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Another step towards greater feed safety


The safety and quality of animal feed is of paramount importance to prevent that hazardous substances enter into the food chain and affect human health. Moreover, contaminated feed has often resulted in the same feed or food of animal origin being recalled and/or destroyed with significant economic losses for the livestock industries and a negative impact on food security.


The Codex Alimentarius Commission has taken another step towards greater safety of animal feed and to enhanced food safety with the adoption of two additional documents that will help governmental authorities and the industry to protect more efficaciously the human health from the risk arising from the presence of hazardous substances in animal feed and to ensure fairer practices in the trade of animal feed.


The new Guidelines on the Application of Risk Assessment for Feed and Guidance for Governments on Prioritizing Hazards in Feed complement the already existing Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding and together with several other Codex recommendations which are also revelant to animal feeding (some of them are available for the right hand side menu) build up a corpus of valuable reference to ensure the safety of animal feed.


The two most recent guidance documents have been prepared by the Ad-hoc Codex Inter-governmental Task Force on Animal Feeding hosted by the Swiss government. The two new documents are now part of the "Codex Alimentarius", the collection of food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practices agreed at international level by the 185 members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission which was established in 1963 by the United Nations for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO). Codex Alimentarius recommendations are not binding for countries and industry, however they are considered as a reference by the World Trade Organization in case of trade disputes.


The Guidelines on the Application of Risk Assessment for Feed provide guidance for feed risk assessment by governments in accordance with Codex principles for risk analysis. They address the potential risks to human health associated with the presence of hazards in the feed of food-producing animals and the subsequent transfer of hazards to edible products. They should enable risk assessment of hazards in feed based upon local conditions considering the impact on food safety and human health. The application of these guidelines should also enable international comparability of feed risk assessments and thereby promote fair practices in food and feed trade.


Hazard prioritization is part of the risk management process within the risk analysis framework. The purpose of prioritizing hazards in feed is to contribute to the safety of edible products by optimizing allocation of the resources required for risk assessment and risk management. A defined prioritization process ensures transparency and repeatability, and facilitates re-evaluation when new data became available.


In this respect, the Guidance for Governments on Prioritizing Hazards in Feed provides guidance to governments on prioritizing hazards in feed using a multi-criteria analysis approach.


For additional information the Task Force has also compiled Examples of Hazards in Feed with Potential Relevance for Human Health (available in English, French and Spanish)