SfAM responds to inquiry on plant and animal health after Brexit - News & Features
16 April 2018
The Society for Applied Microbiology has submitted written evidence to a House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee inquiry on plant and animal biosecurity after Brexit. The Sub-Committee, chaired by Lord Teverson, is seeking information on the challenges and opportunities the UK Government will face in relation to animal and plant health, food safety and invasive species, as a result of leaving the European Union (EU).
Microorganisms have an enormous impact on the safety of our food and the health of animals and plant life, meaning the application of microbiological science should be enabled and encouraged to flourish as much as possible. Microbes do not respect borders, so microbiologists rely heavily on international collaborations to carry out their vital work in these areas. In turn, microbiology research informs containment and risk mitigation strategies at national and local levels, as well as rapid response to threats such as disease outbreaks.
To ensure that applied microbiologists in the UK continue to have international impact and reach, SfAM focused on the following key recommendations:
- The UK government should support continued collaboration between UK National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) and the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) Network, and ensure UK NRLs have the resource to conduct internationally-leading research.
- HM Government should commit to continued close collaboration and sharing of scientific expertise with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), mirroring its previous dedication to the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
- Biological resource centres (BRCs) are an underused resource in the UK, which ought to be better utilised to access international data and samples of crucially important pests and pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms). UK-based BRCs also require more support to coordinate with industry and the Research Councils under UK Research and Innovation