A total of 1,414 samples of animal feed were taken from feed business operators and sent for various analyses by the Department of Agriculture in 2014.

The results found that there were 510 cases (over one-third) where the analytical results were found to be outside the Department’s tolerance levels.

One case was found to be outside of tolerance was deemed ‘serious’ from a feed/food safety perspective, by the Department.

The Department said all analytical infringements, including the aforementioned, have been recorded, followed up and resolved as part of the inspection process.

Samples are taken annually by Department officials and sent to accredited laboratories for various analyses, for example to determine the presence of animal proteins, banned or undesirable biological, chemical and physical substances, as well as quality controls such as protein and ash content, etc.

Furthermore, a total of 1,252 inspections were carried out on 716 animal feed businesses in 2014.

As part of this inspection programme, 973 legal notices were issued by the Department to Feed Business operators for infringements under the Feed Hygiene and Feed Marketing legislation.

None of the 973 infringements notified during inspections were deemed to be serious from a feed/food safety perspective.

The Department reports that infringements associated with HACCP procedures accounted for the majority of legal notices, totalling 71%. Labelling infringements represented 11% of the total, while infringements relating to hygiene accounted for 5% and traceability for 4% of the total.

The remaining 9% of infringements corresponded to various other aspects of animal feed production.

It says all infringements notified to the business were recorded, followed up and resolved.

What’s the law?

EU Regulations govern the placing on the market and use of animal feed and requires that manufacturers of animal feed ensure that the product is sound, genuine, unadulterated, fit for purpose and of merchantable quality.

In addition, the regulation provides that the labelling and presentation of animal feed shall not mislead the user as to, inter alia, its composition, properties, nature or method of manufacture.

Furthermore, it lists permitted tolerances for the compositional labelling of feed materials or compound feed.

Accordingly, feed manufacturers are required to set out clearly on a label the composition of the animal feed for sale, within the permitted tolerances.

What to do if you think your animal feed is not up to standard?

According to the Department, if it is the case that an end-user of animal feeding stuffs is of the view that the composition of a feed is at variance with its label details, they should raise this matter directly with the feed manufacturer in the first instance.

It says failing a satisfactory resolution or if the end-user sees fit, they also have the option to have a sample of the feed in question independently analysed, at their own expense.

The end user may report the issue to the Department it says and the Department will, if appropriate, follow up the issue separately with the animal feed manufacturer.

In the event that an animal feeding stuff is found to be in contravention of the permitted tolerances, the Department will carry out appropriate follow-up and enforcement action, as required.