Quality Standards in Animal Feed Industry

As per the data shared by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) (Feb 2017:PIB), the dairy cooperative network in the country produces about 3.6 million tonnes per annum of cattle feed, against the installed capacity of about 5 million tonnes per annum across 70 cattle feed plants. The private sector produces an additional 4.5 million tonnes of feed, which totals up to 8 million tonnes per annum, sufficient for only about 8 million cattle out of more than 100 million breed-able animals in the country. Thus, one can access the large gap in the quantity of feed required that is still to be scaled. Comes with the need of feed production, a regulatory framework in place to ensure the quality of the feed produced.
Faced with the demand for increasing nutritive value of the feed with limited resources of land and capital, it has been discovered that unwanted chemicals and adulterants have been used in animal feeds as it helps to have high analytical grading for the feed. As per NDDB data adulterants range from substances such as groundnut husk to marble dust and poisonous argemone seeds as well making it more and more insightful to follow quality standards which lay down guidelines for the manufacturing to marketing of the animal feed and set up regulations making it mandatory for feed manufacturers to abide by the set standards. Adulteration in feed is directly related to public health importance as meat and milk are directly used for human consumption.
The feedstuffs used for feeding livestock can be classified into three major classes depending on the contents of fiber, moisture and nutrients as: green or succulent forages or fodders; dry forages or fodders and concentrate feeds where is maximum scope for adulteration and hence maximum requirement for following the quality control norms.
One of the foremost organizations in the world with respect to animal feed industry the American Feed Industry Association. (AFIA) has defined feed quality-control programs as: “All actions directed towards ensuring the product meets the specifications established by the manufacturer”. Any good feed quality-control program contains four components:
Ingredient quality
Process control
Finished feed quality
Control of toxic substances, including pathogenic micro-organisms
Quality Control in Animal Feed
The objective of quality control of feedstuffs is to ensure that a consumer should obtain feeds that are unadulterated, true to their nature and produce desired results. Quality control is therefore, defined as the maintenance of quality at levels and tolerances acceptable to the buyer while minimizing the cost of processing.
It has to be recognized that feed safety is not the only element that determines the safety of food of animal origin, but that the use of other products, such as drugs and growth promoters (hormones and beta-agonists), also has an impact. Although nutritional quality is important for a common policy in the industry, the main concern is feed safety as part of food safety.
Quality has been defined as “Degree to whicha set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements”. This clearly indicates that achieving quality means fulfilling requirements. The requirements may come from customers and in some cases from regulatory authorities. Usually quality is verified by comparison with a known standard. In view of this, monitoring of quality control at different points has been classified as under:
1. Quality control of raw materials and finished products
2. Quality control during storage
3. Quality control during production
Quality Control Legislations in Indian Feed Industry:
In the organized sector, animal feed business is quite competitive and feed manufacturers therefore endeavor to produce feed of the highest possible quality.
Most of industries are advocating HACCP-hazard analysis critical control point measures to ensure safe feeds. Indian scientists are constantly working to upgrade the quality of Indian feed and make it completely safe for animal feeding.
In India the quality control is regulated by to a statuary body Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It was established under BIS Act, 1986. Earlier, Indian standards Institute was regulating the quality control of various feed commodities.
Bureau has set up subcommittees for the standardization of different types of commodities. A sub-committee on animal feeds called Animal Feeds Sectional Committee has been specifically set up to check the quality of animal feeds and feed ingredients. The members of animal feeds sectional committee are the eminent nutritionist taken from the:ICAR institutes; State Agricultural Universities; Feed Industry, Government departments having specialization in Animal Nutrition and Feed Technologist concerned with Animal Husbandry Activities. It ensures expert scientific inputs.
The Government of India is empowered with registration act on the Agricultural produce (Grading and Marketing), known as ‘AGMARK’ standards to fix quality standards and prescribe terms and conditions for using the seal, ‘AGMARK’.
Government is also taking control measures by legislation to ensure quality and safe feeds at controlled cost. Many regulations have been put forward from time to time to ensure quality standards in animal feed viz:
The Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act,1980
The Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules,1977
The Consumer Protection Act,1986
Schedule of Tariff Values of the Articles Liable to Cess for 2006-07
Agricultural Produce Cess Act,1940
Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order,1998
The Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules,1955
The latest legislation in this respect is Cattle Feed (Regulation of Manufacture and Sale) Order, 2009. The nodal organization involved in India towards developing interlinkages between industry academia and other sectors towards feed manufacturing practices and setting quality norms is Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers’ Association (CLFMA).
Quality Control for Feed Safety at International Level
International Feed Safety Alliance (IFSA) is a joint program initiated in order to combine the existing feed ingredients quality programs into one program that can operate across the world with one set of standards. To comply with the standards of IFSA, the participants will need to apply the principles of Hazard Analysis (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
Under WTO ,SPS Article 3 which deals with Harmonization encourages use of international standards for food safety & animal health i.e. codex. Important Codex guidelineson feed safety include:
Classification of foods & animal feeds (CAC/Misc 4 – 93)
Codex General standard for contaminants in foods & feeds (Codex stan193-1995)
MRLs for pesticides (CAC/MRL 1-2009); veterinary drug (2-2009), extraneous MRLs (CAC/MRL 3-2001)
Code of Practice on reduction of dioxin & dioxin-like PCB contamination in foods & feeds (CAC/RCP 62-2006)
Code of practice for reduction of aflatoxin B1 in raw material & supplemental feeding stuffs for milk producing animals (CAC/RCP 45-1997)
Code of practice on good animal feeding (CAC/RCP 54-2004)
Principles for traceability/ product tracing as a tool within a food inspection & certification system (CAC/GL 60 – 2006)
Way Forward:
Quality norms followed by Indian feed industry needs to be aligned with the international standards to have more credibility. The legislations already in place need to be updated with the changing industry needs and a more vigil regulatory framework can be put in place to ensure the adherence to the legislations. The availability of cheaper raw materials can help to attain self-sustenance in animal feed production and maintaining of international quality norms can open business possibilities of export as well. Availability of good animal feed can not only increase the animal productivity but also the quality of their progeny which can be an important intervention in breed improvement. Adherence of quality norms for animal feed production will also ensure a positive step to the public health aspect related to it.

by Dr. Prabhakar Maurya, Creative Agri Solutions Pvt Ltd