Partnering for results: FAO and the feed industry publish together a manual on feed safety
FAO and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) [link to IFIF site, see below] have just released in five languages the Manual of Good Practices for the Feed Industry, a publication that provides practical information to ensure that only safe manufactured animal feed enters the food chain. The publication of the Manual has been financed through the Standard and Trade Development Facility (STDF), which is a global partnership that supports developing countries in building their capacity to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards, guidelines and recommendations as a means to improve their human, animal and plant health status and ability to gain or maintain access to markets.
Animal feed production makes a significative contribution to the global food industry, enabling the production of animal proteins throughout the world. Addressing the safety of feed is of foremost importance if safe food of animal origin has to be produced. Codex Alimentarius, the internationally agreed reference on food safety, has specifically addressed animal feeding in a number of codes and guidelines, notably in the Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding. FAO assists countries and producers in the practical implementation of these Codex standards by bringing together key players involved in the animal and feed production, feed manufacturing, processing and retail chains to address feed safety. For example, the joint FAO/IFIF Manual of Good Practices for the Feed Industry provides detailed information of how to translate the Codex Code into practice.
World compound feed production has been estimated almost 1 billion tonnes annually, to this around 300 million tons of feed produced by on farm mixing should be added. Commercial production or sale of manufactured feed products takes place in more than 130 countries and directly employs more than a quarter of a million skilled workers, technicians, managers and professionals. This impressive production has allowed in the last decades the fast growth of livestock production in developing and emerging countries, particularly in South-East Asia and in Latin America. Increased output has been achieved mainly through the intensification of production systems which have seen an increased use of compound feed and through a shift towards compound feed fed poultry and pigs. With the continuing global expanding demand for animal protein, feed production is expected to continue grow by at least 3% a year.
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 and feed safety, to the prevention and control of animal diseases, as well as to the protection of animal welfare. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and good practices in assessing, managing and communicating risks along the entire feed and 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 animal health and welfare.
FAO assigns high priority to the development and dissemination of such practices and is aware that their application in the feed sector relies on the active involvement of the producers themselves in the design of such practices. In this endeavour, the rewarding collaboration with IFIF has been key for achieving the desired results.