EU approval of Se supplements: A new era for farmers

09-10-2006 | | |

Commercial availability of effective organic selenium supplements in the EU could open up a new era of added value food products for livestock farmers throughout the region, according to nutrition researcher and consultant Professor Peter Surai.

Applications for organic feed supplements based on selenium yeast are currently being assessed by the EU feed additives authorities, and decisions are expected to be made this year. Surai, author of the new book “Selenium in Nutrition and Health”, believes primary producers across the livestock sectors could soon have new opportunities to develop higher value custom-produced brands that will meet the growing demand for functional foods.
“There is now widespread recognition of the importance of optimum selenium status in human health, and particularly in relation to the prevention of cancer,” he says. “It is also widely known, and specifically in Europe, that diets are often marginal and sometimes deficient in this important trace element.”
“The enrichment of staple foods with selenium will I believe, become of increasing interest to the general population, if not governments. There are already a number of success stories outside the EU of selenium-enriched foods, so we know that the processes of supplementing livestock and developing commercial products are both practical and economic to achieve. There are twelve poultry companies in Russia producing several million selenium-enriched eggs daily.”
Professor Surai makes the point that staple foods such as eggs, meat and milk meet the required criteria for effective food supplementation strategies of being consumed regularly by the majority of people in moderate amounts, and being affordable. Selenium enrichment through this route is therefore considered to be safer and more effective than alternative strategies, such as the widespread application of fertiliser on agricultural land for example.
For more information on selenium, see the World Poultry article “Selenium: an essential nutrient for animals and humans”.

More about