The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has requested the Norwegian Scientific Committee for food safety (VKM) to conduct a risk assessment of the link between antimicrobial resistance and the content of potentially toxic metals in soil and fertilising products.
Like all natural elements the potentially toxic metals arsenic, cadmium, Chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc are present in soil. These elements are also found as contaminants in fertilising materials.
In recent years there has been increasing focus on antimicrobial resistance. It is also known that some potentially toxic metals in soil and fertiliser products, like cadmium, zink and copper, can play a role in the development of resistance and cross or co-resistance in bacteria.
These resistant bacteria and the resistance genes can possibly be spread both to those who handle the manure and to the environment. In addition the genes giving resistance may possibly spread further to those who handle the manure and to the environment.
Terms of reference
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority would like VKM to give an opinion on the following questions related to the influence of potentially toxic metals on antimicrobial resistance:
- Can the content of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), Chromium (CrIII + CrVI), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) levels in soil and fertilising products that are relevant for Norway play a role in the development, spreading and persistence of bacterial resistance to these elements as well as cross or co-resistance to antimicrobial agents?
VKM's panel on Biological Hazards will assess and approve the report.
The report will be published in the middle of October 2017.