IFFO has welcomed the ASC’s Responsible Feed Standard consultation as a welcome opportunity to comment on the proposals, which form a wide ranging and demanding standard encompassing environmental impacts, social and welfare requirements, energy usage and other criteria.
IFFO points out that although the document covers the ingredients used to manufacture compound feed, an obvious feature of the draft standard is that the vast majority of the criteria refer to ingredients from marine sources, eg fishmeal and fish oil. The criteria for land based ingredients, whether vegetable or animal, are very brief in comparison. This is perhaps surprising given that the marine sourced raw materials are the minority of the formulation, typically 10-15% by weight.
However, IFFO believes the marine ingredients industry should see this as a compliment, as the draft standard cannot ask for criteria that cannot be met or for standards that are not available. The marine ingredients industry have come a long way in recent years, establishing supplies with independent standards for traceability and environmental impact that are not available from other sectors. Over 40% of the world’s fishmeal supply is now independently certified, compared to less than 5% of the world soya production.
The ASC standards for farmed fish are well respected and provide valuable assurance for retailers and other buyers. However, until land based feed ingredients can offer similar levels of assurance to the marine sector, buyers need to recognise that the Feed Mill standard offers only a basic level of assurance for the land based ingredients which make up the majority of the feed.
Andrew Mallison, Director General of IFFO said: “I welcome this initiative from the ASC and when completed, this new standard should provide harmonisation to the feed requirements within the current ASC farming standards for individual species. However, there is a clear difference in the expectations between land based feed ingredients, forming the majority of the feed, and the marine based ingredients where responsible and traceable production is now well established. It will be interesting to see if the land based industries follow our lead.”