The new regulation EC 767/2009, which entered into force in September 2010, has defined new “rules on the placing on the market and use of feed for both food-producing and non-food producing animals within the Community, including requirements for labelling, packaging and presentation”. The same rules apply to compound feed, where the label should include a list of the ingredients of which the feed is composed. FEED-CODE aims to develop an integrated approach to food safety in the EU. Many actors in the sector are going to benefit from this innovative project: FEED-CODE is going to provide a reliable and simple technical solution to measure the exact composition of (compound) feed.
FEED-CODE helps actors to:
– Comply with the new regulation EC 767/2009.
– Assure the quality of the acquired feed and hence the quality of the final product.
– Develop the adequate monitoring instruments for European-wide coherent farm-to-table measures.
The results of FEED-CODE will help to maintain the exceptionally high quality and excellent reputation that European food production enjoys across the globe. The FEED-CODE project was officially launched in December 2012 and is set to run for 36 months.
DESCRIPTION OF THE S&T GAPS AND INDUSTRIAL SECTOR TARGET NEEDS
Presently, there is no practical time and cost-efficient method to allow frequent and effective controls of animal feed. In today’s fast-paced supply chain, time- and cost-consuming DNA evaluations based either on the development of SSR markers or on nucleotide sequencing of specific genomic regions are not practically applicable to mixtures such as feed. Conversely, the classical TBP method is fully applicable to such material but is presently carried out manually in a laboratory, requires expert researchers, and needs a number of working days to be accomplished. Such elaborated and expensive testing is simply inaccessible to many farmers, SMEs and small regional producers.
In this context, FEED-CODE aims to make the difference, automating the TBP method so as to develop a reliable, simple and cheap methodology and technology for the identification of each individual plant species used for feed production. More specifically, the aim of the project is to automate and improve the current TBP analysis, which is prevalently based on manual operations making the whole procedure too costly. In contrast, the new automatic TBP procedure developed within the FEED-CODE program will be rapid, with no need for experienced personnel – a properly trained technician would suffice.
In economic terms, FEED-CODE targets the huge market of European farmers, which account for more than 14 million farms producing an added value that equals €195 billion per year (Farm Structure Survey, 2007). In this sector, Europe is facing more and more competition from emerging countries and, consequently, it is losing some of its export share in favour of other countries, like New Zealand. It is worth mentioning that one of the strategies identified by the European Dairy Association (EDA) to regain competitiveness is to be quick on the uptake of innovations linked to the health and well-being of consumers.