proposed figures
related to production and to provide where necessary additional
information. Last week, the last feedback has been received and the above
report will now be updated. Once this is done, the data, assumptions and
hypotheses will be used to run a number of scenarios and to calculate the
corresponding residual risk. These scenarios will address various
questions, such as: what if the vertebral column is removed/not removed?
what if the BSE incidence is low/high? what if a production process is used
with a high/low clearance factor; what if a spinal cord is included,
accidentally, in a batch of bones for the production of gelatine; what if
the species barrier is high/low/absent; etc.
A similar assessment has been prepared by the SSC in April 2000, resulting
in a preliminary report. However, no final, adopted opinion was achieved.
One of the reasons for that was that the large number of assumptions and
unknowns, as well as the range of possible values related to each parameter
-- would eventually complicate the obtained risk assessment or even make it
useless. It is hoped that the current 2002 exercise might be more
successful, in view of more precise data and research outcome recently
becoming available. Examples are: new results on the clearance capacity of
various gelatine and DCP production processes; updated, more accurate
production and consumption data on tallow, gelatine, and DCP.
We hoped to have the final report by the end of June, but this might be
overoptimistic: given the workload of the experts involved, as well as the
involved EU staff, September or even October 2002 seem to be more realistic.
Paul Vossen (Ir PhD)
Scientific Secretary, Scientific Steering Committee,
Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General