October 21, 2003



Return of Fishmeal to Ruminant Rations in UK


Fishmeal could return to ruminant rations in UK, after Brussels approved a new technique that can distinguish between fishmeal and mammalian meat and bonemeal in feed.


The ingredient was originally banned in January 2001, not because it was thought to present any BSE threat, but because of fears it could mask the presence of MBM.


"The EU commission has repeatedly stated that the ban could only be reviewed when a testing method was validated," said the Fishmeal Information Network (FIN).


EU experts generally approved such a technique last week, October 10, following the completion of trials this summer.


"This method is capable of detecting 0.1% mammalian proteins in feed containing 5% fishmeal," said FIN.


"It can therefore be applied to support legislation which permits the use of fishmeal in all animal feeds, while still excluding MMB."


The recommendation will be passed to the EU's food chain committee in November.

FIN chairman, David Stringer, is optimistic the regulatory process should be completed by February.


"Fishmeal is a very valuable ingredient for all livestock," he said.


"It is not cheap, costing around 425 sterling pound /t, but it is useful for improving an animal's growth, health, fertility and lactation."


He estimated the ban had displaced around 50,000t of fishmeal in the UK annually.


"About 30,000t was used in ruminant rations. Another 20,000t was lost from multi-species mills, that did not have the facilities to separate ruminant and non-ruminant feed." He added.


In total the UK uses about 240,000 t ons of fishmeal.
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