An FAO Expert Consultation on Animal Feeding and Food Safety was held at FAO Headquarters in Rome from 10 to 14 March 1997. The Consultation participants arc listed in Annex 1. The Consultation was opened by Mr. John Lupien, Director of FAO's Food and Nutrition Division, who welcomed the participants on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, Dr. Jacques Diouf.
In welcoming the participants, Mr. Lupien pointed out that FAO has had a long-standing interest in the relationship between animal feeding, trade and food safety1. Over the years problems such as salmonellae and other pathogenic micro-organisms in feed; aflatoxin contamination in feed affecting poultry and trout and other mycotoxin problems; contamination of feeds with pesticide residues, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals have created concern at national and international levels. Such problems can pose risks to human health and significant difficulties to trade in feed and in food derived from animals. In the past many feed components have been handled in ways that were not designed to assure the quality and safety of the final feed. Most recently the link that has been drawn between bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and feed ingredients has given additional impetus towards devising and enforcing strict quality and safety control procedures in all steps of producing, processing and utilization of feeds.
Throughout this report, 'food' means any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, of animal origin, which is intended for human consumption, and includes milk. The word 'feed' means any substance whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended for consumption by animals from which food is derived from animals, the hazard may originate from a number of these and other sources including the consumption by food production animals of contaminated feed.
Mr. Lupien said that the report of this Consultation will help FAO further develop, at the international level, the overall scientific basis that is essential to the development of improved practices in the feeding of animals for the production of food. A recommended code of practice for good animal feeding would improve overall feeding practices and ensure better quality and safer feeds, and better quality and safer animal products for human consumption. The report of this Consultation will be of vital interest to FAO, its member governments and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The Consultation elected Professor David Fraser as Chairman and Dr. John Wilesmith as Vice-Chairman. Dr. Keith Behnke was appointed as Rapporteur. In his opening remarks Professor Fraser pointed out that because the cost of feeding was the major expense in many animal production systems, the animal industries are constantly seeking novel and cheaper feeds, all of which may or may not introduce new contaminants into the food chain. He expressed the hope that the Consultation would lead to the formulation of a code of practice for good animal feeding which would minimise hazards which might arise from feeds during livestock production.