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Base zinc oxide decision on UK data, NPA urges Defra

5th Jun 2020 / By Alistair Driver

NPA senior policy adviser Rebecca Veale has urged the Government to base its policy on the future of zinc oxide on UK data, as the EU ban moves nearer. 

Beyond zincIt is now nearly three years ago that the European Commission confirmed that Member States would have until June 2022 to withdraw zinc oxide products used at medicinal levels in piglet feed. The five-year transition, following strong lobbying from the NPA, was something of a relief at the time, after initial indications from Brussels that the ban could be more imminent.

But now, well over half way through the transition, there is still no real clarity on how, following our exit from the EU, the ban will be implemented in the UK.

The NPA and Pig Veterinary Society are in ongoing discussions with Defra and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate  (VMD) about how the UK will implement the ban.

Commenting in Pig World, Rebecca said: “We have questioned the science behind the European Food Safety Authority report, which led to the EU-wide ban.

“We believe that Government should make a decision based on UK data, and we hope that, as we leave the EU, there is consideration of the science and evidence relevant to this country.

“As such, we hope our discussions continue with the VMD and a sensible solution can be reached.”

There appears to be some scope for flexibility, as long as the industry can justify it. A Defra spokesperson told Pig World the Department was ‘ready to re-examine both the risks and the benefits of zinc oxide if new evidence is provided’.

“Decisions on the use of veterinary medicines are made on the basis of the best available scientific evidence taking into account the benefits and risks to animals, humans and the environment,” the spokesperson said.

Stressing the Department’s commitment to reducing endemic disease, she said it would ‘continue to work closely with the pig industry to support the adoption of alternative strategies and ensure this progress is maintained’.

The article also addresses concerns that, while some work to find alternative approaches has been done, the UK industry still has a long way to fully prepare for life beyond zinc.

You can read the full article, the first in series looking at a future beyond zinc oxide for UK pig producers, in the June issue of Pig World or by clicking here