‘Further studies on toxoplasma needed’

A risk profile on toxoplasma in the food chain by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) has recommended that further studies are needed to establish the importance of foodborne routes of infection and identify the highest risks. The suggested studies include work to assess the prevalence of toxoplasma in UK livestock and in food.

The ACMSF was asked by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to review the current evidence on toxoplasmosis in humans and animals in the UK, to consider the risks from acquiring infection from food and identify what work may be needed to obtain robust data on foodborne sources of toxoplasmosis.
It also looked at the toxoplasmosis advice given to vulnerable groups in the UK and other countries, and suggested that the current consumer advice to these groups be reviewed.
“This thorough and detailed report points out key gaps in our knowledge about this parasite and suggests areas where more research is needed,” explains FSA chief scientist Andrew Wadge. “This will help us estimate how much infection is due to food and which foods might be the highest risk. The report also suggests we look again at our advice to vulnerable groups and ensure that it reflects current scientific knowledge. We’re going to look carefully at the report’s recommendations and will publish a response in due course.”

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