EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 09 - 2010 Num. article: 2010/171

The European Food Safety Authority’s opinion on bird seed contaminated with Ambrosia artemisiifolia

Livestock feed, including maize, wheat, sunflower, millet, peanut, soybean, peas and beans, has often been suspected to be potentially contaminated with seeds of Ambrosia artemisiifolia. This question has been studied by the EFSA’s Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) which considered that the role of processed materials in the dissemination of A. artemisiifolia appeared negligible because weed seeds are destroyed during the industrial processing of livestock feed. Indeed, commercial feed for livestock is processed prior to use and the procedures of grinding, pelleting and/or heating almost completely destroy Ambrosia seeds.

In contrast, bird feed used for wild and ornamental birds is often contaminated with seeds of A. artemisiifolia and is generally not processed. Such a commodity may therefore contribute to the dissemination of viable A. artemisiifolia seeds. The EFSA CONTAM Panel considered this point and concluded that bird feed may be an important route of A.;artemissifolia dispersal, especially in non-infested areas. As a consequence, the use of non-contaminated bird feed is likely to contribute to a reduction of the dispersal of A. artemisiifolia within Europe.


EFSA Website, Scientific Opinion on the effect on public or animal health or on the environment on the presence of seeds of Ambrosia spp. in animal feed. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/scdoc/1566.htm