New report shows increased use of natural antimicrobials in the EU

09-08-2006 | |
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 & Sullivan 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 promoters.