Focus on Collaboration, Innovation and Global Regulatory Compliance Helps Meet Diverse Industry Needs, Says Eastman - INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: Eastman via Feedinfo

A close focus on R&D, collaborating with research and industry partners and developing new screening methods have been key in helping Eastman identify next-generation active ingredients and bring them to market promptly.

In today’s Industry Perspectives piece, we speak to Kurt Buyse, General Manager, Inge Peeters, application development and technical service (AD/TS) group leader, and Liza Van Den Eede, product stewardship and regulatory affairs (PSRA) manager, about the company’s approach, and how it is working to meet diverse customer requirements.

They also discuss some of the current regulatory challenges facing the sector in different geographies and how they help clients navigate these issues.


[Feedinfo] Eastman has been involved in animal nutrition since 1951, and it would be good to know more about your current product portfolio. Can you give us a brief overview?

[Kurt Buyse] With a broad portfolio of products spanning multiple applications, Eastman provides a wide range of solutions to meet diverse industry needs. As one of the main producers of organic acids, our vertically integrated supply chain ensures reliable and consistent product quality. Our specialty products come with technical support and customisation capabilities, allowing us to tailor solutions to a customer’s specific requirements.

Kurt Buyse, Eastman

Kurt Buyse
General Manager

For feed preservation and hygiene, our product range includes straight acids, organic acid blends, and specialty products. Our AIV® brand, specifically designed for silage, addresses key pain points, resulting in waste reduction and improved ensiling outcomes, while our Acitra™ and Keitex™ products effectively prevent or reduce bacteria such as Salmonella. These solutions play an important role in acidification.

Our Entero-Nova™ and Protaq™ lines are designed to support animal gut health by managing microbiota, inflammation and improving gut integrity. Our products consist of combinations of organic acids and short and medium-chain fatty acid esters. Our Entero-Nova products provide customisation options in dry and liquid forms, for incorporation in feed, while our Protaq line is designed for application via drinking water. We also offer liquid choline chloride worldwide.


[Feedinfo] With your business’s focus on innovation, ongoing research and development is critical – can you talk through your approach to this, and, in particular, your screening capabilities and what it brings to your business?

Inge Peeters, Eastman

Inge Peeters
AD/TS Group Leader

[Inge Peeters] At our company, we place a strong emphasis on innovation, which is why ongoing research and development play a critical role in our business. To support this focus, we have implemented a comprehensive approach that includes the development of in vitro and in vivo screening models. These models allow us to test and evaluate solutions for emerging nutritional and disease challenges in our industry.

Through collaboration with our internal R&D centres in Belgium and the US and global research partners such as universities, institutions, and contract research organisations, we have established a robust screening capability. This enables us to generate valuable mode of action data, select the most promising active next-gen ingredients, and accelerate the commercial application of our products.

The importance of maintaining a healthy gut has been a prominent topic in recent years. Our research in this field has led to the development of innovative in vitro screening models. These models, which include macrophage and enteroids cell culture models, have shown promising results. We have presented our findings at industry conferences and are in the process of submitting related manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals.

By continuously refining our screening models and actively seeking out new models through collaborations, we are able to enhance our product candidate selection and gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind the effectiveness of our active ingredients. This knowledge allows us to better meet the needs of our customers and provide them with scientifically informed solutions.


[Feedinfo] You mention collaboration is an important approach for Eastman. What are the benefits you see from this in the animal nutrition sector – and what are the challenges? Are there any particularly notable success stories that have come through this collaborative approach?

[Inge Peeters] Throughout the years, our team has worked with customers and research partners across the globe towards achieving shared goals. Working in this way allows us to leverage diverse expertise, knowledge and resources, enabling the development of innovative products and services which are adopted by the industry and used to solve emerging practical issues.

Collaborative partnerships facilitate the product development process, accelerate product application progress, and tackle complex challenges through interdisciplinary approaches. 

