According to animal nutrition technology company AB Vista, the industry must adopt a science-based approach to re-evaluating nutrition strategies, particularly in light of proposed European Union limits on zinc and copper in animal feed. 

The call comes after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) proposed reducing the level of copper from 170mg/kg to 25mg/kg in piglets, in order to limit excess minerals in animal manure. Limits to zinc are also being proposed.

Juan Ignacio Fernández, Sales Director West & South Europe, AB Vista, said the proposed new limits signal that environmental concerns remain a priority in the EU and other markets. He added that if these proposals are implemented, the industry must find a way to maintain efficient and high-quality animal production.

“It is clear that we need to examine our feed and nutrition strategies to ensure we can address environmental concerns and meet the needs of the production chain," Fernández said. "This is an important balance to address, particularly because lowering the trace element levels in isolation could impact animal health and productivity.”

In achieving this balance, the latest scientific research—especially in respect to the role of phytate and its interactions with trace element absorption—should not be underestimated, he added. “Interestingly, EFSA acknowledged that the inclusion of the feed enzyme phytase in swine diets increases the availability of zinc in some feedstuffs."

Fernández hopes the International Phytate Summit (IPS3) Nov. 7-10 will be an opportunity to discuss recent scientific developments in this area. The meeting will bring together a group of experts on phytate and be led by AB Vista; the University of Illinois; and the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas.

With a theme of The Value Chain of Phytate Destruction, the summit aims to advance the scientific understanding of phytate and the complex, varied role it plays in nutrition.


“Our understanding of feed ingredients and animal digestion and biology has increased considerably in the past few years, and it’s important that such academic advancement is translated into innovative real-world solutions,” Fernández said.

He added that the summit will combine the latest academic research with specific trends and approaches to feed formulation.

“The IPS3 agenda and discussions will focus on strategies for formulating with minerals in the presence of phytate, with the aim of understanding how phytate nutrition can influence the economics of animal production.”

Of particular importance to European producers will be Patrick Schlegel of Agroscope, Switzerland, presenting on the role of phytate in formulating diets for trace minerals.

IPS3 is a closed academic event; however, follow-up meetings will be held in different regions throughout 2017.

To learn more about IPS3, click here.