Concerns raised over mislabelling of animal feed

Concerns have been raised following revelations of the mislabelling animal feed products, by ICSA President Patrick Kent.

It comes following the release of Department figures which show that there were over 90 cases in 2015 of animal feed companies mislabelling products.

The Department of Agriculture carried out a total of 1,154 inspections on 773 animal feed businesses in 2015.

As part of this inspection programme, 955 legal notices were issued to Feed Business Operators for infringements under the Feed Hygiene and Feed Marketing legislation.

Infringements associated with HACCP procedures accounted for the majority of legal notices, totalling 70%.

Labelling infringements represented 10% while infringements relating to hygiene accounted for 6% and traceability for 6% of the total. The remaining 8% of infringements corresponded to various other aspects of feed production.

“Every farmer invests heavily in their animals and they need to be assured of the composition, the quality and the source of the ingredients of all the feeds they purchase,” Kent said.

“Many widely used animal feeds are comprised of imported and sometimes inferior by-products. This is a timely reminder to feed merchants that a better option is to source locally grown ingredients.

“It is also a reminder to farmers that possibly the best option for them is to buy feed from other farmers locally where possible. There is concern about the use of lower quality imported ingredients in order to make a ration look cheap,” he said.

Kent also called on Teagasc to conduct more research into the often overlooked benefits of feeding straights as well a simple three-way mixes of straights.

“We need to be able to compare and contrast home-grown ingredients with imported feeds. Where possible, cattle and sheep farmers would prefer to support their fellow Irish tillage farmer.

“In general, home-grown barley, wheat or oats are likely to be more beneficial in a ration than cheap imported by-products and we need more close examination and analysis of what we are getting from merchants,” he said.