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New EU medicated feed regulations to ban prophylaxis

29th Jun 2018 / By Alistair Driver

New rules have been agreed in Brussels harmonisng regulation on medicated feed that will ban prophylactic use of medicines in animal feed.

The new rules have been developed in parallel with the revised EU Regulation on Veterinary Medicinal Products, agreed earlier in June.  

The aim of the new feed rules is to 'harmonise at a high safety level the manufacture, marketing and use of medicated feed and intermediate products in the EU and to reflect technical progressin this field'.

Like the veterinary medicine rules, the feed regulation clamps down on prophylactic use of antibiotics. 

The current legal framework for medicated feed dates back to 1990, before the creation of the internal market, and has not been adapted since, creating discrepancies in its implementation across the EU member states, Rumen Porodzanov, Bulgaria minister of agriculture and current president of the EU Council of Ministers.

To address this, the new rules will:

  • Set out criteria for the approval of feed business operators and their obligations when manufacturing medicated feed;
  • For the first time lay down harmonised requirements in order to avoid cross contamination of active from veterinary medicinal products into non target feed. Within four years from the entry into force of the regulation, the Commission will have to set maximum levels of cross contamination for antimicrobials, based on the scientific evidence provided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA);
  • Clarify the prescription and use of medicated feed containing antimicrobials in food-producing animals; and
  • Prohibit prophylaxis (the preventive administration of antibiotics or antimicrobials to animals, when a disease has not been diagnosed).

Mr Porodzanov said: “We have put in the last piece of the puzzle: the animal medicines package is complete, the sector is now equipped with modern rules that will help, competitiveness and innovation, will also facilitate trade and reinforce the EU fight against antimicrobial resistance.”

Once the rules have been voted on by the European Parliament and been formally adopted by the Council for adoption, the new rules will come into force after three years, along with the veterinary medicines regulation.