Animal nutrition: beyond the boundaries of feed and feeding | FeedipediaSwine production systems have dramatically changed in the last three decades. Today main challenges for the hog industry are to maximize feed efficiency while minimizing production costs and environmental impacts. With regard to environmental impacts, the issue lies mainly with nitrogen and phosphorus excretion which are reaching alarmingly high levels in most intensive pig production areas Strid Eriksson et al. The high relevance of environmental load has forced swine producers and nutritionists around the world to reassess the nutritional and feeding programs in use. Excretion of nutrients can be reduced by providing an individual animal with its required dietary levels. This practice also improves nutrient efficiency and reduces production costs Pomar et al.
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The main aims of the COST Action Feed for Health FA were: to develop an integrated and collaborative network of research groups that focuses on the roles of feed and animal nutrition in improving animal wellbeing and also the quality, safety and wholesomeness of human foods of animal origin; to examine the consumer concerns and perceptions as regards livestock production systems. Finally, the present paper has the scope to provide new ideas and solutions to a range of issues associated with the modern livestock production system. Clearly, ensuring such high outputs of these traded products conforming to adequate quality standards is a major undertaking and it is fair to say that the EU has made significant progress in defining standards and promoting legislation in this area. However nowadays both feeds and foods must be considered not only in terms of their nutritional properties but also in terms of their ability to promote wellbeing and protect against chronic disease. Consequently, the role of animal nutrition in designing foods closer to the optimal composition for long-term human wellbeing is becoming increasingly important Givens et al. Starting from these assumptions an integrated, multidisciplinary, and collaborative network a COST Action has been set up.
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