Additives, Authorisation: Putting safety on the animal feed menu
As part of its 'fork to farm' commitment to ensuring food quality and safety, the European Commission has inaugurated the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for the authorisation of feed additives in Geel, Belgium.
The CRL has the overarching role of evaluating and approving the methods used to detect the presence of additives in animal feed. These are then used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to conduct safety assessments of all feed additives in Europe.
The EFSA was set up following a series of food scares in the 1990s – including mad cow disease, also known as BSE, and dioxins, both of which were linked to animal feed –to repair shaken consumer confidence in the safety of the food chain. The EFSA was charged with providing independent and objective advice on food safety issues associated with the food chain.
“Human and animal health is of major concern to us all,” said acting Research Commissioner Louis Michel. “The new and improved authorisation process for feed additives requires top notch competence and research capacity. I am confident that the IRMM has what it takes carry out these tasks”.
The CRL will be run by the Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) whose mission is to promote a common European measurement system in support of EU policies. In addition to food safety and quality, its competences extend to such areas as reference materials and isotopic measurements.
A chain of safety
According to EU legislation, before placing a feed additive on the market, the manufacturer has to apply for authorisation, providing data demonstrating that the feed additive does not have an adverse effect on human health, animal health or the environment.
“The strengthening of the rules on the safety of animal feed was one of the cornerstones of the EU’s integrated approach to the food chain in recent years. To maintain consumer confidence, we must now ensure that these rules are strictly applied,” outgoing Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne said.
There are at currently some 700 substances and preparations authorised as feed additives in the EU. Some 90 new authorisation applications have been made so far in 2004. The CRL will maintain reference samples of all authorised additives and will carry out related tasks.
Although some feed additives may have damaging effects, most of the ones in use have beneficial effects on animal productivity and health. Examples include nutritional additives like vitamins and minerals, sensory additives, or technological additives like preservatives and emulsifiers
Source: EU sources
Commission press release