EU Clears Use of Some Animal Proteins in Fish Feed

The European Union (EU) has officially ended a long-standing ban on using certain processed animal proteins (PAPs) in fish feed with the validation and approval of the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test.

“This final step ensures the necessary controls are now in place for processed animal proteins to be utilized in feed for farmed fish,” said Niels Leth Nielsen, president, European Fat Processors and Renderers Association. “We can now clearly demonstrate robust and effective traceability to ensure the safety and security of the feed chain.”

Beginning June 1, 2013, PAPs derived from animal by-products that are fit for human consumption at the point of slaughter can be used in feed for farmed fish. Stringent controls including species-specific processing and species-of-origin testing will ensure that only poultry and porcine PAPs enter the feed chain. Ruminant PAPs remain prohibited. The use of PAPs in feed was banned in 1997 for cattle, and extended to all animals in 2001 in an effort to control the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in Europe.

The European Commission has said the latest data shows that the EU is close to eradicating BSE in its cattle population while the latest scientific option indicates that “the risk of BSE transmission between non-ruminant animals is negligible provided that intra-species recycling is prevented.” In the absence of PAPs, farmed fish have been fed fish and soybean meals.

This latest measure is a first step as the commission, subject to specific analytical tests, intends to propose a further regulation to reintroduce the use of swine and poultry PAPs in poultry and pig feeds. However, the commission does not intend to propose the re-authorization of PAPs for ruminant animals or the re-use of PAPs from ruminants for feeding non-ruminant farmed animals.

Patrick Vanden Avenne, president of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC), also welcomed the decision, saying, “This measure paves the way for our EU aquaculture producers to step up their efforts to encourage the sustainable development of EU aquaculture by creating a level playing field with seafood imports from third countries.

“EFSA [the European Food Safety Authority] has provided clear scientific evidence that non-ruminant PAPs produced in accordance with the high EU processing standards are safe,” Avenne noted. According to FEFAC, farmed fish in the 27 EU member countries consume approximately 1.3 million metric tons of fish feed per year. Norway and Turkey produce another 1.6 million metric tons of fish feed annually.

Animal by-product processors and fish feed producers will adopt new traceability and testing procedures in order to meet the requirements of the legislation. With that in hand, EFPRA hopes PAPs could be included in the diets of farmed fish starting in June.

April 2013 RENDER | back