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Issue Papers - IP36 - October 2007

Controlled human studies have revealed a diverse range of health benefits from consumption of probiotics, due largely to their impact on immune function or on microbes colonizing the body.This publication reviews the literature on probiotics, describes the characteristics of probiotics, discusses the microbes that colonize the human body, and explains how probiotics can treat and prevent disease.The paper also addresses safety issues of probiotic use, suggests future developments, and provides research and policy recommendations.Chair: Mary Ellen Sanders, Dairy and Food Culture Technologies, Centennial, Colorado. IP 36, October 2007, 20 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP35 - May 2007

PART 6, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY."This paper describes the potential for transgenic livestock to advance the development of new medications for the treatment of human disease.Two techniques discussed in this paper are the predominant methods used to produce transgenic livestock, pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).The paper offers a brief overview of current production methods and challenges, and addresses economic, regulatory, and societal factors that impact the commercialization of products and treatments derived from transgenic animals.An appendix provides an in-depth description of the SCNT methodology.Chair: Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland, College Park. IP 35, May 2007, 12 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2006-3 - November 2006

Recent dramatic increases in energy costs are having a direct bearing on all agricultural activities within the United States.This Commentary discusses the use of energy in agriculture and the food industry in light of current federal and state policies.Energy production from bio-sources also is addressed. Chair: Kenneth Cassman, University of Nebraska. QTA2006-3, 12 pp., November 2006. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

Issue Papers - IP33 - July 2006

PART 4, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY."Manure from food animals is a valuable source of fertilizer, but concentrations of manure nutrients and metals may exceed needs for plant growth and cause environmental pollution.Biotechnology has emerged as one of the most effective tools for monitoring manure nutrient composition.This paper reviews the existing biotechnology (including novel technology) applied to manage animal manure nutrients and discusses potential biotechnology derived by genomics approaches.It also addresses specific areas of plant-, animal-, microorganism-, and diet-based approaches for management; models of potential benefits of biotechnology; and industrial, societal, and governmental issues.Chair: Xingen Lei, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. IP 33, July 2006, 20 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP34 - July 2006

PART 5, "ANIMAL AGRICULTURE'S FUTURE THROUGH BIOTECHNOLOGY."As the global land area of biotechnology-derived crops continues to increase, these crops have become an increasingly important source of feedstuffs for farm animals, and it is important to review the safety of meat, milk, and eggs derived from animals fed these crops.This paper addresses topics including an overview of regulatory assessments for biotechnology-derived crops modified for agronomic input traits; comparative safety assessment process; results of feeding studies in farm animals; and the fate of consumed proteins and DNA in livestock. Chair: Richard Phipps, University of Reading, Reading, UK.IP 34, July 2006, 8 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP32 - June 2006

As an industrial chemical, acrylamide has been studied extensively for more than 40 years, resulting in a broad base of scientific knowledge covering various toxicological endpoints, metabolism, kinetics, mode of action, and health effects in animals. Very little scientific evidence is available in humans, particularly with respect to food.This paper covers research concerning the occurrence of acrylamide in food, including formation and detection; methods of mitigation and reduction; dietary exposure; toxicology and epidemiology; and the elements of accurate, effective risk communications. Cochairs:David Lineback, University of Maryland, College Park, and Michael Pariza, University of Wisconsin, Madison.IP 32, June 2006, 16 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

Issue Papers - IP31 - June 2006

Protecting the public from food safety risks, while maintaining a viable agricultural and food industry in an open society, is a daunting task.Risk analysis provides a systematic and transparent process for gathering information, estimating risks, weighing options, drawing conclusions, and communicating information to arrive at decisions that meet broad societal needs.This paper identifies and defines the components of a valid microbial risk analysis and focuses attention on risk assessment strategies, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. Cochairs:Lee-Ann Jaykus, North Carolina State University, and Sherri Dennis, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland.IP 31, June 2006, 20 pp., FREE. Available online ( AND in print (515-292-2125; fee for shipping/handling).

CAST Commentaries - QTA2006-2 - April 2006

Although much of the concern about a possible pandemic outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza revolves around human health outcomes, the potential repercussions on trade issues will also be significant. The United States is a major exporter of poultry products amounting to approximately $2 billion worth of broilers, turkeys, and eggs annually. International reporting of an avian influenza outbreak could have the effect of virtually stopping this trade--and that in other countries as well--overnight. Chair: Toby Moore, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, Stone Mountain, Georgia. QTA2006-2, 8 pp., April 2006. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

CAST Commentaries - QTA2006-1 - January 2006

The reported number of bird deaths and subsequent human deaths resulting from exposure to influenza A-infected birds has increased steadily, making front-page news worldwide. Although human viruses do not generally infect birds and bird viruses do not generally infect humans, certain influenza A viruses have historically exhibited an unusual ability to mutate and infect more than one host species. Drawing from sound past and current research, the authors provide an assessment of the real threat of an upcoming avian influenza outbreak and possible pandemic. Co-authors: Donna Carver, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, and Elizabeth Krushinskie, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Tucker, Georgia. QTA2006-1, 7 pp., January 2006. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.

CAST Commentaries - QTA2005-2 - October 2005

This CAST Commentary provides an up-to-date evaluation of the use of biotechnology in crop production.The concise, fact-based document addresses the science behind the issues. Chair: Bruce Chassy, University of Illinois, Urbana. QTA2005-2, 6 pp., October 2005. AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY.