Bees and pesticides: third consultation on guidance review

Animal HealthBeesEnvironmentToxicology

In March 2019, the European Commission (EC) mandated EFSA to revise its 2013 guidance document on the risk assessment of plant protection products and bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees) (EFSA, 2013), which was republished in 2014 following feedback from MSs collected during a workshop organised by the EC.
EFSA has considered both the complexity of the subject and the stakeholder and public interest of the subject in question, and has established an ad-hoc stakeholder consultation group that will be consulted at various stages of development of the work to provide input to the EFSA scientific working group. The Consultation Group together with Member State pesticide network have been asked for feedback on the proposed approach for revising tier 1 risk assessment schemes, with a focus on crop attractiveness and risk assessment methodologies.
EFSA will continue to consult stakeholders and Member State experts throughout the process. A full public consultation and workshop will take place when the guidance document has been drafted.

For ore information see:

Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route, according to EFSA

EpidemiologyFood Safety

EFSA’s chief scientist, Marta Hugas, said: “Experiences from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), show that transmission through food consumption did not occur. At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is any different in this respect.”
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) informs that while animals in China were the likely source of the initial infection, the virus is spreading from person to person – mainly  vi a respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.
Scientists and authorities across the world are monitoring the spread of the virus and there have not been any reports of transmission through food. For this reason, EFSA is not currently involved in the response to the COVID-19 outbreaks.
Regarding food safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued precautionary recommendations including advice on following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands, cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods.

For more information see:

SARS-CoV-2 infection among domestic animals


Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy): “There is no evidence that domestic animals are playing a role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, whose predominant route of transmission is from human to human. However, veterinary surveillance and experimental studies suggest that domestic animals can occasionally be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, so it is important to protect the pets of COVID-19 patients limiting their exposure to the virus.
After leaving its potential wild animal reservoir, SARS-CoV-2 has quickly spread to all continents as the human species proved to be a receptive population, allowing effective intra-species transmission. The virus is now widely distributed among humans and, in some cases, seems to affect also the animals that share their lives and homes. As at 2 April 2020, 800,000 human cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, compared to only 4 cases of pets testing positive for SARS-CoV-2: two dogs and one cat in Hong Kong and one cat in Belgium. All of these animals are believed to have been infected by their owners, who had COVID-19″…

Fore more information see:

Novel coronavirus (19): China (HU) transmission dynamics


Information from a variety of sources suggests that this novel virus is a recombinant betacoronavirus of animal origin that emerged in November or December 2019, likely at the Wuhan Seafood Market. Epidemiological analysis was initiated after recognition of a market-linked pneumonia cluster in late December. Notwithstanding the name of the “Wuhan Seafood Market”, the market sells large numbers of live animals, including wild animals, which are kept in close proximity to one another, perhaps facilitating viral recombination. Similar disrupted ecology contributed to the emergence of SARS.

The emergence of many cases of a novel, animal-derived pathogen in a live animal market, over a short time period was suggestive of a point source outbreak with animal-to-human spread,assuming that the initial cluster of approximately 40 cases was largely a result of such transmission, with little human-to-human transmission. However, on [23 Jan 2020], the WHO released the report of its IHR Emergency Committee for nCoV; the report noted that “4th generation transmission” was occurring. Several estimates of R0 appeared from independent groups around the same time; these estimates were remarkable in their consistency, ranging from 1.4 to 3.8 (refs. 2-7).

Such consistency despite limited data availability and disparate methods employed for estimation provides a degree of face validity to these estimates. I note that these estimates are likely skewed upwards by the greater recognition of larger case clusters and super-spreader events (there has been at least one 14-case cluster in a hospital), and also by the possibility that later cases are being recognized more completely than earlier cases, all of which would have the tendency of biasing R0 estimates upwards. I’ll assume that the lower bound R0 (around 2) is probably about right, and also that this is consistent with estimates from SARS coronavirus, which shares substantial genetic similarity with nCoV.

For more informations