Last month, FEFAC and FEFANA held a joint high-level EU Conference on ‘Innovation in Animal Nutrition’ in Brussels, which attracted over 170 participants. At this meeting, a vision document was presented, aimed to modernise the feed industry.
In the context of the feed sector's political and economic framework, the event showcased a series of solutions that animal nutrition can provide. The programme featured European Commission officials, feed industry representatives and speakers from the farming sector, academia and the banking sector.
Importance of science and innovation
Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, emphasised in his keynote speech the important role of science and innovation to address key EU challenges and objectives. The Commissioner underlined the example of the EU ban on antibiotic growth promoters in 2006, which triggered a rush of innovative feed additives coming to the market to restore competitiveness of the EU livestock sector. "Innovation in animal nutrition is a vital element in increasing animal health as well as an important step forward on AMR," the Commissioner stated.
Vision of a modern feed industry
FEFAC and FEFANA presented the vision of a modern feed industry that intends to shape a smart, resource efficient Europe through innovation and public-private partnerships. In a vision document, FEFAC and FEFANA outline the feed industry solutions to meet current and future challenges to the EU livestock sector.
Role of animal nutrition in the food chain
FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens stressed the role of animal nutrition in the food chain circular economy. "It is thanks to animal nutrition science that the feed industry is able to annually convert 90 million tonnes of co-products into high-value feed ingredients for food-producing animals. Innovation in the area of alternative feeds as well as feed processing technology make it possible to continuously reduce the feed industry's environmental footprint," he said.
EU approval system for new feed additives needs speeding up
FEFANA President Marco Bruni stated the feed sector has a huge innovation potential to improve the feed efficiency of the EU livestock sector; however, the regulatory approval system for the authorisation of new feed additives needs speeding up. "There is a strong market demand for the products we deliver, but we often find ourselves caught in a slowly operating regulatory approval process. The feed industry vision is therefore also a call on policy makers and risk assessors to streamline the process. Furthermore, investment in scientific research in animal nutrition and in innovation, as well as more stakeholder dialogue, are prerequisites to making the vision happen," Bruni concluded.