The government has begun work to revise the standards for animal feed amid growing incidences of adulteration alongside an increase in production and export.
The move is aimed at eliminating substandard animal feed from the market as it can pose a risk to human health too, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) said.
The quality of the food given to livestock affects the quality of the milk, meat and eggs that people consume, it added. Currently, the Feed Act 1976 and related regulations and bylaws regulate the quality of animal feed. However, the existing laws only apply to the food given to cows, buffalos and chickens. The revised standards will extend to the food given to pigs, goats, rabbits, turkeys, fish and ducks.
DFTQC Director General Sanjeev Kumar Karna said they had not been able to effectively regulate the sector for lack of proper laws. “As a result, adulteration is spreading, and the use of substandard products in animal feed is likely to pose a risk to human health,” Karna said.
The DFTQC said there was growing use of substandard products consisting of algal compositions, alpha toxins and micro toxins in animal feed. “When such food is given to livestock, the quality of livestock products like meat and egg is also affected,” Karna said.
According to the DFTQC, the government has formed a committee led by Bimal Kumar Nirmal, director general of the Department of Livestock Services, to draft the standards for animal feed. The committee includes DFTQC officials as members.
Karna said there was a need for new standards as the livestock business had been expanding rapidly across the country. “The committee will formulate standards for animal feed for the entire livestock industry,” Karna said.
As per the statistics of Nepal Rastra Bank, exports of animal feed have swelled lately. Cattle feed shipments surged eightfold to Rs2.4 billion between mid-July and mid-January of the fiscal year, the central bank said.Karna said the revised standards could also help improve the quality of export products. According to him, most animal feed is manufactured from the by-products produced during the processing of mustard oil and sugar.
Besides revising the standards, the government has planned to improve the nutrient values of animal feed. For the purpose, a committee led by chief of the Central Animal Quarantine Office Ram Nandan Tiwari has been formed. Karna said the committee had been mandated to prepare a list of dietary supplements for animal feed.
According to the DFTQC, a draft of the revised standards will be sent to the Cabinet soon. The standards will be implemented after the Cabinet gives the go-ahead. “The standards will be enforced in coordination with all 753 local governments in the seven provinces,” Karna said.