Recently identified risks and signals

The identification of emerging risks is an ongoing process. The external communication of emerging risks is a complex task, with the methods, timing and target audience being determined on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the nature of the issue, the target group may be the authority (in particular the National Food Chain Safety Office – NÉBIH), senior managers, the professional community, food businesses or the wider community, consumers interested in the issue, etc. Not only emerging risks requiring action may be communicated, but some issues may also help to promote research or be important due to their educational character, and therefore may be communicated through communication channels such as the DFI's website.

Glyphosate risks and its reevaluation

Glyphosate has been the most widely used herbicide throughout history, both in America and the rest of the world. One of the most well-known products containing glyphosate is the Monsanto company Roundup, which has been used for more than 40 years. Below is a summary of the latest research results on the pesticide and news on its reevaluation.

Pesticides found on flowers, posing pollination threat

A recent study by Trinity College and DCU reveals that pesticides are present in flowers that were not treated with chemicals, posing a threat to pollinators. The research, which is the first multi-field survey of pollen and nectar from crops and wild plants in Ireland, evaluated the residues of fungicides and herbicides in nectar and pollen.

Some Italian regions ask to use Chlorpyrifos

Some wine-growing regions of northern Italy requested an exemption from the chlorpyrifos ban, as they claim that it is the only solution capable of fighting the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus, which is the vector of the vine disease Flavescence dorée.

Feline coronavirus outbreak in Cyprus

Veterinarians have started administering molnupiravir, an anti-Covid drug known as Lagevrio, to cats in Cyprus to address an outbreak of feline coronavirus (FCoV-23) that began in January 2023.

Food and feed from waste

The reduction of food waste and the transition to circular food production are receiving increasing attention worldwide. One of the goals is to create a more sustainable food system, with a focus on minimising food waste and recycling. Initiatives and innovations are helping to make full use of agricultural products, recycle food by-products, and develop conscious consumer habits to reduce losses in the food chain and promote planet-friendly practices.

The true nature of tricalcium phosphate used as food additive

French researchers investigated the physicochemical properties of the food additive tricalcium phosphate (TCP) (E341(iii)) in an article published in June 2023. The additive is used in powder-based foods, e.g. in baby formula, mainly because of its anti-caking properties and as a source of nutrients.

Nanoparticles for wastewater treatment

The application of nanoparticles can be linked to the food chain in many areas. In Ireland, for example, the first known nanoscale flocculant is Z15, which contains iron oxide (Fe3O4) with a size range of 1-60 nm.

New bioactive ingredient for medical food space

A BioFoodTech start-up, has developed a novel bioactive ingredient based on the natural mechanisms found in human breastmilk. The company has isolated exosomes, which are small particles, microRNAs, present in maternal milk.

Global spread of avian influenza (H5N1)

Since the beginning of 2020, there have been severe outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI H5N1) belonging to the clade These outbreaks have been the most serious and significant ever recorded among avian populations in Europe, spanning the epidemic years 2020/21, 2021/22, and continued into the ongoing epidemic in 2022/23 [1].

"Harmless” Listeria species developing pathogenic resistance

Listeria monocytogenes, is a foodborne, pathogenic bacterium, is known worldwide for its resistance to various process (temperature, pH, preservation techniques). However, a recent study in South Africa shows that two non-pathogenic species – L. innocua and L. welshimeri, develop dangerous sequences that are potentially harmful to humans.

Atherigona orientalis, a highly polyphagous and unregulated pest fly

At the 29th meeting of EFSA's Scientific Network on Emerging Risks, the following potentially emerging risk was brought to the attention of the DFI. Atherigona orientalis a pantropical and unregulated species, has recently been reported in mainland Spain, France, and Greece. The species has been intercepted multiple times during import controls in France on shipment originating from tropical countries.

Non-contact surfaces major route of Listeria monocytogenes contamination

The latest study, funded by the Center for Produce Safety (CPS), has disproved the previous assumption that raw materials are the main source of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in processing plants.

Pests in Africa

In Africa, two major agricultural pests have recently been reported.

Influence of environmental factors on the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in poultry farms

A recent study aimed to assess factors that influence the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in chicken manure samples from open environment farms in the United States.

Pesticides and lithium in drinking water

Official reports and scientific studies are raising concerns about the pollution of drinking water and the associated health risks. Issues include potentially carcinogenic pesticide residues and the presence of lithium, which could increase the risk of infantile autism.

Study on PFAS in Danish organic eggs

The new European Union (EU) regulation regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in specific food products has highlighted the necessity for a more sensitive method of PFAS analysis. In response to this need, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has successfully validated such a method, which has subsequently been utilized to analyze eggs obtained from Danish farms.

Silk protein as an edible food wrapper

Silklab at Tufts University has been using silk as a solution for various technological challenges. Scientists have transformed silk into useful materials, such as faux leather, optical sensors and coatings that can extend the shelf life of food.

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