IFIF Nutritional Innovation Toolkit

IFIF, the International Feed Industry Federation, which FEFAC is a member of, has published a ‘Nutritional Innovation Toolkit’ to support the integration of animal nutrition as a key actionable tool to maintain animal health and welfare. The toolkit contains key documents and messages developed by the IFIF Nutritional Innovation Working Group to support engagement with stakeholders and regulators as we demonstrate the positive role of adequate nutrition for the maintenance of animal health and welfare and the resilience of animals to stressors.

The contribution of adequate nutrition, including speciality feed, in supporting animal health is not recognized the same globally. Some regions like the EU have for several years acknowledged this, for example via the legislation on special nutrition purposes and also the establishment of a functional group “Physiological Condition Stabilizers” under the feed additives legislation. The EU action plan on AMR also acknowledged the positive contribution of proper animal nutrition. Still, the potential of animal nutrition solutions is unknown, which is also the reason for FEFAC to engage in public communication on advanced animal feed strategies for sustainable and circular livestock and aquaculture production, with concrete case studies. In other parts of the world, this recognition is still at an embryo stage.

The IFIF output is the result of intensive reflection of the Nutritional Innovation Working Group established by IFIF in 2020, mandated to come up with scientifically based recommendations that substantiate the role of adequate nutrition in maintaining animal health and welfare. The toolkit also includes three recommendation documents: 1) rumen physico-chemical conditions, 2) digestibility, and 3) fermentation pathways and metabolites. These documents consider the endpoints the WG prioritised based on three agreed criteria: link to health and welfare, the practicality of the endpoint, and quality of the endpoint. This work was supported by an external Scientific Expert Panel drawn from academia and complements the publication of the 2021 FAO report on animal nutrition strategies and options to reduce the use of antimicrobials in animal production. 

The next step for the IFIF Working Group on Nutritional Innovation will be to evaluate the current and potential future integration of the role of adequate nutrition in the regulatory framework covering the use of Feed ingredients in livestock and aquaculture production.