Effective communication and coordination are crucial for successful collaborations. Establishing a robust communication channel ensures frequent discussions, alignment of objectives, and clarity to avoid any potential misunderstandings.

We have established notable collaborations with various institutions globally, including leading research institutes and universities. Through these partnerships, we have conducted in vitro and in vivo trials on key products such as Entero-Nova and Protaq. Additionally, collaborations with prominent swine and poultry producers have facilitated research and field trials for our choline chloride, Acitra, Protaq, and Entero-Nova products.

The data generated from these trials allow us to streamline development cycles, track metrics, identify areas for improvement, and expedite market launch. By providing scientific data to our customers, they can refine and validate product features based on data-driven decisions for optimal return on investment (ROI).

Collaboration remains an integral part of our approach, allowing us to leverage global expertise and resources to drive innovation and deliver impactful solutions to the animal nutrition sector.


[Feedinfo] Regulatory compliance is an issue you are keen to address – can you explain more about the importance of this to your business?

[Liza Van Den Eede] As a global player, regulatory compliance is crucial for our Animal Nutrition business. We navigate diverse regulatory environments in the countries where we operate. Our dedicated team ensures our products and ingredients are registered, approved, and comply with relevant regulations. Transparency and accuracy in labelling and packaging are priorities for us, providing customers with reliable information.

Liza Van Den Eede, Eastman

Liza Van Den Eede
PSRA Manager

Compliance goes beyond protecting our portfolio; it influences our product development. We collaborate closely with R&D and technical teams to align new formulations and materials with regulatory requirements. This proactive approach enables us to efficiently bring innovative products to market.

As a global company, we value harmonisation and consistency across regions, and attempt to ensure additions to our portfolio can be sold worldwide. This involves staying updated on evolving regulations, engaging with authorities, and conducting thorough assessments for compliance in different markets.

Prioritising regulatory compliance demonstrates our commitment to industry standards, animal welfare, and customer trust. We continually work to uphold these principles.


[Feedinfo] What are the regulatory changes or trends you are currently seeing across the globe, and how do you help customers navigate these challenges?

[Liza Van Den Eede] We are witnessing regulatory changes and trends in the animal nutrition industry worldwide. These changes have implications for our business and require us to support our customers in navigating the associated challenges. Here are some key examples:

1. Labelling and ingredient regulations: There is a growing focus on transparent and accurate labelling, as well as stricter regulations on ingredient usage. We assist customers by providing updated information, guidance on labelling requirements, and help in navigating ingredient restrictions. In Europe for example, recent renewal authorisations for organic acids have resulted in updated instructions of use and label information, including the requirement to declare the amount of organic acid present in the feed. This required us to update our labels and prompted adjustments from customers further down the supply chain. Understanding that smaller customers may lack a dedicated regulatory team, we offered guidance to help them comprehend the impact of these changes and ensure compliance with the updated requirements.

2. Sustainability and environmental regulations: The industry is increasingly focused on reducing environmental impact. We work closely with suppliers and customers to ensure compliance with sustainability standards, such as responsible sourcing. In our own business, we recently changed the gasification feedstock of our Oulu site to liquified natural gas, which together with other initiatives, significantly reduced our carbon footprint.
3. Increased chemical regulations: There is a global push to regulate and reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in all industrial areas. For example, in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently evaluating formaldehyde, which is still permitted for use in animal feed. Potential restrictions could significantly affect the feed chain, but we do offer alternative solutions to control Salmonella that do not rely on formaldehyde. We closely monitor potential regulation changes, and proactively inform customers about alternative options, enabling them to stay informed and be prepared.

To assist customers in navigating these regulatory challenges, we take a proactive approach. We constantly monitor global regulatory changes, engage with authorities, and participate in industry discussions. Our experienced team is always available to address questions, offer regulatory insights, and assist in implementing compliant practices.

Published in association with Eastman


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