New report shows increased use of natural antimicrobials in the EU
Frost & Sullivan report that EU manufacturers are using more
natural antimicrobials, responding to tougher food regulations and consumers'
increasing demands for additive-free foods.
The European antimicrobial market had sales of €93 million (US$119.7 million)
in 2005. Frost &
forecast this will
reach €102 million (US$131.2 million) in 2012.
Antibiotic growth promoters have been banned in the EU since 1 January
2006, prompting food industry members to seek out natural alternatives to
maintain efficiency in production. Natural alternatives to synthetic
antimicrobials are also in more demand due to the increasing hype over the
supposed health benefits, Frost & Sullivan stated. Scientific reports
linking these substances to diseases such as cancer is also lowering end user
confidence in antimicrobials usage.
"The future of food antimicrobials lies in their ability to curb the growth
of most spoilage organisms," the report stated. "Food manufacturers still resort
to the use of synthetic antimicrobials as an effective means to prolong the
shelf life of their products."
Especially given the continuing outbreaks of avian
influenza and BSE, the use
of different combinations of antimicrobials along with efficient delivery
systems are regarded as the most reliable means to maintain food quality.
"However, consumer suspicions about products containing antimicrobials are
reducing opportunities for further growth," the report stated.
The European Food
Safety Authority recently approved the use of four antimicrobials in chicken
manufacturing plants, setting the stage for usage in meat processing plants.
"To promote consumer confidence and informed decision making, market
participants will need educate end users about antimicrobial terminologies - and
make them aware that scientific assessments are carried out before any
antimicrobial is permitted for use."
Read more: Background
article on the ban of antimicrobial growth
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