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Europe bans zinc oxide in pig feed

Europe’s farmers have been given five years to phase out the use of zinc oxide in pig feed.

Zinc oxide has been used in post-weaning diets as a method of preventing diarrhea since the early 1990s, reports Farmers Weekly. An estimated 70-90% of starter diets contain therapeutic levels of the substance.

Following proposals to remove it from pig feed in 2016 over concerns about its effects on soils, the European Commission has confirmed a European Union-wide ban it its use for medicinal purposes in piglet feed.

Member states now have five years to withdraw marketing authorizations for these products.

The UK’s National Pig Association (NPA) said it will be lobbying for the country’s government to allow the maximum transition.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said the association would also investigate whether the UK’s decision to leave the EU would have any implication on how the country’s pig farmers have to respond to the decision.

“I want to explore whether we could apply to transfer the current EU licence to the UK, as five years will take us past the date we expect to leave the EU,” said Davies.

“If we were to consider going it alone, we would obviously need to look at the implications for trade with the EU.

“However, zinc was banned for environmental reasons and analysis indicates use of zinc in piglet diets has little implications for soil quality in the UK.”

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