Digestive Enhancers - Antibiotic Growth Promoters
Control in European Union & USA


January 2003

In 1986 Sweden legislated totally against the use of antibiotics as growth promoters. This halved their use of antimicrobials for animals.
In 1997, the European Union (EU) banned avoparcin (related to the human antibiotic vancomycin) as a feed additive, following bans already in place in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. In subsequent years, the EU has banned virginiamycin, bacitracin, tylosin, and spiramycin and intends to terminate all use of antibiotics as growth promoters by 2006. Danish farmers have already voluntarily abandoned using antibiotics as growth promoters. The Danish ban on antibacterial growth promoters has resulted in an increased use of therapeutic antibiotics, but surprisingly, after some initial problems, the reduction in animal growth rates has been negligible.

Veterinarians in Denmark have expressed the opinion that antibacterial growth promoters were suppressing hygiene and management problems that emerged in the period immediately after the ban, were subsequently resolved by other approaches. In the EU generally, bans on non-therapeutic usage of antimicrobials have stimulated improvements in husbandry and use of non-antibiotic growth promoters such as in-feed enzymes and probiotics.

In contrast to European developments, the United States of America allows 19 different antibiotics to be used for growth promotion including some, e.g. penicillin and streptomycin, that are used for treating people in the USA.

January 2001 - EU ban on pig antibiotics proposed

The German Minister for Consumers, Renate Kuenast has called for a general ban on non-therapeutic antibiotics for pigs. She claims that the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne supports this proposal. Currently there are only four permitted "growth promoters" (technically known as "digestive enhancers") - antibacterial agents which improve growth rate and feed conversion efficiency - permitted in the European Union: avilamycin (Elanco), monensin (for cattle), flavophospholipol (Eco Animal Health) and salinomycin (Alpharma, Eco Animal Health)


*Growth Promoters: Environmental Benefits: report

Further Reading:

Photos of Swine Nutrition comprehensive reference textbookSwine Nutrition - 2nd Edition 2000

Edited by Austin J Lewis and Lincoln Lee Southern
Hardback 1,009 pages Approx price: US$150   UK£105 other currencies
A comprehensive reference book covering all aspects of nutrition of pigs. There are 42 chapters contributed by international experts. Including contributions from members of the North Central Regional Committee on Swine Nutrition (NCR-42) and the Committee on Nutritional Systems for Swine to Increase Reproductive Efficiency (S-145)

The contributions begin with general description of swine characteristics and the structure of the pig industry. Descriptions of the various classes of feed nutrients follow and how they are metabolized by hogs, factors affecting their utilization, practical aspects of swine feeding from birth, finishing, through gestation and lactation in sows and the feeding of adult boars. The nutritional aspects of the feedstuffs commonly fed to swine are covered in the following section.

There are chapters on Feed Additives for pigs, including enzymes and probiotics, the environmental impact of swine production and Performance-Enhancing Substances (growth promoters, digestive enhancers). The final chapters of the book are devoted to details of the techniques and technology used in swine nutrition research.
Ordering Details (in new window) : USA & international   Canada   UK & Europe


*Antibiotic Growth Enhancers - Alternatives: report


*Swine Feeding & Nutrition New Books



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