‘Industry will have to manage a significant shortfall in vitamins A and E’

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Sussenn
© GettyImages/Sussenn

Related tags Vitamin

As reports of supplies of vitamins A and E become very tight, the industry worldwide will have to manage the shortfall for several months, says UK feed and crop protection sectors’ trade group, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC).

The industry might not see normal production volumes of the two critical ingredients again until at least March or April 2018, said George Perrott, head of AIC’s feed division.

The supply crunch was triggered by a fire at the end of October in BASF’s plant in Germany that produces 45% of the global supply of citral, an essential precursor in the manufacture of vitamins A and E.

BASF subsequently declared force majeure for all BASF citral and isoprenol based aroma ingredients, as well as for vitamins A and E, and said the production of citral is not expected to restart before March 2018.  

The supply bottleneck has been further exacerbated by the closure of a Chinese vitamin factory on environmental grounds, said the AIC.

Inclusion rates

EU feed manufacturers’ federation, FEFAC, has warned that as stocks are not sufficient to offset the deficit of production, feed manufacturers globally will have no choice but to reduce the inclusion rates in feed. 

The AIC stressed, though, that for young and gestating animals, levels of supplementation will have to be maintained to avoid adverse effects on animal welfare and livestock production. 

AIC said it is liaising with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and farming unions on the issue.

Both vitamins improve resilience against pathogens, thus reducing the need for antibiotics, said the trade group.

Vitamin A is required for normal growth. It is also essential for vision, bone growth and embryonic development, while vitamin E is important to avoid resorption of foetuses, muscle dystrophy, anaemia and encephalomomalacia.

Trouw Nutrition told us earlier this month that it is exploring alternatives and substitutes for vitamin A and vitamin E in its formulations to ease the situation.

“In the case of vitamin E, our product Selko AOmix can safely and cost-effectively replace part of the inclusion (above the NRC recommendations). In addition, Trouw Nutrition’s extensive expertise on animal nutrition will be used to support our customers and propose alternatives to lower the inclusion rates of vitamins A and E where appropriate.”

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