Feed value and composition
Full transparency on composition of feed and nutritional value is a prerequisite for an informed choice and a trusting relationship between the farmer and his supplier. Beyond this, clear and substantiated information provides the basis for optimising the full potential of compound feed.
No other sector has gone as far as the feed sector in terms of transparency and information to customers. The first harmonised legal texts in the 70s already foresaw the provision of information on categories of feed materials, certain feed additives and the analytical constituents of compound feed. The revision of the EU feed labelling rules in 2009 definitively modernised the concept of labelling, encompassing all forms of communication, whether on the label itself or via other means. It also not only made it possible to operators of the feed chain to provide additional information but it encouraged it.
To make the new rules effective, the EU authorities delegated to “EU representatives of the feed business sectors” a number of tasks:
- maintenance of a non-exhaustive EU catalogue of feed materials (i.e. ingredients of compound feed except feed additives), the latest version counting around 700 entries, including a detailed description and specific labelling requirements;
- publication and maintenance of a register of those feed materials not listed in the EU Catalogue of feed materials.
The combination of these two tools means that, when reading a name of a feed material on a label, anyone can find it together with a description either in the EU Catalogue or in the EU register of feed materials.
More than 40 EU organisations of the EU Feed Chain, including crop farmers, suppliers of co-products as feed materials (food industry, biofuel industry), traders, feed manufacturers and livestock farmers, joined forces to fulfill these missions. FEFAC played a key role in the establishment of the so-called EU Feed Chain Task Force and holds the roles of coordinator of the EU FCTF and manager of the register of feed materials.
The legislator granted also to EU organisations the mission of drafting voluntary Codes of Practice for the labelling of compound feed in order to secure proper implementation of the mandatory labelling requirements by operators, encouraging the provision of additional information and design guidelines for the wording of claims and their substantiation.
FEFAC and Copa-Cogeca representing EU farmers and their cooperatives, developed a Code of Good Labelling Practice for compound feed for food producing animals that was endorsed by the EU Commission in 2016.