18 Jun 2020

Undesirable Substances Legislation

This Directive lays down maximum limits for heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium as well as for dioxin, aflatoxin, certain pesticides, and botanical impurities in certain feed materials, feed additives and feedingstuffs and sets maximum limits for the carry-over of coccidiostats in feeds intended for non-target species. It also prohibits the dilution of contaminated feed materials.

Directive 2002/32 on undesirable substances in animal feed

This lays down controls including maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for various contaminants (e.g. heavy metals, mycotoxins, inherent plant toxins, dioxins, PCBs and certain pesticides) in feed. It also sets maximum limits for the carry-over of coccidiostats in feeds intended for non-target species.

The directive also states that:-

  • products intended for animal feed containing levels of an undesirable substance that exceed the maximum level fixed in the  Annexes may not be mixed for dilution purposes with the same, or other, products intended for animal feed (reference Article 5); and 
  • the Commission may define acceptability criteria for detoxification processes as a complement to the criteria provided for products intended for animal feed which have undergone such processes (reference Article 8.2).

consolidated version of Directive 2002/32 of the Directive including amendments to MPLs adopted by way of Commission amending Directives and Regulations.

Commission Recommendation 2006/583 on the prevention and reduction of Fusarium toxins in cereals and cereal products.

Commission Recommendation 2006/576/EC recommends guidance values on the presence of deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, T-2 and HT-2 and fumonisins in products intended for animal feeding and is amended by Commission Recommendation 2013/637 as regards T-2 and HT-2 toxin in compound feed for cats.

Commission Recommendation 2013/165 on the presence of T-2 and HT-2 toxin in cereals and cereal products.

Associated legislation

Directive 2002/32 is given force in England by:-

The Animal Feed (Composition, Marketing and Use) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015 No. 255) and

The Animal Feed (Hygiene, Sampling, etc. and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015 No. 454)

Separate but parallel legislation applies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The FSA website provides guidance on mycotoxins covering:-

  • Legislation;
  • Special conditions on imports;
  • Codes of Practice - fusarium and ochratoxin A.

Regulation 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC, harmonises all pesticide MRLs for the EU. Under this legislation, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assesses MRL applications for new pesticides. The regulation also provides for the setting of a default limit of 0.01 mg/kg for all pesticide/commodity combinations for which no MRLs have been set (unless MRLs are not required or different defaults have been fixed).