Total Nutrition: feeding animals for health and growth

Food of animal origin plays an important and indispensable role in human life. Foods of animal origin, such as milk, eggs and meat, supply high quality and readily digested protein and energy, as well as being a compact source of readily available micronutrients. The economic and nutritional demands of our modern society necessitate the raising of large numbers of animals in relatively small areas with high rates of productivity. Unfortunately, the great success of modern animal husbandry in producing large quantities of low cost food frequently goes unrecognized.

Furthermore, food production and safety has become a highly publicized and politicized issue. In some parts of the world, food security is now almost taken for granted and food safety has become the paramount concern. This has focused attention on the systems of animal production. One major aspect of this is the reduction in use of antibiotics and other medicinal products in animal production, largely due to fears over bacterial resistance. On the other hand, there are increasing demands to improve feed hygiene, to maintain animal health and welfare and to reduce the environmental impact of animal production.

Nutritional solutions are now required for all of these issues. In fact, nutrition is all there……

Beating the fraudsters

In the fight against food fraud, greater intelligence sharing amongst food agencies will be key to ensuring standards are met and rule-breakers brought to justice.

Picture the scene. It is London in 1820. Bakers are mixing dough with chalk and plaster to make loaves whiter and heavier. Brewers are using strychnine to make beer taste bitter. Confectioners are using poisonous lead and mercury salts to make sweets brightly coloured and more attractive to children. It’s a great time to be an enterprising food producer with questionable scruples, but probably not such a pleasurable period for the poor consumers subjected to hazardous substances on a daily basis.


Fast-forward two centuries and things have, thankfully, changed for the better. Standards have done much to improve the quality of the food we eat, ensuring there are no nasty surprises hidden away in the ingredients cupboard; and swift prosecution of transgressions has led to increased confidence in the safety (and legitimacy) of the food chain. Organisations such as the Food Standards Agency in the UK and the European Food Safety Authority have worked tirelessly in this regard.

Nevertheless, food fraud does still exist – recent high-profile cases include vodka being diluted with industrial methylated spirits and problems with the supply of rotten poultry to certain supermarkets – and stopping such illegal practices is critical to minimising public health risks……