Press Release 97/24
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR GOOD ANIMAL FEEDING PROPOSED TO COUNTER HEALTH THREAT
TO HUMANS FROM CONTAMINATED MEAT, FAO REPORTS
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
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
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.