The role of animal feed in the production of safe food is recognized worldwide, and recent events have emphasized its influences on public health, feed and food trade, and food security. In the recent past, consumers have become increasingly aware of, and sensitive to, food safety and its linkage with animal production. Undesirable substances and micro-organisms that can occur in feed and food include among others Dioxins, Mycotoxins including Aflatoxin B1, Heavy metals such as Cadmium, Arsenic, Mercury and Lead as well as various improperly used Veterinary Drugs. These Hazards may be introduced with source materials or via carryover or contamination of products during handling, storage and transportation. It is thus imperative that feed ingredients are freed of undesirable substances which potentially constitute a risk to consumers’ health, including food safety-related animal health issues. In order to achieve this, contaminants and other hazardous substances, whether biological, chemical or physical agent in, or condition of, food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect must be minimized if not completely eliminated.
As animal feed is an important route by which hazards can enter the human food chain, its safety must be assessed prior to its feeding to animals. Our safety assessments are often double-faceted as they usually consider both the safety of animals as the primary consumers of the feed, and safety of humans as the indirect consumers of any residues that may remain in food of animal origin. In order to achieve this, our focus is centered on the use of viable microbial supplements and fermentation products either purified or not, as well as mycotoxin-binding ingredients used to aid the process of manufacturing mixed feed
NaLIRRI is currently evaluating the efficacy some added non-conventional ingredients including naturally occurring Mycotoxin binders as potential cleansers of feeds for hazardous materials particularly Aflatoxin. In the process, we are also identifying and notifying the competent authorities of feed safety incidents that could result in human food safety hazards; train regulators, inspectors, feed and livestock industry personnel and farmers to produce and use safe feed; and implement communication strategies to address consumers and the food industry while highlighting the importance of feed safety in producing safe food products.