AFIA partners to test the potential for salmonella in feed

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/verdateo
© iStock/verdateo

Related tags Feed Scientific method Pork Salmonella

Feed industry organizations and producers groups are collaborating to evaluate the safety of milled feed and the presence of salmonella. 

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), along with partners including American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), announced​ Tuesday that a Salmonella​ in Feed Coalition has been formed and established a $50,000 grant to examine produced feed for serotypes or strains of salmonella​ that would generate a threat to animal health, the association said.

One goal of the project is to discover if the bacteria is present at feed manufacturing facilities.

Partners on the project include IFEEDER, National Pork Board, National Renderers Association, US Soybean Board, Poultry Protein and Fat Council and the US Poultry and Egg Association and researchers from the University of Arkansas.

Feed safety considerations 

There are multiple strains or serotypes of salmonella that occur in nature, said AFIA. The FDA considers eight specific strains to be hazardous to production animals.

The current hypothesis of the project is that salmonella is not a threat in animal feed based on the ingredients used and the regulatory procedures and processes that have been established, said the association.

The research project is one way to further explore the topic, said Preston Buff, director of regulatory affairs, AFIA.

“This research is proactive in that it will help the industry to first determine if Salmonella is even present in feed and second, help us determine if any additional measures should be taken to protect animal health and promote feed safety,”​ he said.

Although there have been several examinations of swine feed and feed ingredients in recent years to test for the potential of feed or feed ingredients to carry disease like PEDV, that was not a factor in the decision to run the research project, he said.

“There has not been a direct link between Salmonella transmitted through feed and its impact on the health of humans or animals, so this was not an original concern,”​ he said.

Project details

The next step in the project is to gather feed samples from feed mills willing to volunteer, said the AFIA.

For feed mills to take part in the project they have to meet certain criteria, said Buff.

“They must be producing feed for food-producing animals, such as poultry, swine, dairy and beef cattle; and they must be manufacturing bulk feed,”​ he said.

The project is not examining samples from bagged feed, he added.

The study is open to AFIA member and non-member mills that are willing to volunteer, he said. The project is a “blinded study”​ so the researchers involved will not have information regarding where the samples originated and information on the participants will not be released.

The project is looking to source feed samples from 250 mills in the US for analysis, said AFIA.

Kansas State University, which is also involved in the project, is working to develop guidance for volunteering mills, the association said. Those materials will explain how to collect the needed samples.  

The sampling portion of the project is expected to be completed twice – once in the fall [autumn] of 2017 and again in the spring of 2018, said AFIA. The samples will then be checked for the presence of bacteria.

Additional assessment will be done to establish the specific Salmonella serotype if the bacteria is found to be present in the feed sample, the association said. A report on the project is anticipated to be produced in the summer of 2018.

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