There is no positive, restricted list of what farmers can feed their animals. This is partly because of the likely length of such a list and partly because research into animal nutrition continually finds new uses for potential crops. It is your choice what to feed your animals based on the species you farm, their produce, and their nutritional needs.
Feed hygiene regulations for farmers
EU feed hygiene regulations apply to all farmers. The laws you should be aware of are:
- hygiene of foodstuffs regulation
- feed hygiene regulation, which lays down hygiene rules for feed business operators and their production, transport, storage and use of animal feed
Legislation for animal feed businesses
A feed business is legally defined as "any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any operation of production, manufacture, processing, storage, transport or distribution of feed, including any producer producing, processing or storing feed for feeding to animals on his own holding".
UK laws on the composition and marketing of animal feed are derived from EU measures.
Animal feed regulations cover:
- the additives (vitamins, colourants, flavourings, binders etc) authorised for use in animal feed
- the maximum levels of various contaminants - eg arsenic, lead, dioxins and certain pesticides
- certain ingredients that must not be used in feed
- the nutritional claims that can be made for certain feeds
- the names and descriptions which must be applied to various feed materials - that is, ingredients fed singly
- the information to be provided on feed labels
You must also register your feed business with the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA), and ensure that your facilities, storage, personnel and record-keeping meet the necessary requirements.
Genetically modified (GM) materials in animal feed
As the UK cannot supply all the animal feed it requires, it imports approximately 20 per cent of its feed materials from outside the European Union. Some of this material will be GM.