EU lifts ban on animal by-products in pig feed

The EU has lifted its ban on the use of animal by- products for animal feed. The change in legislation allows processed animal proteins (PAPs) from pigs to be used in poultry feed and from poultry to be used in pig feed. While most EU member states have endorsed the change, France and Ireland have abstained. On 2 July, the EU Council voted unanimously to adopt the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies regulation.


n the wake of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in 1994, a ban was placed on the use of pro- cessed animal proteins (PAPs) in ruminant feed. Experts believe BSE is caused by feeding cattle feed made with

meat and bone meal from infected animals. In an effort to avoid possible cross-contamination, the ban on the use of PAPs was extended to all farm animals in 2001. The reasoning behind lifting the ban is twofold. First, the Eu- ropean Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy encourages the use of by-products from within the food industry, and also promotes the use of sustainable and local ingredients. “PAPs fit very well with these requirements,” says Carine van Vuure, manager nutrition and regulatory affairs at Darling In- gredients, and member of European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA). Additionally, the risk of cross-contamination appears to be slim. The last case of BSE in cattle in the EU was in 2016, and the last case in the UK was in 2018. In total, 24 of 27 member states have been classified as having a negligible risk status. The ban on the use of PAPs in feed to cows, sheep and other ruminants, and on intra-species recycling, remains in force. Rules will only change to allow additional types of PAPs to be used in pig and poultry feed when they have been proven to be safe.

Benefits of the lifting The benefits of lifting the ban are many, says Van Vuure. For poultry slaughterhouses, there are more possibilities for the use of their slaughter by-products, especially for products

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that are not used in pet food products. Such products include poultry blood meal, feather meal and lower protein meals. At the production levels, farmers of laying hens and broilers will be able to reduce their reliance on soybean meal in feeds by using locally produced pork meal, she says. While it might seem unnatural, pigs and poultry are omnivores that benefit from a balanced diet that includes a rich source of protein. Aside from reducing waste and reliance on imported protein, the use of processed animal products in feed could also im- prove feed quality, as digestibility of this type of protein and phosphorus is high. Depending on the requirements set in the processing chain, feed for poultry and pigs could actually become cheaper too, she added. Also, the carbon footprint of the diet will be improved. “A lot of farmers remember the time before the ban as a time with better balanced diets, due to the use of animal proteins,” says Van Vuure. “So, less feather pecking and improved health in general.”

Change welcomed by farm interest groups The change was welcomed by farm interest groups such as Copa-Cogeca and the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade (AVEC). The EU’s proposal acknowledges the absence of food safety risk in its authorisation of these products and offers a legislative framework that provides a high level of security for all members of the supply chain, says Paul- Henri Lava, senior policy advisor, AVEC. AVEC welcomes the possibility of diversifying its feed supply by using processed animal proteins from pigs, says Lava, and expects poultry PAPs to provide a similar source of protein for the pig sector. “PAPs are used by most of our competitors without any re- strictions, while avian and porcine PAPs for use in fish feed has already been authorised for more than eight years in the EU without any issue,” says Lava. The interest group welcomes the possibility of using insects in feed as well. Lava said they are a promising source of protein for poultry production in the EU.

Demand for protein-rich feed Demand for protein-rich feed is currently high in the EU. Lava believes that, driven by globalisation and climate change, the


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