Australian Government invites comment on proposal to release commercial GM E. coli chicken vaccine
The Australian Government’s Gene Technology Regulator is currently assessing a license application from the Australian arm of global animal research company Zoetis for a commercial release of a genetically modified (GM) poultry vaccine that provides immunity to E.coli infection and disease.
The Gene Technology Regulator said that, subject to any State government requirements imposed for marketing reasons and approvals by other regulatory authorities, the proposed release would be Australia wide.
The GM vaccine will be subject to any State government requirements imposed for marketing reasons as well as to approval by other relevant regulatory authorities, including the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, which regulates the use of vaccines in chickens.
Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is a leading animal health company with more than 60 years of experience in animal health. The Company discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 27 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries.
Other animal vaccines recently developed by Zoetis include a vaccine to help fight porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in pigs. Earlier in September 2014, Zoetis was granted a conditional license by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release the PEDv vaccine in the US.
The Australian Gene Technology Regulator said a consultation Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) has been prepared for the E.coli chicken vaccine, which concludes that the proposed release would pose negligible risk to human health and safety or to the environment. Draft licence conditions are proposed to ensure ongoing oversight of the release.
The Regulator has welcomed written submissions to inform the decision on whether or not to issue a licence. The consultation RARMP and related documents can be obtained from the OGTR website under ‘What’s New’ or by contacting the Office. Please quote application DIR 125 in any correspondence.
Submissions should be received by close of business on 31 October 2014.
Australian chicken meat consumption
Australian Food News reported in June 2013 that chicken meat had maintained its place as Australia’s most popular meat, ahead of all red meats, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
ABARES found that Australians ate more chicken meat in 2012-13 than the combined total of beef and lamb. In 2012-13, Australians ate an average of 44.6 kg of chicken meat per person, compared to 32.8 kg of beef and 9.5 kg of lamb.
Chicken consumption to grow
The popularity of chicken meat was also expected to continue. ABARES found that chicken consumption had risen almost 1 per cent in the 2012-13, and was expected to continue to maintain its place as the most popular meat in the next few years.
ABARES estimated that chicken meat consumption in Australia will continue to rise, reaching 47kg per person by 2017-18.
According to ABARES, the growth in chicken meat consumption is mainly due to its lower prices.
Australian egg industry
According to the Australian Egg Corporation Limited’s (AECL) 2013 Annual Report, Australia’s 301 egg farms produced 397 million dozen eggs in 2012. The industry had a gross value of $583.4m per annum in 2011/12.
Australians ate approximately 213 eggs per capita in the year to December 2012, with 134.3 million dozen eggs sold.