ACAF open meeting: 15 February 2018

Last updated:
9 March 2018
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The 75th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs, held in the Wellington Grange Hotel, London on 15 February 2018, gave stakeholders an opportunity to observe the Committee at work and ask questions.

The following items were discussed:

Use of algae as animal feed – Dr Gerry Dillon (Alltech) provided Members with a case study and research update undertaken by Alltech on the use of algae as animal feed. The Committee were informed of the research results which indicate that the benefits of the use of algae as an animal feedingstuff were increased production efficiency, product quality and health benefits for human and animal populations.  Dr Dillon advised that some Alltech algae products as animal feed were available in many parts of the world, such as the EU and Canada, and that others were going through an approval process in the USA before being marketed.  Members found the presentation of considerable interest and requested further information on developments when available.

Feed Additives – The Committee has discussed on several occasions optimum ways to communicate with the feed industry to emphasise the importance of compliance with maximum permitted levels set for trace elements in feedstuffs. At the October 2017 meeting, Members agreed that a Working Group would be convened and report on the outcome of the inaugural meeting at the Committee’s main meeting in February 2018.  The Chairman of the Working Group on feed additives and over-supplementation reported that an inaugural meeting had been held in December 2017 where the group agreed its name and terms of reference.  Additionally, after looking at the evidence on the issue, the size and compliance at farm level, the Group agreed that it did not wish to duplicate work already being carried out.  It agreed to produce a matrix on the species against particular supplements and additives that should be considered as part of the Group’s work.  Other areas discussed by the Group was identification of knowledge-gaps, the role of local authorities, and methods of communication.  The Working Group Chairman agreed to provide a full presentation at the Committee’s June 2018 meeting

Update on formaldehyde – Dr Mark Bond provided the Committee with background and the current status of formaldehyde as a feed additive.  A denial of the authorisation of formaldehyde as a feed additive was voted on at the December 2017 Standing Committee meeting where a qualified majority vote in favour was achieved.  Regulation (EU) 2018/183 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 8 February 2018 and comes into force twenty days after its publication.  Members commented that formaldehyde has been used as a decontaminant and that other alternatives are less effective or carry more risks for the user.  It was pointed out that formaldehyde can still be used as a biocide but not as a feed additive and that the Regulation provides a transition period for the existing use of formaldehyde as a preservative, but not for the proposed use as a hygiene condition enhancer.  Members agreed that safety of workers was important, however focus on reducing microbiological hazards on farms was needed.

Raw pet food – The raw pet food sector is a rapidly growing industry in the UK and internationally.  Following a presentation by Dr Mark Bond on the issues related to raw pet food, including the number of incidents and legislative requirements, Members were invited to express their views.  Additionally, the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) has identified raw pet food as an emerging risk.  Members agreed that a document be prepared by ACAF in liaison with the ACMSF highlighting the risks of raw pet food, in terms of sourcing, production, transport, storage, handling and use and how these can be mitigated.

Update on FSA preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union

Referring to a paper presented to the FSA Board in September 2017, on the preparations being carried out by the FSA for leaving the EU, Mr Carles Orri outlined key issues that the Agency was considering in relation to risk assessment, which the Committee had an interest.  Following his oral update, the Committee raised a number of points on the future relationship between the UK and EFSA, the potential for enhancing the role of the Committee in terms of carrying out risk assessment and to ensure that any risk assessment carried out by the UK was compatible to those carried out by EFSA where appropriate.  The Committee also acknowledged that its role had yet to be decided but further resources and expertise may be required in order to enable the Committee to continue to provide a high level of expert advice.

After the close of the meeting, delegates were given the opportunity to ask questions of the Committee.

The next ACAF meeting is scheduled to take place on 28 June 2018, the venue is yet to be confirmed.