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Jul 19, 2012By Yanne Boloh
During the last general assembly of FEFAC in Brussels, President Patrick Vanden Avenne stated that "the European feed industry is fully committed to support the competitiveness and sustainability of livestock production in the EU and at the global level, thus contributing to global food security, pointing to the need for more proactive, flexible market management measures to maintain the viability of the EU feed supply."
The extremely volatile grain and protein markets show how well feed manufacturers have made use of co-products’ nutritional value – provided they are safe for both animals and humans. With bio-fuel production from rapeseed, for example, France is less dependent on protein importation than other member states.
However, protein potential has not fully realized. The feedban is still in force, which means that no animal proteins are authorized for feed apart from milk products and some very specific animal products. The European Commission wants to return to non-ruminant processed animal proteins that are safe and controlled with the exclusion of any intra-species recycling. The European process of feedban lifting began and will probably advance this summer if the Standing Committee votes for an agreement in aqua feed (not to be enforced before 2013 if passed). The French, English and German representatives are against this development as they come (mostly the French an English representatives) from the countries most traumatized by the Mad Cow Disease crisis at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Another source of protein might be found in former foodstuffs. With the current policy debate about the common agricultural policy reform proposals’ goal of improving resource efficiency and competitiveness, FEFAC members are keen to know the rules for food waste management, including the legal situation of “former foodstuffs.” In the UK for example, former foodstuffs amount to 500,000 metric tons and come from areas such as bread, dairy and chocolate/confectionary production. Twenty foodstuffs processors have been identified. The potential to be validated by the feed industry seems huge.
A move such as this would give back to the feed industry its ability to locate and validate all nutritional sources. However, society’s demands mustn’t be ignored; the feed industry can’t just say “it’s good for you and for the planet,” it must prove it with scientific argumentation. However the term “scientific” is not to be understood only from a technical point of view; social sciences are also a science and might provide the industry with the tools necessary to obtain social acceptance.
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