Legislative developments concerning the feed sector already underway this year include the feed additive re-evaluation procedure, along with the discussions in the EU Parliament and the Council on medicated feed, in parallel to the veterinary medicinal product proposal debate.
And today sees the Commission adopt a proposal to renationalize EU market authorisations for imported genetically modified crops for feed and food use.
But what other upcoming legislative moves should the feed industry be marking its card about?
In an exclusive interview with the European Commission’s Health and Food Safety Directorate (DG Sante), we hear about its working priorities in relation to animal nutrition over the next 12 months and their likely impact on feed legislation.
The Commission told us, in the field of undesirable substances, the proliferation of mycotoxins in feed, due in part to the increase in the frequency of extreme weather conditions, will be particularly challenging in the coming years, so the interview kicked off on that pertinent topic.
FeedNavigator: Is there recognition within DG Sante that legislation needs to catch up with research showing mycotoxins are occurring in multiplication in feedstuffs and are having a detrimental impact on animal performance?
DG Sante: The Commission has recently asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to update its scientific assessments on the risk to animal and public health from the occurrence of mycotoxins in feed, taking into account the latest findings.
Following the availability of these opinions, the Commission will discuss with members states the most appropriate regulatory follow-up to continue to ensure a high level of animal and public health protection.
FeedNavigator: Now turning to another hot topic, when does the Commission expect to draft regulation around the use of insect protein in pigs and poultry diets in the EU?
DG Sante: The Commission mandated EFSA to make a risk assessment about [the safety of] insects for food and feed. The opinion is expected in September 2015. Once received, the Commission will evaluate the opinion and see how to take this issue further.
FeedNavigator: And, on a similar theme, what is the regulatory timeline looking like around the use of processed animal protein (PAP) in poultry and pig feed?
DG Sante: As announced in the (TSE) Roadmap 2, the Commission intends to launch discussions on a re-authorization of the use of processed animal proteins (PAP) from non-ruminants in non-ruminant feed, provided that the existing prohibition on intra-species recycling remains in place – for example, poultry PAP could only be fed to pigs and pig PAP to poultry.
However, such discussions will only take place once validated analytical techniques to determine the species origin of PAP are available, in order to be able to ensure the intra-species recycling prohibition is respected.
This work is currently being carried out by the EU Reference Laboratory for Animal Proteins.
The validation of the analytical method to detect pig DNA, in view of a possible authorization to use poultry PAP in feed for pigs, is well advanced and is expected to be finalized in autumn 2015. The one for poultry DNA is not expected to be finalized before the end of 2016.
FeedNavigator: And in terms of dioxin and PCB legislation, is the Commission likely to reduce monitoring of feed products derived from oils and fats that are of low risk, and concentrate on those considered higher risk for contamination?
DG Sante: Based on the experience gained under mandatory dioxin monitoring introduced by Regulation (EU) No 225/2012, we are currently revising testing requirements with the aim of limiting them to feed materials at a high risk for dioxin contamination. That regulation is scheduled to be adopted in autumn 2015.
FeedNavigator: FEFANA has been pushing home opposition to an EFSA proposed limit on the use of beta carotene in milk replacers, arguing the measure could negatively impact animal health and welfare - what is the status of the Commission’s review of those thresholds?
DG Sante: The issue is under discussion within the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals Food and Feed.
FeedNavigator: What is the state of play regarding feed marketing regulation?
DG Sante: It is intended to finalize the revision of Directive 2008/38/EC concerning the so called high concentrate feeds as referred to in Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 before the end of 2015.
FeedNavigator: And the appropriateness of maintaining the maximum levels for nitrites in feed materials and compound feed as established by Directive 2002/32/EC has been up for debate as well within the standing committee – can you tell us more about that?
DG Sante: The discussion, which is ongoing, was initiated following the provision of evidence that maximum levels for nitrites in feed are not needed to protect animals from the adverse effects of the formation of nitrosamines. But no final decision on the way forward has been taken yet.