A2 Corporation Welcomes Release of EFSA Report
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A2 Corporation Welcomes Release of EFSA Report, Agrees with Requirement for More Research.
Auckland 4 February 2009 - A2 Corporation welcomes the release earlier today of the European Food Safety Authority report (EFSA) titled “Review of potential health impact of Beta casomorphins and related peptides”.
The scope of the review encompassed some, but not all, aspects of science associated with a2 Milk™ and extended to include the digested products of cereals and vegetables.
Dr Clarke (A2 Corporation Chief Strategic and Scientific Officer) states ‘though the scope of EFSA’s review extended well beyond the proteins of obvious interest we are pleased and in agreement that more data needs to be generated through research. In fact we and a number of independent international researchers are in the process of doing just that. Such research will not only provide the data required to proceed with analysis and risk assessment, but will serve to identify segments of populations to which it is relevant. ”
This conclusion and view was previously extended by Professor Boyd Swinburn who undertook a similar review on behalf of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) in 2003. Professor Swinburn stated that the need for further research is “abundantly clear” and that “appropriate government agencies have several important responsibilities in this matter: to support further research in the area (especially clinical research)…”
EFSA identifies in the report that further data is required to quantify or determine risk and thus no recommendations can be made in regard to calculating risk assessment.
In conclusion the report noted that a cause and effect relationship will only be able to be established when there is more information available on "the exposure of individual consumers”; and on "quantitative values for the formation of BCM-7”.
“Simply put,” notes Dr Clarke “an assessment cannot be undertaken if key information concerning exposure of consumers to BCM-7 is yet to be determined.”
A2 Corporation is pleased that, though not a stated focus of the review, EFSA clearly identified that BCM-7 (yielded from A1 beta casein) can act as an opioid that can have “different effects in the lumen and intestinal mucosa, such as regulatory effects on gastro-intestinal motility and on gastric and pancreatic secretions.”
Dr Clarke explains in layman’s terms that “there is strong potential for the protein fragment in question, BCM-7, to have wide ranging effects on the digestive system. This is both consistent with the view of the Company and reflected by the multitude of media reports relating to the benefits of a2 Milk™ consumers have experienced.”
Furthermore he points out that “despite a lack of quantitative data on absorption of intact protein fragments by adults, EFSA acknowledges that there are segments of populations susceptible to the potential effects of BCM-7 including babies and adult with certain diseases.”
The EFSA report identified that “in neonates and adults with certain diseases, intestinal permeability has been reported to be significantly increased”, highlighting that, despite a lack of quantitative data on absorption of intact protein fragments by adults, there are segments of populations susceptible to the potential effects of BCM-7.
Dr Clarke does note reference and strong reliance was placed on publications that have since been publically documented and acknowledged to have been seriously compromised in execution as well as design. As reported previously in the media these studies proved to be a limiting factor in conclusions drawn from the 2003 NZFSA review.
Cliff Cook, Chairman of A2 Corporation, says that the Company is confident that regardless of any perceived shortcomings in the science reviewed by EFSA, the experienced benefits reported by consumers provides sufficient reason to be committed to further research that supports the a2 Milk™ proposition.
“We will continue to expand the a2 Milk™ business and meet the rapidly growing consumer demand for our products as well as ensuring that we remain committed to ongoing research” says Cook.
Dr Clarke reaffirms this view and adds “as well as undertaking our own research we will continue to work with research groups overseas and seek to participate in the upcoming review announced by the former Minister for Food Safety last year. This review is expected to focus solely on A1 and A2 beta caseins contained in milk and should take all available information into account.”