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DG JRC: Safety first in feed additive authorisations

On 9 November 2004, the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for the authorisation of feed additives will be inaugurated in Geel, Belgium. The role of the CRL will be to evaluate the analytical methods proposed to detect the presence of feed additives.

Feed additives are used in animal feed to improve the productivity or health of the animals. Before being authorised, all feed additives must undergo a safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the CRL will evaluate the analytical methods proposed to detect the presence of feed additives. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has been nominated as the CRL for Feed Additives, which is established at the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in Geel. "Human and animal health is of major concern to us all. The new and improved authorisation process for feed additives requires top notch competence and research capacity. I am confident that the IRMM has what it takes carry out these tasks" said Research Commissioner Louis Michel. David Byrne, the Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "The strengthening of the rules on the safety of animal feed was one of the cornerstones of the EU's integrated approach to the food chain in recent years. To maintain consumer confidence, we must now ensure that these rules are strictly applied." Why are feed additives used? Traditionally, animals were fed with feedingstuffs like forage and grains. In modern agriculture, compound feeds have also been developed, consisting of very diverse feed materials like grains and by-products from food processing combined with feed additives. Feed additives are used to improve animal productivity or health. Examples are nutritional additives like vitamins and minerals, sensory additives, or technological additives like preservatives and emulsifiers. There are at present some 700 substances and preparations authorised as feed additives by EU legislation. Authorisations require safety evaluations Before placing a feed additive on the market, the interested party has to apply for an authorisation, providing data demonstrating that the feed additive does not have an adverse effect on human health, animal health or the environment. EFSA carries out the scientific safety assessment while the CRL evaluates the analytical methods proposed to be used to determine the presence of the additive in feed and its possible residues in food. Methods for the analysis of residues in food are particularly important in the cases when the authorisation establishes maximum residue levels (MRLs) in animal-derived food products. The CRL will also maintain reference samples of all authorised additives and will carry out related tasks. The CRL will be assisted by a consortium of laboratories from EU Member States. The setting up of the Community Reference Laboratory is part of the modernisation of the system for the authorisation of feed additives as laid down by Regulation 1831/2003. This Regulation enters fully into application in October 2004. Some 90 applications for the authorisation of feed additives have been submitted during 2004 to the Commission. The inauguration will take place starting at 10:00 on 9 November and journalists are welcomed to the inauguration. The agenda can be found in the annex of the following website: IRMM is one of the seven Institutes of the European Commissions Joint Research Centre. The mission of the IRMM is to promote a common and reliable European measurement system in support of EU policies. The prime objective of the IRMM is to build confidence of measurements by the development, production and dissemination of internationally accepted quality assurance tools, including reference materials, validated methods, reference measurements, inter-laboratory comparisons and providing training.


Feed additives