Terrestrial Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 6.3. SECTION 6. Chapter 6.5.

Chapter 6.4.

The control of hazards of animal health and public health importance in animal feed

Article 6.4.1.


Animal feed is a critical component of the food chain that has a direct impact on animal health and welfare and also on food safety and public health.

Historically, the OIE primarily addressed animal feed as an important pathway for the entry and spread of contagious epidemic diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, swine vesicular disease and avian influenza. In recent years, the role of feed as a vector for pathogenic agents, including zoonotic organisms, was a focus of standards development in regards to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Animal feed and feed ingredients are widely traded internationally and trade disruptions have the potential to impact economies in both developed and developing countries. Since 2002 the OIE has expanded its zoonotic disease mandate to encompass animal production food safety, working in collaboration with the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and other international organisations. In 2006 the International Committee resolved that the OIE should develop guidance on food-borne zoonoses and animal feeding, complementing relevant CAC texts.

Article 6.4.2.

Objective and scope

The objective of this chapter is to provide guidance on animal feeding in relation to animal health and to complement the guidance provided by the Codex Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding (CAC/RCP 54-2004) which deals primarily with food safety, and related other Codex texts covering animal feeding, e.g. Code of Practice for Source Directed Measures to Reduce Contamination of Food with Chemicals (CAC/RCP 49-2001).

This chapter aims at ensuring the control of animal and public health hazards through adherence to recommended practices during the production (growing, procurement, handling, storage, processing and distribution) and use of both commercial and on-farm produced animal feed and feed ingredients for terrestrial animals.

This chapter applies to the production and use of all products destined for animal feed and feed ingredients at all levels whether produced commercially or on farm. It also includes grazing or free-range feeding, forage crop production and water for drinking. Swill feeding is a particular aspect of on-farm practice that is specifically addressed because of its recognised role in disease transmission.

This chapter deals with feed for terrestrial animals (except bees).

Article 6.4.3.


Contamination’: means the unwanted presence of a material, infectious agent or product in a feed or feed ingredient that is potentially harmful to animal or public health or restricted under current regulations.

Feed’: means any material (single or multiple), whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended to be fed directly to terrestrial animals (except bees).

Feed additive’: means any intentionally added ingredient not normally consumed as feed by itself, whether or not it has nutritional value or other effect on the animal, which affects the characteristics of feed or of the animal products. Microorganisms, enzymes, pH regulators, trace elements, vitamins and other products fall within the scope of this definition depending on the purpose of use and method of administration. This excludes veterinary drugs.

Feed ingredient’: means a component part or constituent of any combination or mixture making up a feed, whether or not it has a nutritional value in the animal’s diet, including feed additives. Ingredients are of plant (including aquatic plants) or terrestrial or aquatic animal origin, or other organic or inorganic substances.

Article 6.4.4.

General principles

  1. Roles and responsibilities

    The Competent Authority has the legal power to set and enforce regulatory animal feeding requirements, and has final responsibility for verifying that these requirements are met. The Competent Authority may establish regulatory requirements for relevant parties to provide it with information and assistance. Refer to Chapters 3.1. and 3.2.

    Those involved in the production and use of animal feed and feed ingredients have the primary responsibility to ensure that these products meet regulatory requirements. Records and, as appropriate, contingency plans should be in place to enable tracing and recall of non-compliant products. All personnel involved in the manufacture, storage and handling of feed and feed ingredients should be adequately trained and aware of their role and responsibility in preventing the introduction or spread of hazards. Manufacturing equipment, storage and transport facilities should be adequate and maintained in good working order and in a sanitary condition.

    Those providing specialist services to producers and to the feed industry (e.g. private veterinarians, nutritionists and laboratories) may be required to meet specific regulatory requirements pertaining to the services they provide (e.g. disease reporting, quality standards, transparency).

  2. Regulatory safety standards

    All feed and feed ingredients should meet regulatory safety standards. Scientific evidence, including the sensitivity of analytical methods and on the characterisation of risks, should be taken into account in defining limits and tolerances for hazards.

  3. Risk analysis (risk assessment, risk management and risk communication)

    Internationally accepted principles and practices on risk analysis (Section 2 of the Terrestrial Code and relevant Codex texts) should be used in developing and applying the regulatory framework.

