PARMA, Italy – Opinions on the safety and efficacy of feed additives submitted by manufacturers for re-evaluation in the E.U. were recently published by the European Food Safety Authority’s (E.F.S.A.’s) FEEDAP Panel. The panel is re-evaluating all feed additives currently on the market, authorized under the previous regulatory framework, and in line with current E.U. legislation on feed additives for use in animal nutrition.

The goal of this work is to ensure all feed additives in Europe are re-assessed following the same, up-to-date guidelines taking into account the newest scientific developments.

More than 30 feed additive applications for re-evaluation have already been received by E.F.S.A. In addition, the FEEDAP Panel is continuing to assess new additives submitted for authorization in the E.U., or new uses for additives already authorized. To date E.F.S.A. has evaluated more than 200 feed additive applications.

Feed additives are used to improve animal feed to enhance flavor, or to make feed more digestible and include preservatives, antioxidants, flavorings and vitamins. There are currently approximately 2,800 feed additives on the E.U. market. To maintain these products on the market, the feed industry has to submit applications to the European Commission and E.F.S.A. containing the scientific data needed to underpin the re-evaluation of their products. E.F.S.A. has also prepared a series of technical guidance documents, following public consultations, to help applicants to prepare the applications.

E.F.S.A.’s FEEDAP Panel evaluates the potential impact of feed additives on animal and human health and on the environment. All feed additives containing micro-organisms are also tested for their possible resistance to antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine.

There are two types of known antimicrobial resistance in micro-organisms — intrinsic and acquired. Intrinsic resistance means resistance to an antimicrobial forms part of the micro-organism’s own genetic make-up. Although this trait can be then passed on to the next generation, the risk of transfer to another micro-organism, plant or animal cell is considered to be negligible. Acquired resistance means that a micro-organism has, by acquiring external genetic material, become resistant to a certain antimicrobial. Micro-organisms with acquired antimicrobial resistance can potentially spread that resistance to other organisms.

If this is the case, E.F.S.A. would consider this a potential cause for concern.

The FEEDAP Panel has completed a re-evaluation of the safety and efficacy of Cylactin, a feed additive used in diets for chickens for fattening. Cylactin is a microbial feed additive based on a strain of lactic acid bacteria (Enterococcus faecium), which has had a history of use with both animals and humans. The initial assessment showed the strain of lactic acid bacteria used in this product is more resistant to kanamycin than most other strains of Enterococcus faecium.

Following a thorough review of the data, including the full genome sequence the panel concluded the antimicrobial resistance was not acquired; therefore, the risk that the bacteria might transfer kanamycin resistance to other organisms is not a cause for concern.

The panel concluded Cylactin is effective as a feed additive used for chickens for fattening and that there is no evidence that its use results in adverse effects for the target animals, human health or the environment.