AFIA expresses concern about impact of FAO expert feed consultation report

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released in Rome a new report of a joint feed expert consultation that occurred in October 2007
January 9, 2008

AFIA expresses concern about impact of FAO expert feed consultation report


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released in Rome a new report of a joint feed expert consultation that occurred in October 2007.

This weighty report contains recommendations that are global in scope and are seen by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) as having a Eurocentric view of the feed industry.

AFIA’s Vice President, Feed Regulation and Nutrition, Richard Sellers, said the importance of this report is due to the relationship of FAO to the Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) Commission (CAC) which the FAO administers.

In 2004, the CAC accepted a report that created a “Code of Good Animal Feeding Practice.”  As Codex is a WTO-recognized scientific body, the adoption of a code can have considerable trade implications, in that countries may legally bar animal feed for food animals if it does not meet the code’s requirements.

“Because the Code makes several recommendations and includes HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points) adoption, where appropriate, to reduce hazards in feed for food animals, the EU adopted HACCP as a requirement of feed in January 2006 and required it for imports in January 2007”, Sellers explained, adding that at this point there is however little enforcement. “This means any EU country can legally bar feed or ingredients from coming into the EU unless produced under the HACCP requirements.  The EU also extended such requirements to pet food, although Codex’s mandate is only for human food”.

Part of AFIA’s role in the International Feed Industry Federation is to assist IFIF in creating an implementation guide for this new code and to train countries around the world on it.  “It’s been a slow process”, Sellers said.

“The EU has pushed to resurrect this task force to address a number of non-scientific issues or issues considered by other Codex committees.  To that end the Codex authorized the formation of this Joint Experts meeting and subsequent and has sent a letter to the member countries to see if a new task force should be formed.  It’s clear from the report that the experts believe a new task force should be formed.  Such a task force would include government officials from any Codex country that wished to participate”.

AFIA has difficulty in supporting a new task force due to the newness of the current Code, its lack of implementation in many countries and the lack of any new science since the Code was approved in 2004, Sellers said. “It remains to be seen what will happen with the report and how individual countries will view it in light of Codex’s call for opinions on forming a new feed task force”.  

IFIF is hosting a meeting in Atlanta before the IFE’08 that will bring together feed regulators from the EU, USA, Canada and Mexico (Brazilian and Chinese regulators will be unable to attend) for discussions on this report and expectations for any new task force.  An FAO representative will be there to present the reports highlights.  

“For the long-term, this is a significant document that will drive world feed trade in finished feed and ingredients.  I am concerned that we would see substantially more regulation by importing countries, especially the EU or countries doing business with the EU, as they export their food safety philosophy”, Sellers told  

The experts discussed a diverse list of hazards that present human health risks and disrupt trade.

Potential measures to ensure safe feed include:

• applying valid methods for decontamination, disinfection and cleaning;

• developing rapid and economical analytical methods for screening feed and feed ingredients;

• reporting the presence of undesirable substances to national and international authorities; to this end, minimum criteria for reporting such events to trading partners are needed;

• developing international standards for certain undesirable substances using the “Tolerable Daily

Intake” (TDI) approach;

• rapidly notifying the competent authorities of feed safety incidents that could result in human food safety hazards;

• training regulators, inspectors, feed and livestock industry personnel and farmers to produce and use safe feed;

• implementing communication strategies to address consumers and the food industry, highlighting the importance of feed safety in producing safe food products; and

• assisting less-developed countries to meet international standards through the provision of technical advice and assistance.


The Expert Group made the following recommendations:

(i) The application of the Codex Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding4 should be promoted in order to minimize risks.

(ii) General principles and guidelines for the assessment of risk for feed ingredients or categories of ingredients should be developed.

(iii) A prioritized list of hazards of international relevance for which standards could be developed for feed and feed ingredients with respect to food safety were identified during this Expert Meeting.

Countries should assess the need for further evaluation by international scientific expert committees.

(iv) The existing Codex Code of Practice for Source Directed Measures to Reduce Contamination of Food with Chemicals (CAC/RCP 49-2001)5, which also encompasses feed, should be reviewed to include specific provisions related to feed safety.

(v) Research on the of rates of transfer and accumulation of dioxins, dibenzofurans, and dioxin-like PCBs from feed to edible tissue in animal-derived products and management measures should be continued.

(vi) Inexpensive and accurate screening methods for the detection and quantification of dioxins,

dibenzofurans and dioxin-like PCBs in feed and feed ingredients should be developed.

(vii) Rapid and semi-quantitative screening methods for detection of aflatoxin B1 in both feed and feed ingredients are needed. The methods should be simple enough for use by non-technical personnel and inexpensive so as to encourage their use.

(viii) Communication should be improved to raise the awareness among biofuel (e.g. ethanol and

biodiesel) processors, livestock producers and the feed industry of the need for safety assessments prior to the use in animal feeds of by-products from the production of biofuels.

(ix) More research is needed to determine the fate and residual concentration of aflatoxin B1, and any antibiotics used to control unwanted microbial growth during the biofuels fermentation process.

Research is also needed to evaluate the risk of residual levels of methanol in glycerol from biodiesel production when it is used as a feed ingredient, particularly in dairy production.

(x) The existing Codex Codes regarding emergency situations, which also encompass feed, should be reviewed to include specific provisions on feed emergencies related to food safety.

(xi) The international emergency notification system for food (INFOSAN) should be expanded in collaboration with the OIE to consider linkages between food and feed emergencies and to incorporate appropriate changes to include feed emergency notifications.

(xi) Emergency response systems for feed and food should be developed at the national and regional levels to contribute to food safety. FAO and WHO should assist in the development and application of such systems.

(xii) Training for regulators, inspectors, all sectors of the feed manufacturing and distribution chain, the livestock industry, farmers and other stakeholders relating to the production of safe feed should be carried out where possible using existing training materials, i.e. guidelines and manuals. FAO, WHO and other organizations should assist in the development of training methods.

(xiii) FAO and WHO should convene regular expert meetings and other fora to continue monitoring the situation, update information on the impact of feed on food safety, foster the dialogue among partners and identify areas needing attention.



Download the report (PDF) (pre-publication version)


Related documents:

FAO/WHO. 2004. Code of practice on good animal feeding, (CAC/RCP 54-2004). Rome. (PDF)

FAO/WHO. 2001. Code of practice for source directed measures to reduce contamination of food with chemicals(CAC/RCP 49-2001). Rome. (PDF)