Press Release 97/24

Press releases

 Back to archive

Press Release 97/24


ROME, June 11 -- A draft Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding has been drawn up in response to health and food-trade problems related to cases in which humans became ill after eating meat and animal products that may have been contaminated by the food fed to the animals, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today.

The draft Code applies to feed manufacturing and to the use of all feeds, other than those consumed while grazing free range. It specifies means to assure controls of pathogenic bacterium, mycotoxins (toxins produced by mould in feed), veterinary drug residues, pesticide residues and heavy metals in animal feed. If followed, the Code would also address the possible linkage between the “mad cow disease” and the “Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease”.

Recent problems include an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as “mad cow disease”, in cattle in several European countries and the possible link of BSE to a new variant of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, a rare disease in humans. Recent cases of food-borne illness such as salmonella enteritis originating from meat and animal produces may have had their origins in contaminated animal feed.

The objective of the Code is to encourage adherence to Good Manufacturing Practice during the procurement, handling, storage, processing (however minimal), and distribution of feed for food-producing animals. A further objective is to encourage good feeding practices on the farm. The draft Code was drawn up by an Expert Consultation on Animal Feeding and Food Safety, which met in Rome response to an initiative by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

The Code will now be referred to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, responsible since 1962 for the implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The Commission will be asked to consider the Code for adoption into the Codex Alimentarius, a body of standards, guidelines and other recommendations recognized by the World Trade Organization as meeting international trade requirements for food quality and safety.

When followed, FAO said, the Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding will greatly increase control of quality and safety problems linked to animal feed and subsequently related to animal products consumed by humans. FAO encourages the feed industry to provide assistance to developing countries to support the implementation of improved feeding practices to facilitate food safety.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission was founded in response to the world-wide recognition of the importance of international trade and the need to facilitate such trade, while at the same time ensuring the quality and safety of food for the world consumer. The Commission already has in effect codes of practice that govern meat hygiene and the maximum residue limits for veterinary drugs and pesticides in food. However, up until now no general approach has been taken to provide guidance for animal feeding that would assist in production, processing and use of foodstuffs for animal production.

 FAO Home page 

 Search our site