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Industry seeks evidence to back calls for zinc oxide return

8th Feb 2023 / By Alistair Driver

Pig industry organisations are working with Defra and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to gather the necessary evidence to justify a return of zinc oxide products in the UK in future.

The VMD granted an extension for zinc oxide usage in the UK last year by allowing the industry to use up any product bought up to when the authorisation expired in June 2022. However, current supplies of zinc oxide for use at medicinal levels in piglet feed to control post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD are expected to be exhausted in the summer.

During a Pig World roundtable event, sponsored by ForFarmers, Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) senior vice president Jim Morris explained that the VMD has been persuaded to develop its own model to establish whether EU modelling that led to the EU-wide ban on zinc oxide because of fears over soil contamination was appropriate for the UK.

“The soil types where zinc tends to be too high are acidic, sandy soils and there are not many of these in the pig producing areas of this country,” he said.

NPA chief executive Lizzie Wilson said the association is hoping to find some way forward for zinc oxide use in future.

“Meetings are ongoing between NPA, PVS and VMD and we will continue to push for an evidence-based solution that would allow the use of zinc oxide in a managed and targeted way,” she said.

“We need to factor in welfare and environmental benefits. The VMD accepts that the risk isn’t the same as the EU and we’ve got to reassure them that any decision is justifiable and defendable. We also have to be cognisant about what’s acceptable to our trading partners.”

However, Mr Morris stressed that, even if the VMD does give the go ahead, current supplies will expire long before any new products are re-licensed.

You can read more HERE or in the latest issue of Pig World.