Zero antibiotics, 100% Finnish ingredients: Poultry Protein Meal is a clean and protein-rich raw material for industrial use
Growing meat consumption has put pressure on meat industry to intensify the production. As producers have answered to demand, their methods of production vary greatly, particularly regarding the use of antibiotics. The major meat producing countries use antibiotics routinely to treat livestock, which has raised an intense debate about the consequences of over-using of antibiotics and the spread of superbacteria.
However, there is an alternative for antibiotics, and in Finland, for example, broilers and pigs are already raised without antibiotics. These broilers are also used to produce Honkajoki Oy’s Poultry Protein Meal, a protein-rich raw material for industrial use. It is 100% derived from Finnish broilers that have not been treated with antibiotics during their lifetime.
Reading time: 5 min.
Preventive use of antibiotics accelerates the spread of superbacteria
The use of antibiotics in livestock is common procedure in many countries. In Asia, America and Southern Europe, for example, antibiotics are used routinely to enhance animal growth and prevent diseases. Often animals are more medicated than humans. For example, in the US, 80% of all antibiotics are used to treat livestock.
The biggest user of antibiotics is China, where antibiotics are used 40 times more per kilogram of animal products than in Norway. The least antibiotics is used in the Nordics. Researchers are now debating how much the use of antibiotics in livestock care affects on humans and the environment. The subject is a significant part of a larger problem, as the preventive and routine use of antibiotics accelerates the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant superbacteria.
According to the World Health Organization WHO, at least 700 000 people die annually because of complications and diseases caused by superbacteria. Superbacteria are one of the biggest health threats of our time, and it’s been predicted that the annual death toll could climb to 10 million deaths in the next 35 years if the use of antibiotics is not restricted drastically.
Treating livestock routinely with antibiotics affects us all
Studies have shown a clear link between human health and antibiotics used in the treatment of livestock. In the Netherlands, for example, antibiotics were used extensively to promote the growth of farm animals and prevent diseases in the 21st century. Meanwhile, antibiotics were used on very strict grounds in treating humans, but nevertheless the country’s health care struggled against superbacteria for a long time.
Even though much of the research and media discussions handle only the contact with humans or human food, it is also noteworthy that animal by-products are derived from the same animals. Animal-derived raw materials are widely used in, for example, farm, fur, pet and fish feed. Bacteria are thus effectively distributed throughout society as well as the environment.
In the Nordic countries, the use of antibiotics is low and strictly controlled in both human and animal care. In Finland, the law only allows the treatment of a single sick animal with antibiotics. The handling of animal by-products is also strictly regulated, but that’s not the case in all parts of the world. That is why it is important for us to pay careful attention in particular to where the raw materials we use are coming from.
Responsible production chains are an essential part of future consumption
The high use of antibiotics is a result of accelerated meat production in order to meet the demand. Until now, antibiotics has been seen as a cheaper and faster way to achieve more efficient production as animal welfare and health-promoting meat production requires great investments, starting from technological solutions.
However, methods that are based on animals’ natural needs as well as hygienic conditions are the most important reasons why pigs and broilers can be raised without antibiotics in Finland. For example, stress affects greatly on animals’ health and thus the need for medication. Determining the origin of products and raw materials is therefore not only a matter of values, but also a matter of our health. At the same time, it is a step towards a meat industry where the production chain is built primarily on animal welfare.
Consumers are also becoming more and more aware of the origin of the goods they buy. The debate around antibiotics has raised peoples’ awareness and led them to choose more responsibly produced products. Indeed, more sustainable production methods are not only essential for everyone’s well-being, but also an inevitable step for every company regarding their profitability in the future. Price is not a sustainable competitive weapon, but quality and durability are, and customers are increasingly choosing products that are produced responsibly and transparently.
Finnish broiler can be raised without antibiotics
In Finland, the law prohibits the routine use of antibiotics in agriculture to promote animal growth or prevent diseases. Antibiotics should only be used to treat a single, sick animal, under the control and supervision of a veterinarian. In addition, an animal should not be slaughtered (or milked) within the withdrawal period after the antibiotic treatment.
Control plans and withdrawal periods are strictly followed at production sites. Livestock housing should, in principle, be constructed in such a way that the animals experience minimal stress and are able to live in hygienic conditions. This means, among other things, preventing the spread of bacteria by restricting access to facilities housing livestock, proper feeding of animals and systematic prevention of diseases without medicines.
Indeed, Finland’s largest meat suppliers are very precise about the origin and quality of their raw materials, and one of them also markets their chicken products as free of antibiotics. From these suppliers, Honkajoki also obtains its raw material for, for example, Poultry Protein Meal. The Finnish meat production chain is one of the strictest and most regulated meat production chains in the world: raw materials can be traced all the way to the farm, and compliance with regulations and quality criteria is controlled by several authorities and veterinarians.
Poultry Protein Meal is a pure, protein-rich raw material for animal feed
Poultry Protein Meal is a nutrient-rich raw material that is used in manufacturing, for example, animal feed. It contains 70 % easily digested proteins and lots of beneficial amino acids, lipids, minerals and micronutrients. It also contains only Finnish ingredients, hence we can be 100 % certain that the poultry, from which the product is derived, has not been treated with antibiotics.
We actively monitor the quality of raw materials and products, and many different microbiological analyses are carried out. Samples from our production line are taken daily, and each sales batch is carefully reviewed before dispatch. We comply with the monitoring programme, which defines, for example, the studies to be carried out, the analytical and sampling method and the preventive measures. The high professionalism of our staff also plays an important role, and we are constantly investing in training and well-being of our employees.
Our most important task is to deliver to our customers only high-quality products that are proved to be 100% pure and safe. This is a prerequisite for the continuation of our operations as well as our strongest competitive edge in the world, and we want to ensure that our company has the highest level of expertise in producing quality products.
– Reducing antimicrobial use in food animals; Science 29 Sep 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6358, pp. 1350-1352 [https://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6358/1350]
– Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance IACG; No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections; April 2019 [https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/29-04-2019-new-report-calls-for-urgent-action-to-avert-antimicrobial-resistance-crisis]
– Antibiotics in agriculture and the risk to human health: how worried should we be?; Evol Appl. Mar 2015: 8(3), pp. 240–247 [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4380918/]
– Monitoring of antibiotic resistance; Finnish Food Authority [https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/en/farmers/animal-husbandry/animal-medication/monitoring-of-antibiotic-resistance/]
– Eläinten lääkitsemisen valvonta 2018; Finnish Food Authority report; 28.5.2019 [https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/globalassets/viljelijat/elaintenpito/elainten-laakitseminen/elainten_laakitsemisen_valvonta_2018.pdf]