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Going the natural way for safer animal feed in Asia By Tanja Schaffer, Vice President Pharmaceutical Industry

Free-range chicken

With global consumers demanding for a halt in the use of antibiotics in animal feed, manufacturers must adapt by supplying safer alternatives to the market.

In some regions of the world antibiotics are still commonly added in livestock diets for several different reasons: treatment, prevention of disease and growth promotion. Despite growing consumer remonstrations, antibiotics continue to be used to keep animals healthy, increase yield and improve producers’ profitability.

In recent years, the use of antibiotics in animal feed has become increasingly restricted and even banned in the European Union. Over in Asia, countries such as India and China are applying similar restrictions as public concern regarding its excessive use in animal feed continues to rise.

Amid the mounting public objection and intensification of government policies, global demand for animal feed continues to rise. As highlighted by Alltech’s 2017 Global Feed Survey, international animal feed tonnage has exceeded one billion metric tons for the first time, with the United States and China combining to produce one-third of global production.

With Asia responsible for 37% of global feed production, making it the world’s top feed-producing region, how are we able to overcome these concerns, but still meet the food and consumption demands of the global market?

Going the natural way

Unfortunately, there is no “magic product” to simply replace antibiotics used in feed for livestock. Amid ever-growing consumption levels of meat and poultry products from a growing population, animal feed-food manufacturers are working hard to come up with alternative, cost-effective ingredients to maintain animals’ health and performance.

Among the methods widely adopted in recent years are organic acids, which are widely found in plants or animal tissues, and phytogenic feed additives derived from herbs, plant extracts, spices and essential oils. Alongside these solutions, scientists and food experts are continuing to explore the use of prebiotics and probiotics as additional performance boosters to help keep off animal diseases.

DKSH recently worked with a Dutch company to promote and distribute a new generation of feed additives that reduces antibiotic levels in animal feed across five countries in South East Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Due to this manufacturer’s unique organic origin blends, these feed additives do not harm the environment, are naturally degradable and offer an effective alternative to antibiotics for animal feed applications.

In conclusion, there is a pressing need for the Asian animal feed market to transform itself into a safer and more sustainable industry. This can be achieved through a combination of good management practices, biosecurity, hygiene procedures and the introduction of alternative additives to reduce the risk of infection on farms.

For me, a good way to achieve this is to replace antibiotics and go the sustainable and natural way.

Tanja Schaffer

About the author

Tanja Schaffer is a doctor in chemistry, based in Switzerland. She is currently responsible for DKSH’s Business Line Pharmaceutical Industry globally (excluding Japan).