According to a new research report conducted by Allied Market Research, the global animal feed additives market was valued at nearly $15 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow up to $20 billion by 2020. Due to high meat consumption all over the world, there has also been a demand for an increase in both the animal feed and feed additives market. Another driving force for meat additive trends is the demand for nutritious meats for a low price. Feed additives in the report cover: antibiotics, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, feed enzymes, acidifiers, and others.
Antibiotics have been banned in major European countries for the purpose of animal feed due to its adverse and dangerous effects on animals and consumer health. Though this practice hasn’t been banned in the United States, groups against the overuse of antibiotics, have looked toward consumers to help create change.
Nonprofit group, Fix Food, cites that 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used to make farm animals grow faster and survive the unsanitary, crowded environment. As a result, superbugs — antibiotic-resistant bacteria — have spawned on farm fields and transferred into meat products. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have warned about antimicrobial drug resistance. The FDA has taken steps to get companies to not rely on antibiotics, but some critics are still skeptical since the new policy guidelines are voluntary.
“It’s a slow phase out,” said Senior Policy Analyst for Center For Food Safety, Jaydee Hanson. “What we would like to see from the FDA is for the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics to not be permitted period in livestock and poultry. It’s a good first step, but we’ve been pushing them to do more.” Hanson went on to say that the use of arsenic in poultry also poses health issues and should be banned from meats.
Allied Market Research finds that despite the ban of antibiotics in European countries, antibiotics will be the second largest revenue source for the animal feed additives market.
According to the Institute of Medicine, U.S. consumers would spend about $5 to $10 more per year on meat products if antibiotics were restricted – an increase that translates to roughly three to five cents per pound at grocery stores.
“It would probably make the price go up a little bit because one of the reasons [companies] are using antibiotics is because they crowd animals so close together that the animals are more likely to get sick from each other,” said Hanson.
Currently, there is pressure on grocery stores to help decrease the consumption of antibiotic-fed meats. The Meat Without Drugs campaign for instance is singling out Trader Joe’s to take a stand and strictly sell meat raised without antibiotics. Since many of Trader Joe’s products do not contain artificial colors, preservatives, GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and sell cage-free eggs, it is believed that they can continue their health-conscious efforts and set an example for other grocery stores to sell antibiotic-free meats.
“There are plenty of farmers that grow good food without so many antibiotics and provide it at a good price,” said Hanson. “There’s no reason that people need to get sicker because the use of antibiotics have made the pathogens like salmonella more and more resistant.”