The UK feed industry representatives said the sector is, of course, always interested in increasing available protein streams, whether that is coproducts or insect and poultry and pig derived PAPs, novel proteins that are set to be green lighted in the autumn for use in non-ruminant feed in the EU.
These proposed amendments to the EU legislation do not form part of the retained EU legislation adopted by the UK on January 1, 2021, though when they come into force, they will be applicable in Northern Ireland, noted the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC).
“Should the UK control authorities consider bringing forward a similar regulatory proposal it is considered important that the UK feed industry has an established viewpoint to share with stakeholders,” reads a position statement from the AIC on topic.
AIC’s head of feed, James McCulloch, was recently interviewed by BBC Farming Today program on exactly that, the EU's move to permit feeding PAPs to monogastrics.
He said the science suggests such PAP supplement feed is entirely safe. “The safety aspect is not open to question. Our view on this is more nuanced on this. Clearly, it is, to an extent, a contentious issue. Our feeling is that we would need much wider discussion, consultation within the UK, with the regulators, but also with everybody in the supply chain.
“Then we would be looking at the industry in terms of its willingness to comply with the quite stringent technical and legal requirements in the legislative proposal.”
One such requirement is to have a completely dedicated production line, so if a feed manufacturer wanted to introduce pig PAPs into poultry feeds, for example, it could only do so in a plant that produced poultry feed. “There are a few dedicated poultry plants here in the UK but more commonly we would have mixed manufacturing plants. So a commercial decision would have to be made whether they wanted to make use of those proteins, because they would have to dedicate their plant to one species in terms of feed.”
Rendering and transport could also prove a headache, in this respect, as the pig PAPs or poultry PAPs would have to be sourced from renderers that could guarantee they had dedicated production lines. Transport of such PAPs would also have to be species-specific. “That is the commercial reality. In our view, it would perhaps limit the potential [for this] in the UK but it would be a decision for feed compounders to make.”
From a nutritional perspective, the quality of the protein profile, in terms of its amino-acid composition and concentration makes porcine and avian PAPs a valuable source of highly digestible proteins for certain animals like growing pigs, broiler chickens or turkeys, said the trade body.
However, its position statement stresses that it would be wrong to raise false expectations that these PAPs could significantly replace imports of vegetable proteins such as soybean meal.
The AIC noted that UK feed manufacturers have a long experience of using former foodstuffs across all feed types and it said the industry would welcome being able to add value to the additional former foodstuffs containing ruminant gelatin that would become available should the UK adopt the regulatory changes.
“However, the control authorities would need to provide extremely clear guidelines around the use of PCR DNA controls and the returning of false positive results for the presence of ruminant DNA,” it states.
Insect PAP promise
AIC would also be in favor of the lifting of restrictions to enable the use of insect PAPs in pig and poultry feed. “Insect PAPS are already used in fish feed and we would welcome insect PAPs as an additional source of highly concentrated proteins with the proviso controls are in place to prevent the inadvertent cross contamination with other PAPS contrary to the proposed and exiting legislation.”
Nor does it rule out the UK introducing such legislative developments or it assuming a role in talks leading up to any such revisions:
“AIC would be supportive of engaging in a discussion with UK control authorities around bringing forward a parallel legislative proposal in GB with all the necessary controls and safety considerations.”