Good animal feeding plays a vital role in animal health & welfare and in the production of safe and quality products of animal origin. The increasing demand for proteins of animal origin has led to intensification of livestock production, mainly based on the use of industrial compound feed. This has led to an increasing use of selected feed grains and fodder seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, new and unconventional materials in the production of feed such as biofuel by-products and several others agro-industrial by-products. In the past years, several contamination episodes have raised attention on the importance of ensuring feed safety and on the need to prevent and control the presence of old and new hazards, such as dioxin, aflatoxins and other undesirable substances.
The role of Codex in Animal Feed
The link between safe feed and safe food is now well recognized; in particular the modern approach to food safety identifies measures to minimize and prevent and the entry of hazards at the early stages of the production chain, including the primary production of the feed grains and fodder. This has led to a greater awareness of the primary producers, including the farmers and the feed sector to their contribution and responsibility to the production of safe and quality food.
Recognizing the importance of animal feeding to the production of safe food, Codex has established two dedicated Task Forces, which have developed texts aiming at providing guidance to governments on good animal feeding practice and on the conduct of risk assessment and prioritization of hazards in feed. Work relevant to animal feed is also carried out in other Codex committees when this impact of food safety in relation to contaminants, residues of pesticides and veterinary drugs, food hygiene and inspection and certification.
Codex work on animal feeding only addresses food safety and does not cover those issues of animal welfare, other than food safety related animal health issues. Environmental contaminants are considered where the level of such substances in the feed and feed ingredients could present a risk to consumer health from the consumption of foods of animal origin. Mainstreaming animal feeding aspects in the work of Codex is an explicit recognition of the role and responsibility of the feed sector to the production of safe and quality food.