In Europe today, the phrase 'mycotoxin deactivating' may no longer be used as a marketing claim but only under specific legal and scientific bases. This means that products seeking to use 'mycotoxin deactivating' claims must not only follow the regulations set by guidance papers but pass stringent tests in laboratories and in the most important 'lab' of all – the farm.
By Gerard Schultheis, Biomin
In November 2005, the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (Fefana), on the initiative of Biomin, set up a task force with the aim of opening a new functional group in the category of technological feed additives. The first step towards creating a legal basis within the European Union for feed additives with mycotoxin counteracting properties was the opening up of a new functional group under Reg (EC) No. 1831/2003 for which the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) voted in March 2009.
Companies can now submit registration dossiers on mycotoxin deactivating products which will be assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on behalf of the European Commission.
These dossiers are scrutinised by EFSA focusing on the following key areas:
- Mycotoxin specificity
- Species specificity
The EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (Feedap) carries out the evaluation, which is a lengthy strenuous procedure. Upon successful evaluation, EFSA provides a positive opinion on the product, resulting in the release of a marketing authorisation by the European Commission.
Two products, Mycofix Secure (bentonite/dioctahedral montmorillonite) and Biomin BBSH 797 (Gen. nov. sp. nov., formerly Eubacterium), have become the first-ever products authorised by the EU as substances with proven mycotoxin counteracting properties. While the claim 'mycotoxin deactivating' may already be familiar in the market, having the EU officially approve and recognise mycotoxin deactivating capabilities marks a breakthrough for animal health and nutrition.
This extensive and demanding process might be discouraging for some industry players; however, the successful accomplishment of registration procedures will gradually eliminate ineffective products from the market. As the scrutiny procedures are homogeneous for all applicant companies, products can be compared more easily and customers can have greater confidence in the quality of their purchases. All in all, this is a fair and transparent process for committed companies who will finally see their research efforts acknowledged.
[Source: Pig Progress magazine Vol 29 nr 9, 2013 - 'Expert Talk' series]