he European Commission is evaluating its position about formaldehyde as a feed additive due to the safety issues related to its use, Selko says.
As formaldehyde is widely used for feed safety purposes, there is a challenge when looking for alternatives to replace it. Several and diverse possible approaches might lead to suitable solutions.
As some challenges are more complex than others, they also require more comprehensive strategies than just applying a product. The case of a European feed miller can portray the concept of the integral solution.
The challenge and the audit
According to Selko, the feed miller was looking into alternatives to formaldehyde to control Enterobacteriaceae in layer, breeder and vaccine feed. The quality standard was quite challenging, demanding a contamination level of less than 10³ CFU (Coloni Forming Units) Enterobacteriaceae per gram of feed. As the final product was mash feed, the standard was even harder to reach, given that no heat treatment was involved in the process, which would have lowered the initial contamination significantly.
A performed quality control check showed that part of the feed treated with formaldehyde and dry propionic acid / formic acid blend did not meet the required standards.
In order to get a deeper insight in the problem Trouw Nutrition conducted an audit in the production facilities. Samples at all stages of the production process were taken to identify contamination sources and risk- or hotspots in the process. The samples were tested for yeasts, moulds, Enterobacteriaceae and pH level.
The audit showed high micro-organism contamination levels in the feed mill, mainly moulds and Enterobacteriaceae. The grinder and dusty areas like the sieves showed excessive Enterobacteriaceae counts, which could potentially lead to contamination of the feed.
An integrated approach and a combined treatment
The first attempt to solve the problem was adding a Selko feed additive into the mixer. Three dosages of Fysal Feed were tested, and two of them reached the desired target quality.
As the advised dosage was above average inclusion levels- given the initial degree of contamination, a decision was reached to try a different approach and find an alternative solution.
After analysing the audit results, it was concluded that the best strategy to achieve the desired quality in a cost-efficient way was to start by treating the raw material. This way, lesser product would be needed at a later stage in the process, lowering the cost of the treatment for
The audit also showed that the CFU in the raw materials increased after grinding; the reason why applying Fysal SP in the grinder using a powder duster once a week was implemented in the programme. As the grinder was observed and indicated as highly contaminated, it was also recommended to adjust the current cleaning protocol to prevent recontamination.
The programme implementation resulted in a more cost-efficient way of reaching the desired quality of the final product in terms of Enterobacteriaceae counts. The suggested programme realised a significant decrease in Enterobacteriaceae counts and an 18% cost decrease compared to the first solution, adding a high level of preservative as Fysal Feed. This integral approach also gave the customer closer insight in their challenges and a comprehensive analysis of the process in order to avoid recontamination in the future.
The products used in the trial
The Fysal® portfolio contains several products to reduce Enterobacteriaceae in both raw feed materials as in compound feed. Fysal Feed is a liquid blend of organic acids which contains surfactants to assure even distribution of the product in the feed. The product will be applied by using proper dosing equipment based on the customer requirements and product characteristics.