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Quality and safety of feeding fats obtained from waste or by-products from the food chain

Final Report Summary - FEEDING FATS SAFETY (Quality and safety of feeding fats obtained from waste or by-products from the food chain)

The research project FEEDING FATS SAFETY was devised to respond to the needs of feedstuff and meat producers to increase the safety of fats included in animal feed. Thus, the objective of the project is to provide information on the quantitative effects of several contaminants (dioxin, PCBs, PAHs, PBDEs) and lipid degradation products (oxidation, isomerisation and polimerisation) in feed fats on the quality of meat, as well as data on the repercussions of these compounds on animal health and productive parameters and finally, on human health. We proposed to assess the extent of the risks of including a number of fat sources obtained from co- or by-products from the food chain, such as animal fats, fish oils, acid oils from refining processes, in the manufacture of animal feed. The lack of product standardisation could entail a risk in the use of these fats. Therefore, one of the aims of the project is to establish a classification and characterisation protocol for fats included in animal feed production. To date, this use of fats has not been strictly regulated and producers have included in feeds various low quality, low-cost fats, sometimes derived from degraded or contaminated waste materials. The lack of regulations in this sector also hinders the development and commercialisation of special fatty products and the use of several natural by-products / co-products from oil refining. The proper use of fat products is also of relevance to the environment as it could lead to a reduction in the amount of valuable materials to be disposed of.

The strategic impact of the results is related mainly to consumer health protection, but also to the improvement of the most critical step in the chain of foods from animal origin, namely the feedstuff quality control. Recent cases of a lack of safety of some foods of animal origin has been associated with a failure in this step, and the consumer confidence must be recovered by reinforcing the quality of feed production. In addition, the results of this project can help European fat and feedstuff producers to improve the quality of their production systems and increase their competitiveness with non-Member States.

After the conclusion of FFS project the knowledge level on the composition and on the properties of feeding fats was greatly improved and one of the main goals we achieved was that is was possible to identify risk and benefits for the use of each fat category in feed formulation. This fact, along with a strong classification system and with the related available analytical protocols will ensure a better product evaluation, providing stronger rules for the food safety and for a fair trade.

From our analysis resulted that the advantages of the use of some co-products and technical lipids in feed are independent from environmental benefits. Their use has reasons in itself and not as an alternative use to disposal.

Concerning dioxin and PCB levels, which resulted to be higher than maximum admitted levels in some fish oils samples, no technological recommendations can be given. The contamination is of environmental origin and there are no cleaning methods at the moment for oils contaminated with dioxin and PCB which are economically acceptable. A method to improve fish oil safety could be the analysis of the fish oil stocks. Moreover, the oxidation control in fish oils is more problematic than for other co-products. To reduce or eliminate oxidation from fish oil, a refining treatment cannot be applied, since significantly would increase the cost of this co-product in comparison with crude conventional oils.

From the comparison of costs of iso-energetic feed formulas containing co-products or conventional oils, we can conclude that the use of co-products such as vegetable AOCHE, AOPHY and ANFA are economically interesting alternatives for feed and meat producers if compared with conventional oils such as soybean, rape, sunflower and palm oil.

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