The NPA is to seek a meeting with the Government to discuss the options in the event that zinc oxide is banned at EU, including once we leave the EU.
But the association’s initial focus will be on persuading the European Commission to permit a ‘sensible’ transition period, after an EU veterinary committee reiterated its recommendation to ban zinc oxide.
Despite extensive lobbying from NPA and others, the EU Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) has upheld its original position that zinc oxide should be banned at therapeutic levels, following a review of the evidence base.
It concluded, by consensus, that ‘the overall the benefit-risk balance for the products concerned by this referral is negative, as the benefits of zinc oxide for the prevention of diarrhoea in pigs do not outweigh the risks for the environment’.
The European Commission will now make the final decision. NPA chief executive Zoe Davies, who said she was ‘disappointed but hardly surprised’ with the verdict, said the association would now work with EU colleagues to ensure the industry is given sufficient time to adapt.
Dr Davies said: “As the Commission rarely go against CVMP advice, we will now need to lobby them hard for a sensible phase out period.
“While the Veterinary Medicines Directorare (VMD) has submitted its response to the Commission consultation and suggested a 10 year phase out period following our request, we will need to work with COPA and others to ensure the message is similar across the EU.
“We understand that several countries are in line with us already. We will also be seeking a meeting with the VMD to discuss the evidence on which this decision was made, look at the implications and explore options, particularly post-Brexit.”