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Feed hygiene

The European Union extends the general rules on the safety and hygiene of food and feed to the entire animal feed chain, including primary production, by imposing a system of liability and obligations on feed business operators. This system mainly includes requirements governing the registration or approval of establishments and the production of animal feed.

ACT

Regulation 183/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 January 2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

This Regulation requires feed business operators to comply with obligations relating to hygiene and traceability and the registration and approval of their establishments. The objective is to achieve a high level of protection of human and animal health, notably by ensuring that feed is safe and of good quality.

Scope

The Regulation applies to the activities of feed business operators, starting with primary production of feed * up to and including its placing on the market and imports of products intended for animal nutrition from third countries. This also includes the feeding of food-producing animals.

The following are excluded from the scope of this Regulation:

  • the private domestic production of feed for food-producing animals intended for private domestic consumption and for animals not intended for food production, and the feeding of these animals;
  • the direct supply of small quantities of primary products at local level by the producer to local farms;
  • the retailing of pet food.

Obligations incumbent on operators

Feed business operators responsible for the primary production of feed must take the measures necessary to prevent, eliminate or reduce feed safety hazards during the production, preparation, cleaning, packaging, storing and transport of these products (Annex I). These operators must keep records relating to measures put in place to control contamination hazards.

Feed business operators other than at the level of primary production of feed must adopt appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of the products that they manufacture, transport or use. These measures are detailed more precisely than those concerning the primary production of feed (Annex II) and chiefly concern facilities and equipment used by the operators, staff training, the organisation and monitoring of different stages of production, and the documents which the operators must keep.

Feed business operators other than at the level of primary production of feed must apply HACCP principles (hazard analysis and critical control points) and must keep documents demonstrating that they respect these principles.

These principles prescribe a certain number of requirements to be met throughout the cycle of production, processing and distribution in order to permit, via hazard analysis, identification of the critical points which need to be kept under control in order to guarantee food safety:

  • identify any hazards that must be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels;
  • identify the critical control points at the step or steps at which control is essential;
  • establish critical limits beyond which intervention is necessary;
  • establish and implement effective monitoring procedures at critical control points;
  • establish corrective actions when monitoring indicates that a critical control point is not under control;
  • implement own-check procedures to verify whether the measures adopted are working effectively;
  • keep records to demonstrate the effective application of these measures and to facilitate official controls by the competent authority.

Feed business operators are responsible for any infringement of the law governing feed safety. In order to prepare an effective system of financial guarantees for operators in this sector, the Commission presents a report on financial guarantees in the feed sector to the European Parliament and the Council (see "Related Acts").

Feed business operators (including those responsible for the primary production of feed) must register their establishments with the competent authority of their Member State. They must provide the authority with up to date information and cooperate with it in the event of controls.

Where required by national or Community legislation, businesses in the food sector must be approved by the competent authority and may not operate without such approval. The competent authority of each Member State must keep a list of approved establishments. When an approved establishment no longer complies with the requirements governing its activities, the approval may be temporarily suspended or revoked.

Operators who import products from third countries must ensure that:

  • the country concerned is included in a list drawn up pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls of food and feed;
  • the supplier is entered in a list kept by the third country testifying to the firm's conformity with Community hygiene standards or equivalent standards.

Guides to good practice

The Member States encourage the preparation of national guides to good practice in the feed sector and national guides on the application of HACCP principles. Member States must assess such national guides to ensure that their contents are practicable, that they have been developed taking into account the appropriate principles of the Codex Alimentarius and that all interested parties have been consulted. National guides deemed to be in conformity are forwarded to the Commission, which enters them in a register.

Standardised Community guides may be prepared if the Commission considers this advisable. The Standing Committee on the Food Chain ensures that the content of such guides is practicable, that they have been prepared taking into account the appropriate principles of the Codex Alimentarius, and that the national guides and all the interested parties have been consulted.

BACKGROUND

Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 constitutes the cornerstone of the new European legislation on food safety. Adopting the "from farm to table" approach, it aims, by drawing on the latest scientific opinions, to guarantee a high standard of health and safety throughout the food chain. This approach also covers the entire animal feed chain, including the primary production of feed (which is not covered by the old legislation), animal nutrition and the production of feed.

Following the recent health crises and the occurrences of contamination of animal feed and feed materials (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, dioxin, hormones, etc.), the European Union is equipped with an appropriate legal instrument to ensure safety of all kinds of feed, to ensure that all feed businesses operate in accordance with harmonised hygiene requirements, and to improve traceability.

The Regulation replaces Directive 95/69/EC.

Key terms used in the act

Primary production of feed: production of agricultural products, notably including cultivation, harvesting, milking, breeding (before slaughter) or fishing, terminating exclusively in products which have not been subjected to any other processing after harvesting, gathering or capture, with the exception of simple physical processing.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 183/2005

8.02.2005

-

OJ L 35 of 8.02.2005

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009

20.4.2009

-

OJ L 87 of 31.3.2009

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on existing legal provisions, systems and practices in the Member States and at Community level relating to liability in the food and feed sectors and on feasible systems for financial guarantees in the feed sector at Community level in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 January 2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene [COM(2007) 469 - Not published in the Official Journal].
This report consitutes the basis for a system of financial guarantees for feed business operators. On the basis of Regulation (EC) No 183/2005, which assigns to operators financial liability for infringements of Community legislation on the safety of animal feed, this report analyses the different guarantee options which could ensure enforcement of this liability in the framework of an efficient system. With this aim, the report takes account of the role of compulsory and optional insurance, bank guarantees and sectoral pooling systems. The report underlines the complexity of the problem and proposes launching a wide-ranging public debate on the various options. This debate is to take place over the two years following publication of the report and will take the opinions of all stakeholders into consideration.

Last updated: 22.04.2011
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