    Application of a generic framework should provide a systematic and consistent process for managing all biosecurity risks, while recognising the different risk assessment methodologies used in animal and public health.

  4. Good practices

    Where national guidelines exist, good agricultural practices and good manufacturing practices (including good hygienic practices) should be followed. Countries without such guidelines are encouraged to develop them or adopt suitable international standards or recommendations.

    Where appropriate, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles should be followed to control hazards that may occur in the manufacture, distribution and feeding of feed and feed additives and feed ingredients.

  5. Geographic and environmental considerations

    Epidemiological links between potential sources of hazards for animal health or food safety should be considered when assessing water sources, land or facilities for suitability for the production of animal feed and feed ingredients. Animal health considerations include factors such as disease status, location of quarantined premises and existence of zones/compartments of specified health status. Food safety considerations include factors such as industrial operations that generate pollutants and waste treatment plants.

  6. Zoning and compartmentalisation

    Feed is an important component of biosecurity and needs to be considered when defining a compartment or zone in accordance with Chapter 4.3.

  7. Sampling and analysis

    Sampling and analysis should be based on scientifically recognised principles and procedures.

  8. Labelling

    Labelling should be informative, unambiguous, legible and conspicuously placed on the package if sold in package form and on the waybill and other sales documents if sold in bulk, un-packaged form, and should comply with regulatory requirements and Section 4.2.10 Labelling of Codex Code of Practice on Good Animal Feeding (CAC/RCP 54-2004), including listing of ingredients and instructions on the handling, storing and use. All claims made on a label should be able to be substantiated.

  9. Design and management of inspection programmes

    In meeting animal and public health objectives prescribed in national legislation or required by importing countries, Competent Authorities contribute through the inspection or through the auditing of animal and public health activities conducted by other agencies or the private sector.

    Feed and feed ingredients business operators and other relevant parts of industry should practice self-regulation to secure compliance with required standards for procurement, handling, storage, processing, distribution and use. Operators have full responsibility for implementing systems for quality control. The Competent Authority should verify that process control systems and safety standards achieve all regulatory requirements.

  10. Assurance and certification

    Feed business operators are responsible for demonstrating the safety of the establishments under their control. Competent Authorities are responsible for providing assurances domestically and to trading partners that regulatory safety standards have been met. For international trade in animal product based feed, Veterinary Services are required to provide international veterinary certificates.

  11. Hazards associated with animal feed

    1. Biological hazards

      Biological hazards that may occur in feed and feed ingredients include pathogenic agents such as bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi, parasites and poisonous plants.

    2. Chemical hazards

      Chemical hazards that may occur in feed and feed ingredients include naturally occurring chemicals (such as mycotoxins and gossypol), industrial and environmental contaminants (such as dioxins and PCBs), residues of veterinary drugs and pesticides and also radionuclides.

    3. Physical hazards

      Physical hazards that may occur in feed and feed ingredients include foreign objects (such as pieces of glass, metal, plastic or wood).

  12. Contamination

    Procedures to minimise the risk of contamination during the production, processing, storage, distribution (including transport) and use of feed and feed ingredients should be included in current regulations and standards. Scientific evidence, including the sensitivity of analytical methods and on the characterisation of risks, should be drawn upon in developing this framework.

    Procedures, such as flushing, sequencing and physical clean-out, should be used to reduce the likelihood of contamination between batches of feed or feed ingredients.

  13. Antimicrobial resistance

    Concerning the use of antimicrobials in animal feed refer to Chapters 6.8. to 6.11.

  14. Management of information

    The Competent Authority should establish clear requirements for the provision of information by the private sector as this relates to regulatory requirements.

    Records should be maintained in a readily accessible form regarding the production, distribution and use of feed and feed ingredients. These records are required to facilitate the prompt trace-back of feed and feed ingredients to the immediate previous source, and trace-forward to the next subsequent recipients, to address identified animal health or public health concerns (see Section 4.3. of CAC/RCP 54-2004).

    Animal identification and animal traceability are tools for addressing animal health (including zoonoses), and food safety risks arising from animal feed (see Chapters 4.1. and 4.2.).

nb: first adopted in 2009; most recent update adopted in 2011.

2018 ©OIE - Terrestrial Animal Health Code

Contents | Index Chapter 6.3. Chapter 6.5.