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Reducing the use of antimicrobials: what are the producer’s alternatives?

Reducing the use of antimicrobials: what are the producer’s alternatives?

Reducing the use of antimicrobials in animal production has been increasingly demanded around the world. The producer must prepare, looking for alternatives that guarantee intestinal health and integrity in the production of meat, eggs, milk and dairy products.

The threat of Antimicrobial Resistance

According to the WHO, the Antimicrobial Resistance (RAM) constitutes a significant global threat, as it affects the lives of humans, animals and plants. It makes antimicrobial treatments less effective, increasing the risk of persistent and serious infections. In 2019, the entity estimated that almost 5 million deaths were related to ADR, with 1.27 million directly attributed to it.

The main cause of RAM is indiscriminate use of antimicrobials, both in human and veterinary medicine. However, animal production has had a greater impact on this problem.

Use of antimicrobials in animal production

The responsible use of antimicrobials (ATM) in production animals is indeed important in the specific treatment of infections. However, these medications have been increasingly widely used preventively or non-therapeutically. Currently in animal production, three main ways of applying ATM are known:

Prophylaxis: In order to prevent the emergence of diseases in herds, even before they present clinical signs, antimicrobials are applied for a short period in healthy confined animals that are subject to specific and potentially stressful situations, such as weaning, changes in the environment or management practices.Metaphylaxis: Administration of antimicrobials to groups of sick animals and all their contacts (close, healthy, but possibly infected animals) with the aim of treating and containing the disease.Performance Improving Additives: Antimicrobials are also used in a non-therapeutic, as they present positive results on the zootechnical performance of animals.

Also check out the interview with DBO Play where Marcos Nascimento, Global Technical Coordinator at Aleris Nutrition, explains the impact of the use of antimicrobials in animal production.

The impact of animal production on Antimicrobial Resistance

It is proven in the literature that AMR developed through routine use of antimicrobials in livestock farming, in addition to contributing to the emergence of increasingly persistent and serious infections in animals, it can leave residues in products of animal origin, being transferred to plants and humans.

In addition to direct contact with animals, the consumption of contaminated animal products (meat, eggs, milk and dairy products) can also cause the transfer of AMR to humans. Fertilizing plants with manure contaminated with resistance genes may be responsible for transferring AMR to nature. As a consequence, the consumption of these plants can also cause transfer to humans.

Evolution of global mobilization against Antimicrobial Resistance

Over the years, this challenge has provoked more and more debates and influenced public opinion, allowing governments in different countries to strengthen their policies with judicious rules about use of antibiotics in animal production. 

The most recent advance on the subject was in the European Union, with the creation of standards Regulation (EU) 2019/61 on veterinary medicinal products[i] energetic Regulation (EU) 2019/4 on medicated feed – determining that only sick animals or small groups at high risk of an outbreak can be prescribed antibiotics. It becomes illegal to use antimicrobials prophylactically, either to prevent disease or to compensate for or mask low levels of welfare that result in poor herd performance. This decision could impact Brazilian producers who export products of animal origin to the EU.

Evolution of antimicrobial regulations in Brazil

In recent decades, the list of authorized antimicrobials by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) has suffered a series of limitations according to the risk assessment to animal, human and environmental health.

Available in: https://www.gov.br/agricultura/pt-br/assuntos/insumos-agropecuarios/insumospecuarios/arquivos-de-insumos-pecuarios/Substnciasproibidas20.02.2020.pdf

“With Europe's move in 2006 to ban the use of performance-enhancing antimicrobials (AMD) in animal feed (Castanon, 2007), growing social and commercial pressure has demanded more robust regulations. Ensuring maximum animal productivity is essential for the competitiveness of the livestock industry, allowing the system to operate from both an economic and sustainable point of view. Therefore, the search for new nutritional approaches has been increasingly encouraged in order to replace antimicrobials in feed (Ricke, 2018), since animals continue to be naturally exposed to environmental pathogens that can be harmful, impairing their performance. ”

Marcos Nascimento, Global Technical Coordinator of Poultry and Pig Farming
Marcos Nascimento, Global Poultry and Swine Technical Coordinator at Aleris Nutrition

More recently in Brazil, the Ordinance No. 798 which came into force in June 2023 brought updated rules for the manufacture and use of products intended for animal feed with medicines for veterinary use. Check out the main changes that impacted Brazilian livestock farming:

Sustainable alternative for producers

The zootechnical additives that balance the intestinal microbiota, such as the prebiotics, have proven to be a natural alternative promising and functional in animal production systems, as well as potential replacements for AMD, as they have similar beneficial properties that improve performance and health for maximum production efficiency.

“Aleris Animal Nutrition is a company connected and committed to the global pact approved in 2015, which aims to establish global actions to combat the spread of resistance to the use of antimicrobials throughout the world”, says the CEO of Aleris Animal Nutrition, Daniel Nazarian de Morais.

Daniel Nazarian de Morais, CEO Aleris

To deal with these trends, Aleris has invested in yeast-based nutritional additives, technologies proven by several studies that have contributed to the microbiota modulation animal and for the improvement of gut health, maximizing productive and financial results in a sustainable way.

About Aleris – Founded in 2012, Aleris is a national company specialized in animal nutrition, committed to offering natural solutions for maximum performance and multispecies animal health. Currently, the company has a global operation, exporting products to 32 countries, has more than 50 direct employees, as well as subsidiaries in the United States, Mexico and Portugal.

Access: www.alerisnutrition.com


Aleris Nutrition

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