Aquatic Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 4.7. SECTION 4. Chapter 5.1.

Chapter 4.8.

Control of pathogenic agents in aquatic animal feed

Article 4.8.1.


Feed can be a source of infectious disease in aquatic animals.

Because aquatic animals are often a principal ingredient in feed for aquatic animals, and because the use of semi-processed, raw and live feed continues to be a common practice, the risk of disease transmission via feed should be addressed.

Article 4.8.2.

Purpose and scope

The purpose of this chapter is to address transmission of infectious diseases of aquatic animals via feed to prevent entry and spread into a country, zone or compartment free from pathogenic agents of concern.

This chapter applies to the production and use of all products destined for feed and feed ingredients whether produced commercially or on farm.

Risk analysis principles (in accordance with Chapter 2.1.) should be applied to determine the risks associated with the production and use of feed in aquatic animals.

This chapter is complementary to guidance provided by the Codex Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding (CAC/RCP 54-2004).

Article 4.8.3.


The responsibilities of the Competent Authority include setting and enforcing regulatory requirements related to animal feed, and verifying that these requirements are met. This also includes raising awareness about risks related to use of unprocessed or semi-processed feed in aquaculture.

Feed producers have the responsibility to ensure that production of feed is performed in a manner to prevent the spread of diseases of aquatic animals. Records and contingency plans should be in place, as appropriate, to enable the tracing, recall, or destruction of non-compliant products. All personnel involved in the harvest, manufacture, transport, storage and handling of feed and feed ingredients should be adequately trained and aware of their role and responsibility in preventing the spread of infectious diseases of aquatic animals. Equipment for producing, storing and transporting feed and feed ingredients should be kept clean and maintained in good working order.

Owners and managers of aquaculture establishments should adhere to regulatory requirements and implement biosecurity plans on their farms in order to manage risks related to the use of semi-processed, raw and live feed. This can be done through identification of disease free sources and record keeping for traceability purposes, implementation of on farm risk mitigation measures, and early detection of infectious diseases.

Private veterinarians and other aquatic animal health professionals providing specialist services to producers and to the feed industry may be required to meet specific regulatory requirements pertaining to the services they provide (e.g. disease reporting, quality standards, transparency).

Article 4.8.4.

Hazards associated with aquatic animal feed

Biological hazards that may be present in feed and feed ingredients include pathogenic agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. The scope of these recommendations covers listed diseases and other pathogenic agents that cause an adverse effect on aquatic animal health.

Chemical and physical hazards associated with feed and feed ingredients are not addressed in this chapter.

Antimicrobial resistance arising from the use of antimicrobial agents in feed is addressed in Section 6.

Article 4.8.5.

Risk pathways and exposure

Feed may be contaminated with pathogenic agents present at the time of harvesting, transport, storage and processing of commodities used as feed ingredients. Contamination may also occur during manufacture, transport, storage and use of feed. Poor hygienic practices during processing and manufacture, transport and storage are potential sources of contamination with pathogenic agents.

Aquatic animals can be directly exposed to pathogenic agents in feed. Aquatic animals can also be indirectly exposed through contamination of the environment by feed.

Article 4.8.6.

Risk management

  1. Use of safe feed and feed ingredients

    Some commodities undergo significant processing such as heat treatment, acidification, extrusion and extraction. There may be a negligible likelihood that pathogenic agents will survive in such products if they have been produced in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice.

    Criteria provided in Chapter 5.4. may be used to assess the safety of commodities to be used as feed or feed ingredients.

    Articles X.X.3. of all disease-specific chapters in Sections 8 to 11 list commodities considered safe for any purpose including use as feed or feed ingredients.

    Competent Authorities should also consider sourcing feed and feed ingredients from a country, zone or compartment free from pathogenic agents of concern.

  2. Use of feed and feed ingredients from sources that may not be free from pathogenic agents of concern

    When using feed and feed ingredients from sources that may not be free from pathogenic agents of concern, Competent Authorities should consider the following risk mitigation measures:

    1. treatment (e.g. by heating or acidification) of the commodity using a method approved by the Competent Authority to inactivate pathogenic agent(s) as per Articles X.X.10. (for Chapter 10.4. the relevant Article is 10.4.14.) of all disease-specific chapters in Sections 8 to 11; or

    2. confirmation (e.g. by testing) that pathogenic agents are not present in the commodity; or

    3. use of feed only in populations that are not susceptible to the pathogenic agent(s) in question and where susceptible species will not come into contact with the feed or its waste products.

  3. Feed production

    To prevent contamination by pathogenic agents during processing, manufacture, storage and transport of feed and feed ingredients, the following is recommended:

    1. flushing, sequencing or physical cleaning-out of manufacturing lines and storage facilities should be performed between batches as appropriate;

    2. buildings and equipment for processing and transporting feed and feed ingredients should be constructed in a manner that facilitates hygienic operation, maintenance and cleaning and prevents contamination;

    3. feed manufacturing plants should be designed and operated in a manner that avoids cross-contamination between batches;

    4. processed feed and feed ingredients should be stored separately from unprocessed feed ingredients, under appropriate storage conditions;

    5. feed and feed ingredients, manufacturing equipment, storage facilities and their immediate surroundings should be kept clean;

    6. measures to inactivate pathogenic agents, such as heat treatment, should be used where appropriate;

    7. labelling should provide for the identification of feed and feed ingredients as to the batch, place and date of production to assist in tracing feed and feed ingredients.

2015 ©OIE - Aquatic Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 4.7. Chapter 5.1.