Food production is a complex process, with the ultimate objective of the food industry and food safety regulators being to ensure that food reaching the consumer is safe and wholesome, food generally expected to be safe may become unsafe due to the introduction of hazards during production, processing, storage, transport, or final preparation for consumption. For food derived from animals, the hazard may originate from a number of these and other sources including the consumption by food production animals of contaminated food.
Examples of hazards in food that can be linked to feed and have long been recognised include salmonellosis, mycotoxicosis, and the ingestion of unacceptable residue levels of veterinary drugs and agricultural and industrial chemicals. In addition, if the postulated link between BSE and the new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nv-CJD) is established, it would be another example of food contamination originating in feed.
Two papers were commissioned by FAO for the Consultation. The first paper (Annex 3) addresses feed processing and the second paper (Annex 4) addresses infections and intoxications of farm livestock associated with feed and forage.
The Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, administered by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), has also done some work in this area in the past. Included in its standards, guidelines and other recommendations are quality and safety standards for meat and various meat products, maximum levels for contaminants, maximum residue levels for residues of veterinary drugs and pesticides and codes of practice ranging from hygienic practices to use and control of veterinary drugs. Annex 5 contains a description and summary of the Codex work.