The  Advisory  Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs (ACAF) held its seventh meeting in London on 30 November. It discussed the following matters:

  • Animal Feed Labelling. The Committee continued its review of animal
    feed labelling, considering the third draft of its report. Several new ideas emerged during discussion, particularly concerning GM labelling, which the Committee wanted to develop further. ACAF was aware of the urgent need for clarification on GM feed labelling and agreed to set up a sub-group representative of the Committee's range of expertise to complete the drafting of its report.

  • Food Standards Agency's Review of BSE Controls. The Committee discussed the Food Standards Agency's draft report on this review. It supported the recommended ban on feeding own-species material to animals where this represented a risk of transmitting disease.  However, ACAF believed that there could be exceptions to the ban where there was no known risk of transmission. The example of porcine gelatin being used as a stabiliser for vitamins in pig diets was given.  The Committee recognised that, aside from safety considerations, there were aesthetic and ethical objections to intra-species re-cycling and therefore concluded that any exceptions should be limited and carefully justified.

Recognising that the report was still at the draft stage, members also offered  suggestions  on  how  the draft could be improved to give the general  public  a  better  understanding  of  the  issues  behind the report's recommendations.

  • Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.  The Committee considered the Government's draft guidance for advisory scientific committees which was issued for consultation in July.  It welcomed this draft Code of Practice as bringing together existing guidance and agreed that a number of specific points raised by members should be sent by letter.

  • EC Proposed Feed Ban on Processed Animal Proteins. The Committee fully supported the EC proposal to ban mammalian meat and bone meal from all livestock feeds, thus extending to other EU countries arrangements already in place in the UK, on the grounds of reducing the threat of cross-contamination further spreading BSE. However, ACAF did not think that the ban should automatically be applied to fish meal as they were not aware any similar threat from using fish meal in animal feed.  The Committee considered that any controls introduced beyond meat and bone meal should be justified in terms of risk to human and/or animal health.  It believed that any proposed restrictions on the use of fish meal should be considered carefully, preferably by the Commission's Scientific Steering Committee, before any action was taken.

Notes for Editors

  1. ACAF's terms of reference are:

    "To  advise  the  Food  Standards Agency, the Minister of Agriculture, Ministers  of  the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and  the  Minister  for  Agriculture  and  Rural Development (Northern Ireland)  on the safety and use of animal feeds and feeding practices, with particular emphasis on protecting human health and with reference to  new  technical  developments.   In carrying out its functions, the Advisory  Committee  on  Animal  Feedingstuffs  will liaise with other relevant advisory committees as appropriate."

  2. A news release (247/99) announcing the membership of ACAF can be found on the internet at "http://www.maff.gov.uk/maffhome.htm".

  3. Copies of most Committee papers, including minutes of meetings, are available on request from the ACAF Secretariat, PO Box 31037, Room 224 Ergon House, c/o 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3WG. Tel: +44 (0)207238 6342 Fax: +44 (0)20 7238 6338  E-mail:  ACAF@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk
    They are also available on the ACAF website: www.foodstandards.gov.uk/committees/acaf/summary.htm

  4. Further information is available from the Committee Secretariat at the above address, or on the website.