Official publication of the first code on good labeling practice for compound feed has been welcomed by EU feed and farming organizations.
The EU Code of Good Labelling Practice for Compound Feed for Food-Producing Animals was jointly developed by Copa (the association of European farmers), Cogeca (the association of European agri-cooperatives) and the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC).
Aims of these organizations were to clarify the requirements set out in the EU feed labeling regulation, as well as to provide practical advice to compound feed manufacturers on how to draw up a label and to farmers so that they have all the right information to make informed choices and can use the product correctly.
Representing the first attempt to harmonize practices across the Member States, and to make life easier for farmers, agri-cooperatives and feed manufacturers, the code has also received support from the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF).
“European farmers, agri-cooperatives and feed manufacturers have worked hard together to develop this, drawing on our skills and expertise, to ensure that information essential for farmers is appropriately displayed on the label,” said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General, Pekka Pesonen. “We are very happy to contribute to a greater level of harmonization and understanding on how best to apply the feed labeling rules at EU level.”
Alexander Döring, Secretary-General of FEFAC, stressed the importance of the section on claims in the code.
“This section outlines a harmonized set of requirements vis a vis the nature of the claims that are permitted or prohibited as well as guidance for the substantiation of claims,” he said. “This is a major step towards more transparency in the feed chain and will favor innovation.”
Background and overview of the code
Coming into effect in 2010, the European Union rules on the marketing and use of animal feeds – Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 – included a provision encouraging the European feed industry to develop a code of good labeling practice for compound feed. This has been completed and published in the new code.
The code covers only feeds for food-producing animals, and only labeling. In the introduction, it makes clear that all feeds must comply with a raft of other regulations regarding their ingredients and manufacture, and there are additional requirements, for example, for medicated and organic feeds. The code does not apply to feed materials, compound feed for household pets or fur animals, feed additives or premixtures of feed additives.
To summarize the basic information set out in the code, the label should cover the name of the product, type of feed (e.g. complete or complementary), business operator responsible for labeling, batch/lot number and quantity. Instructions for use should include the minimum storage life. Specifications include the list of ingredients (specifying if they are genetically modified) and some feed additives, while others may be included voluntarily. The code explains the information that should be provided on analytical constituents.
The aspect of claims for a feed, highlighted by FEFAC, may be made regarding the specific characteristics of the compound feed itself or, to the presence of one or more feed materials / feed additives or to their function, and the code sets out several obligations with which the claims must comply. Separate annexes of the code cover the management and substantiation of claims, and how to compile an evidence file for such claims.
Other information about the feed may be provided at the request of the purchaser, and this too is covered by the code.
All mandatory labeling information must be given “in its entirety in a prominent place on the packaging, the container, on a label attached or on the accompanying document (for feed delivered in bulk), in a conspicuous, clearly legible and indelible manner, in the official language or at least one of the official languages of the Member State or region in which it is placed on the market.” Any voluntary information provided may be partly or totally on the label or other media.
Also included in the code are guidance on the design of labels, information on additional documentation, and procedures for distance selling, i.e. when the supplier and customer are not face-to-face.