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FEED - SEG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 43077
Funded under: FP6-FOOD
Country: Austria

A Europe-wide initiative for safer animal feed

Standardising controls in relation to animal feed is seen as a major priority throughout Europe. As part of this initiative, an EU project has just completed a major survey of feed regulations and practices in Member States.
A Europe-wide initiative for safer animal feed
Contaminated feedstuff is detrimental to animal health, and impurities and toxins can magnify on their way up the food chain which has a negative impact on food quality for the consumer. In a bid to bridge the gaps between the many research projects on feed safety, the 'Healthy feed for safety - Dissemination of research results of EC funded research on feed quality' (FEED-SEG) project brought together a multidisciplinary team of academic and industrial experts.

The overall objectives of the FEED-SEG consortium were to prepare recommendations for policy on feed content and safety and to pinpoint the most promising avenues of research to improve feed quality. Identifying alternatives for antibiotic growth promoters is an example of one of the more pressing topics that FEED-SEG addressed.

Cooperation and information exchange stand to make it easier to address issues such as residues, impurities, pathogens, antibiotics and growth promoters. Armed with this information, regulatory authorities will find it easier to establish Europe-wide thresholds for contaminants generally.

A crucial part of the project was a survey to provide an overview of the level of research and current development of guidelines in all EU Member States and Associated Candidate Countries (ACC). The results of the survey show there are marked differences in feed policy from country to country. Another major problem is the lack of laboratory facilities in some EU countries to detect feed contaminants, especially those imported from third countries. These factors are exacerbated by the sometimes inadequate level of research funding in various countries.

FEED-SEG drew up a number of important recommendations regarding animal feedstuff safety. Perhaps the most important would be to standardise a quality assurance and risk assessment system. Implementation of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) procedures would remove the need to check each sample, for example.

Finding solutions for funding, a clear as well as transparent national food and feed safety strategy and more harmonised legislation will go a long way to ironing out anomalies in Europe's feedstuff policies. This could be good news not only for the agriculture industry, but also for the consumer and food safety.

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