Good practices for producing safe animal feed
Livestock production is growing fastest in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Latin America. Increased output has been achieved mainly through the intensification of production systems and through a shift towards poultry and pigs with much slower expansion of beef production; dairying too has increased in both scale and intensification.
The industrialisation of livestock production systems, characterized by high animal densities are associated with substantial environmental and social externalities and require particular attention to food safety, animal disease emergence and control as well as to animal welfare and domestic animal diversity management.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and good practices in assessing, managing and communicating risks along the entire food chain are required. Such practices need to respect conditions of economic, environmental and social sustainability and to be geared towards protecting food safety and veterinary public health.
FAO assigns high priority to the development of good agricultural and management practices in livestock production and animal health; their application in the livestock sector relies on the active involvement of the sector itself in the design of such practices. The close collaboration of industry and inter-governmental agencies such as FAO in this endeavour is key for achieving the desired impact.
Food safety is in everyone’s interest. Given the direct links between animal feed and the safety of foods of animal origin – meat, milk and eggs - it is essential that the production and manufacture of animal feed is considered as an integral part of the food production chain. Feed production therefore must be subject to safety standards and quality assurances similar to those found in the integrated food chain.
FAO assists in the practical implementation of such standards by bringing together key players involved in the animal production, feed manufacturing, processing and retail chains to address issues of food and feed safety. For example, the close collaboration between FAO and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has resulted in the recent publication of the Manual of Good Practices for the Feed Industry which provides practical information to ensure that only safe manufactured animal feed enters the food chain. The Manual will soon be translated in all FAO official languages.