EU AMR action plan: animal nutrition is part of the solution

FEFAC, representing the EU compound feed and premix industry, welcomes the publication of the new EU AMR Action Plan with its three pillars: i) Making the EU a best-practice region, ii) Boosting research, development & innovation and iii) Shaping the global agenda.

The EU Commission has in particular identified as key action for a better control and prevention of AMR to continue to promote animal husbandry, including aquaculture and livestock farming systems, and feeding regimes, which support good animal health and welfare to help reduce the need for antibiotics at farm level. This is a clear recognition of the contribution animal nutrition science can provide in the fight against AMR, in line with the conclusions of the EFSA-EMA RONAFA report issued in January 2017: “Safe and nutritionally balanced feed are effective preventive measures to help animals to cope with pathogens by enhancing the overall animal health & welfare status through specific feeding strategies, feed composition, feed formulations or feed processing.”

The EU prohibition on the use of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in 2006 boosted the feed sector’s innovation capacity. A number of feed ingredients, in combination with improved processing technology, have shown to play an effective role in fostering the natural defences of animals and optimising gut health. However, FEFAC expected that the EU Commission would have put a higher priority on public funding of research to prove the safety and efficacy of some of the innovative feed solutions listed in the RONAFA report. FEFAC is concerned that some of these solutions may even disappear from the market in absence of public funding. FEFAC also calls for an improved regulatory framework on authorisation of feed additives, feed labelling and claims on nutritional benefits for maintaining a good animal health status, in order to facilitate transfer of nutritional knowledge and innovative solutions to the farm level.

FEFAC shares the view expressed in the RONAFA report that the fight against AMR also requires strong cooperation among stakeholders at national level. FEFAC, therefore, would like to stress the need for national authorities to ensure coordination of efforts undertaken by all relevant stakeholders in national AMR action plans. Chain partners with close connections to livestock farmers (e.g. feed suppliers, veterinarians, animal health industry) should join forces and create national and local networks of expertise to disseminate best practices and co-ordinate advice to farmers.