FAO enhances dialogue between feed regulators and private sectors
Animal feed may contribute to animal health and welfare, food safety and to the mitigation of adverse impact of livestock sector to the environment. FAO strives to enhance dialogue among all operators of the feed and food chains to recognise that safety of products of animal origin and animal health and welfare start with healthy feed materials.
Worldwide compound feed production was close to an estimated 870 million tons in 2011 (worth approximately USD 350 billion); to this around 300 million tons of feed produced by on farm mixing should be added. With the global expanding demand for animal protein, feed production is expected to continue grow by at least 3% a year. At the same time the feed sector is under increasing pressure to supply sustainable, safe and healthy feed.
As part of its regular programme, FAO is collaborating with the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) to enhance dialogue, exchange information and foster cooperation between the public and the private sector on themes of common interest related to the feed sector. IFIF gathers national and regional feed industry associations, supplier associations and agri-business; its membership produce over 80% of the compound feed globally.
Within this cooperation, FAO and IFIF have been organising since 2008 annual meetings that bring together feed regulators and feed industries. The fifth FAO/IFIF Feed Regulator Meeting (Atlanta, USA, 24-25 January 2012) gathered ninety-two participants from sixteen countries to discuss the following themes:
- (i) risk assessment in animal feed and practical cases of risk assessment;
- (ii) harmonisation of feed regulations; and
- (iii) feed emergencies.
The meeting highlighted the need: to raise awareness on the importance of feed safety among all operators of the feed and food chains; to strengthen communication and dialogue among regulator, feed industry, farmers and other private sector operators on new and emerging risks; to enhance the capacities of countries to control and monitor contaminants in feed (e.g., through training; establishment of a network of qualified laboratories, etc.); and to develop and make available low-cost analytical methods. Moreover, the participants called FAO to provide a mechanism to facilitate the exchange of information in the management of feed emergency.
The meeting in Atlanta was also an opportunity to raise awareness and update participants on the activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission related to animal feed and in particular on the work of the re-established ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Animal Feeding, hosted by Switzerland. The Task Force, which will meet in Berne on 20-24 February 2012, will develop guidelines for use by governments on the application of risk assessment for feed and a prioritised list of hazards in feed and criteria for their prioritization. This work will complement the Codex Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding and other specific provisions for animal feedings contained in other Codex texts.