ARCHIVE: BSE: Disease control & eradication - Feed controls - Q&A
Q1. Why is the feed ban so important?
A. The feed ban is the key BSE eradication tool. Experiments show that doses of infected tissue as low as 1 mg can infect a calf with BSE.
Q2. What feed controls were introduced to combat BSE up to 2001?
A. In the UK a ban on feeding ruminant protein to ruminants was first introduced in 1988. From June 1994 the EU prohibited the feeding of mammalian protein to ruminant species in all Member States including the UK. Our UK feed controls were also extended in March 1996 to prohibit the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal (MMBM) to all farmed livestock.
In the face of a sharp increase in the number of cases of BSE being reported elsewhere in Europe, including some first homebred cases, the Agriculture Council on 04 December 2000 agreed measures to be implemented in all Member States, which included a ban on the feeding of processed animal protein to animals which are kept, fattened or bred for the production of food. These controls were implemented in the Great Britain from 01 August 2001.
Q3. What are the current feed controls in place?
A. The current feed controls are laid down in Regulation (EC) No.999/2001 administered by the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations 2008. Guidance Notes (400 KB) are available on the AHVLA website.
Q4. Why are there still restrictions on using fishmeal in ruminant feed?
A. In 2006 the European Parliament and Council agreed an amendment to the EU TSE Regulation which allowed the European Commission to introduce legislation permitting the feeding of fishmeal to young ruminants. However the European Parliament was concerned about failing to ensure the natural diet of adult ruminants so the Regulation maintained the ban on feeding fishmeal to adult ruminants.
In September 2008, the EU adopted Commission Regulation (EC) No.956/2008 permitting the feeding of fishmeal to unweaned ruminants in liquid milk replacer subject to strict controls. This followed a European Food Safety Authority opinion, a Community Reference Laboratory report on the performance of tests to detect traces of meat and bone meal (MBM) in fishmeal and a scientific assessment of the dietary needs of young ruminants. The latter concluded that fishmeal is a highly digestible protein source with a good amino acid profile and a high calcium/phosphorus content, compared to vegetable protein sources. The Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2010 administer Commission Regulation (EC) No.956/2008 in England. Farms feeding milk replacer containing fishmeal to unweaned ruminants must be registered with Animal Health.
Q5. Why can blood meal derived from non-ruminants only be fed to farmed fish when blood products derived from non-ruminants can be fed to all non-ruminant farmed animals?
A. “Blood products” and “blood meal” are defined in the EU Animal By-Products Regulation. Whilst blood products can only be produced using blood from animals that have passed both ante- and post- mortem inspection, blood meal may be produced using blood from animals that have passed ante-mortem inspection only. Because of the slightly less stringent production standards for the production of blood meal derived from non-ruminants, it may only be fed to farmed fish.
Q6. Is it permitted to former foodstuffs containing ruminant gelatine to produce feed for farmed animals?
A. No, it is illegal to feed ruminant gelatine, including feed containing ruminant gelatine, to farmed animals.
Q7. Is it permitted to feed waste crisps to farmed animals, if the crisp flavourings contain animal protein?
A. It is illegal to feed animal protein to ruminants and it is illegal to feed processed animal proteins to any farmed animals. Animal protein in crisp flavourings is not included in the definition of processed animal protein.
Consequently former foodstuffs, such as flavoured crisps, where the flavourings contain animal proteins, may be fed to non-ruminant animals such as pigs, pigs and horses, but not to ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats.
Q8. Is it permitted to feed marine crustaceans to farmed animals?
A. Marine crustaceans (e.g. prawns, shrimps, krill) would, if sourced and processed appropriately, fall within the definition of “fishmeal” in Regulation (EC) No.1774/2002 such that the TSE rules on feeding fishmeal to farmed animals would apply.
Q9. Are there any restrictions under the TSE Regulations regarding the feeding of chondroitin or glucosamine to horses as supplements?
Page last modified: 3 October 2011