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Report no: 2006: 43
Requested by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) has done a risk assessment of BioProtein used as a protein source in feed. This is a revised risk assessment based on additional documents that VKM did not have accessible when they initially assessed BioProtein in March 2006.
BioProtein® (BP) is a trademark for single cell (bacteria) protein, based on conversion of methane, with the addition of ammonia and oxygen, to a protein source.
BP is produced by Norferm AS in Norway, and has been authorized by the EU as a protein source in animal feeds since 1995, for fattening pigs, calves and salmon.
Effect studies with BP have been done on various animal species. Concerning terrestrial species, the concern with BP is its effect on the immune system and weight, whereas studies on salmon have shown effects on weight and intestines, and also different immune responses.
However, relatively few studies have been done on the species that are intended fed with BP, and the set-up in the various studies differs. Consequently there are qualitative and quantitative uncertainties related to the effects of BP in the species that are intended fed with BP.
The panel on animal feed is of the opinion that a mixture percentage of 6% in the feed for terrestrial species and 10% for salmon feed (both fresh and sea water fish) will reduce the risk related to the potential negative effects in the animals.
The panel considers the risk associated with human consumption of products from animals fed on BP negligible.
However, the production of single cell protein for feed production represents a relatively new scientific approach, which implies precautionary handling.
The panel on animal feed was responsible for the risk assessment.