Poultry Digital - May 2018

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T he ban of antibiotic use in most European countries, the threat of emerging pathogens and an ever-increasing demand for poultry products all put pressure on the need for sustainable therapeutic aids in poultry production. Herbs and spices, in their various forms, offer multiple benefits for poultry health and production If you're not familiar with the range of herbs and spices that can be used as sustainable aids to poultry health, it is important to understand that they can be added to animal diets (in feed or water) in different forms and preparations. They can be given in whole or as extracts such as essential oils or phytogenics. Consumer preferences There are several reports of consum- ers who prefer poultry that's been fed natural ingredients as substitutes for antibiotics. A recent survey (April 2018) carried out in Thailand, for example, indicated that Thai consumers are ready to buy meat products raised with phy- togenic feed additives. Phytogenic feed additives are standardised mixtures of herbs and spices, as well as other plants and their extracts. Phytogenics are used for their impact on animal wellness, gut health and greenhouse gas emissions. The survey suggested that when con- sumers choose a specific brand of meat, 9 out of 10 consider the following: • Whether meat products come from poultry fed completely natural ingredients, without antibiotics. • Whether products reduce environ- mental impact. • Whether poultry has been raised with phytogenics or similar herb extracts. Words Matthew Wedzerai Herbs and spices FEATURE Herbs and spices A sustainable alternative to antibiotics? 20 20

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