Meeting the world’s growing demand for animal protein will require solutions that are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable. To supply safe and nutritious food is our licence to produce. Various quality and safety demands are applicable here, with absence of foodborne pathogens and multidrug resistant bacteria as top priority. The rapid development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) urges the need for effective strategies to reduce antibiotic use in animal production. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2014) predicts that if no additional measures are taken, the annual death toll attributable to AMR may rise to 10 million and exceed other causes such as cancer in 2050.

The Netherlands, for example, adopted very strict policies for application of antibiotics. It has led to a significant reduction (64.45%) in antibiotic usage licensed for prophylactic and therapeutic use from 2009 to 2016 (MARAN, 2017). The effort’s success is attributed to the integration of feed, farm and health management. Collectively, these measures supported the intestinal health by preventing the intake of specific pathogens, managing microbiota, improving gut integrity and supporting immunomodulation.

Trouw Nutrition offers a feed-farm-health management approach and Selko feed and drinking water additives to reduce the need for antibiotics. The starting point of any antibiotic reduction programme is assurance of feed and drinking water quality. Combining targeted drinking water additives supports gut health and immune modulation. For example, applying organic acids and medium chain fatty acids derived from plant oils reduces bacterial activity and helps balance microbiota. Controlled release butyrate in combination with specific phytochemicals increases mucus production and supports epithelial cell proliferation and modulation of the gut-associated immune system. Combining feed additives with different functions and mode of actions with ideal farm management will ultimately help farmers to reduce the need for antibiotics while maintaining animal performance.