September 3, 2021
Kemin: Safe Feed Matters - Addressing the shift in customers' perspective in feed biosecurity (Part 1 of 2)
In this two-part series, Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health - Asia Pacific shares with eFeedLink how 'uncertainty' continues to be a major stumbling block in an industry that calls for safe feed production and how the company's unique customer-centric approach is helping to address uncertainties. In this first part, we speak to Kin Ken Chew, Product Manager for Feed Quality and Technology.
eFeedLink: Please highlight to us the challenges the industry is facing for safe feed production and in the implementation of robust feed biosecurity.
Chew: Uncertainty. Uncertainty of the feed ingredient source and shipment. Uncertainty of the mycotoxin and pathogen contamination levels in the feed and whether the biosecurity measures are sufficient to mitigate the risk. Uncertainty of how infectious the pathogens are and how they are transmitted.
We see a clear shift in customer perspective on the importance of feed safety compared to five years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in Asia serve as a good lesson for understanding how infectious pathogens can be and how easily they can spread. Due to labor constraints from COVID-19, the industry is also moving towards automation.
Regarding ASF, when it first broke out in China, of the first 21 outbreaks, more than half of the incidences were related to swill feeding. Further scientific studies done in the United States (Kansas State University; Pipestone Dr. Dee) and the Asia region (National Institute of Veterinary Research of Vietnam) have shown that feed is a significant risk factor. In addition, various pathogens have also been found to survive in feed and feed ingredients, including Salmonella, african swine fever virus (ASFV), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), etc.
In part, due to climate change, the mycotoxin profile of feed grains is also becoming more unpredictable, posing a big challenge to formulators as well as farmers in mitigating mycotoxin risk. The limited sources of raw materials, coupled with the rising raw material prices, are compelling to some of the feed producers to choose second-grade feed ingredients. Therefore, we see that feed producers today are actively looking for solutions to preserve feed grains upon receival or even right after they are harvested at the source.
The industry today has also recognized that safe feed is a requirement for healthy livestock farming, especially when the industry is moving away from antibiotic growth promoters to achieve antibiotic-free animal production.
Safe feed is also an important prerequisite of safe food for consumers. As feed is part of the food chain, contaminated feed can transmit pathogens such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli (E. coli) to animals, impacting the entire food chain.
Safe feed is required to meet legislative and international trade requirements. We observed that many customers doing export businesses had incorporated a pathogen control program and treated their feed with products such as Sal CURB™. The presence of pathogens such as Salmonella in meat and egg products is a major safety concern. For example, recently imported Salmonella-contaminated eggs were detected in Singapore, resulting in product recall and suspension of the affected farm's operation.
Speaking of biosecurity, other than having control measures in place, it is also essential to have rapid detection and analysis of the level of pathogens and toxic compounds in the feed. Conventional testing methods are typically time-consuming and labor-intensive. For instance, presumptive detection of Salmonella based on the standard Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) method requires four to five days for completion. Adding the time required for transporting the samples and reporting the data may take up to a week to receive the results. I would think most industry players today do not have the luxury of time to put their feed and feed ingredients on hold for a week while waiting for their test results before making a decision. Therefore, Kemin has developed rapid diagnostic test kits to enable our customers to monitor and diagnose for potential issues in real-time while in the field.
In short, though there is current knowledge in the industry on how to implement a robust feed biosecurity program and system, there is still plenty of room for improvements.
Please explain to us Kemin's ongoing commitment to feed safety.
Kemin is a global ingredient manufacturer that strives to transform the quality of life every day for 80% of the world's population with our products and services in a sustainable manner. One key focus to improve and transform lives is to ensure we have adequate and safe protein sources to feed the growing population. As I mentioned earlier, safe feed is a prerequisite for healthy livestock farming and safe food production.
We continue to invest in research for solutions to strengthen feed biosecurity. Taking the pathogen inhibitor product Sal CURB as an example, this product was first developed to inhibit bacterial pathogens in feed such as Salmonella. Over the years, as we found that more and more pathogens can be transmitted via feed, extensive research was committed to finding a solution. From there, based on numerous studies, we discovered that Sal CURB is scientifically proven to be effective against various kinds of viral pathogens, such as PEDV, FMDV, Senecavirus A (SVA), PRRSV, and most recently, ASFV when present in the feed.
Apart from product solutions, Kemin has also expanded its services to ensure that feed biosecurity measures can be implemented easily and with peace of mind. Our Kemin Application Services (KAS) team customizes application solutions to match individual customers' needs. Our Customer Laboratory Services (CLS) team partners with customers to provide analytical testing and other value-added services.
Tell us more about the availability of services such KAS and CLS in supporting Kemin's holistic program in feed biosecurity.
Kemin emphasizes and invests substantially in developing services that can help customers have a safe and straightforward adoption of our feed biosecurity program.
Our SMART advisory team comprises the CLS, KAS, and Technical Services teams. The CLS team is involved in laboratory testing, feed mill audits, product safety training, and the development of rapid, field-deployable testings to address one key challenge in feed biosecurity today – slow generation of test results.
The KAS team oversees customized applicator solutions and deploys field engineers in several key markets. These engineers conduct comprehensive on-site surveys; fabricate, install, calibrate and commission applicator solutions; and implement regular maintenance as well as on-site troubleshooting. They are also in charge of the continued development of next-generation applicator solutions.
Local technical services managers in all major markets help uncover and diagnose customers' problems, access the risk level, and customize the best program to match their needs and risk level.
Please give us an overview of Kemin's solutions to control pathogens, such as Sal CURB.
Kemin has two key product ranges, Sal CURB and Myco CURB™, for controlling pathogens in feed.
Sal CURB is a bacterial and viral pathogen inhibitor. It is available in liquid or dry format and can be formaldehyde or non-formaldehyde-based to meet specific customer's application needs.
Myco CURB is Kemin's range of mold inhibitors. They are solutions for feed preservation as well as for grain treatment. We also have a wide range of Myco CURB products to address customers' unique needs – Dry and Liquid with various active concentrations for different application needs and risk factors.
Tell us more about Kemin's advantages in offering product formulations and formats to address different customer needs.
We serve customers in different countries and regions. Different countries have different regulatory needs, and different customers have different preferences, such as either liquid or dry, formaldehyde-based or formaldehyde-free. Kemin has different product variants to cater to the needs of different customer requirements.
This article is Part 1 of 2 of a series. In the next part, which follows next week, Jason Tan, CLS innovation associate manager, shares his unique role in the innovation journey that Kemin embarks on from the perspective of CLS.