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Animal Feed Risks Tied to Algae and Insects: Report

Hazards linked to animal feed are high and could potentially increase, according to key findings from an event sponsored by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization in Rome. The dangers are tied to newly introduced ingredients used in animal feed, including insect protein, previous foodstuffs and algae derived additives, the findings indicate.

Higher standards are needed in order to battle the heightened risk. Event participants stressed a need for Codex to include a “consideration of feed” when creating or revising its standards or protocols for biological or chemical contaminants.

“The WHO’s Global Event Monitoring System – Food Contamination Monitoring and assessment program (GMS food), which informs governments, Codex and other relevant institutions, as well as the public, on levels and trends of contaminants in food currently does not contain any information on animal feed risks. We are now working at expanding it to include such hazards. I can’t put a timeline on it but we want this up and running sooner rather than later,” according to Daniela Battaglia, FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division livestock development officer, in Feed Navigator.

Battaglia pointed to varying standards for regulation tied to animal feed among developed and emerging economies, which complicates the management of animal feed risks globally.

Among the symposium findings was the likelihood of unrecognized mycotoxins in light of the “thousands of fungal species” producing secondary metabolites that have yet to be evaluated for toxins. Insect proteins were said to present a risk to animal feed due to sparse information on any dangers related to this item, underscoring a need for regulation. Algae could concentrate numerous chemical elements that when taken in excess could be toxic. Former foodstuffs, which involves the “recycling and reuse of former food and food processing byproducts in the feed chain,” can present risks if not properly managed to avoid contamination or compromised foodstuffs.

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