April 02, 2017

The Interview - Markus Dedl, Chief Executive Officer, Delacon


Markus Dedl, Chief Executive Officer, Delacon, took over his father’s company in 2010. As the son of company founder, Helmut Dedl, he became responsible for the company and all its’ subsidiaries. Having previously served as the Manager of Finance and Operations, along with his education in economics and a member of the committee of the International Egg Commission, Markus’s CV presents an obvious fit for these rather impressive shoes.

Delacon, family to the truest sense, family owned and family run, the company has been researching, developing and producing phytogenic feed additives for the feed industry for three decades. Positively coming to light in recent times, Markus Dedl and his company made headlines when they successfully registered their second phytogenic feed additive as a zootechnical additive with the EU, Biostrong®510 EC, becoming one of a select few to achieve that goal for phytogenic products.

At the recent VIV Asia exhibition, he proudly showed off the certification of registration for this achievement and symbolically cut a cake on the company’s stand, expressing his passion for his craft and company, “Our company is attempting to provide natural ingredients that have long-standing, strong belief backgrounds with standardised, scientific support to provide customers with evaluat
ed products that they can trust.”

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What is the process required to acquire a zootechnical registration for a feed additive product such as a phytogenic in the EU?
Your product needs to meet exact scientific safety standards. In addition, you need to prove the efficiency of a product according to the claims that you are making. Therefore, all technical claims need to be proven by independent organisations, such as thorough university trials, and in different member states. Results need to be statistically significant. The period of evaluation by European authorities takes a long time, back-and-fourth, sending information, getting updates and satisfying requests.

Who approves the registration?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) does not give the approval, but will issue scientific opinions on a product. The EU Commission mandates the EFSA to verify the claims being made. The EFSA opinion then also states whether a product is safe for use with animals of the chosen category at pre-determined dosage levels. We received the scientific EFSA opinion last summer. The next step was the registration approval by the commission itself, which took a further eight months, as it had to be approved by all the member states. All the EU member states had an opportunity to ask additional questions about the product, declaration issues, and other issues. Now, the final registration has been approved by the EU commission, which was signed on March 9 by the President of the European Commission to become part of the EU law system.

Does your zootechnical registration in the EU give your product global appeal?

Legally, the zootechnical registration it is only valid in the European Union because it is in an EU regulation, but of course a lot of other countries worldwide see that as a reference because we are one of very few companies that has the EU registration as a zootechnical additive for a phytogenic product. Delacon was the first to register a pure phytogenic feed additive in 2012, which was Fresta® F, our product for piglets. Now, we are the only company with two zootechnical registrations for phytogenic feed additives, and there is a very small number of companies that have registration in this category. It gives all of our customers around the world confidence in our company, because if you don’t have confidence that a product works and it is worth it, then you don’t go through that application and registration process.

Will the phytogenic product registration become a simpler process?
I think it will always be difficult, but there is a learning curve, both for the authorities as well as the applicants. It has certainly been difficult for us because we were the first company to receive the zootechnical authorization for a phytogenic feed additive. There were lots of discussions on how do you characterise these products, how is it being analysed and what are the active components or non-active components, or what are secondary activities. There is a learning curve in this process, but I think that it is necessary to go through it, and that it is important for a company to have at least a few products registered as zootechnical additives. We are not aiming to put all of our products into this process, simply because it’s so cost- and time-intensive, and you can always elect to take the category of ‘sensory additives,’ which is much easier and there is no need to demonstrate the efficiency when safety studies are done for the substances through group registration. However, it’s good to have a few references let’s say ‘star references’ that stand out.

Does the zootechnical registration give validity and value to phytogenics in the minds of the industry?
Yes, definitely. I think that it is one if the main outcomes of zootechnical registration, because until 2012 there was no formal recognition by a body like the EU that phytogenics can have certain effects. There were a lot of companies claiming effects, and a lot of these claims were substantiated, but there was never a regulatory, higher authority actually putting phytogenics on the same level as other products such as enzymes and probiotics. 2012 was the first time the EU did that – regulating phytogenic feed additives to the same level as other, more established categories. I think that is exactly the value that the zootechnical registration has. Not only for us, but also for the industry as a whole. We have a lot of competitors telling us that we have done great work for the entire industry, and it’s true, because it is recognising that phytogenics have taken their rightful space as a mainstream category of feed additives. Delacon and phytogenics are no longer a niche, we are a major player now and we see that every day.

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