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Is MBM returning to EU poultry feed?

The chance that meat and bone meal (MBM) could be included in animal feed once again is unlikely. The European Commission intends not to make a proposal for its re-introduction on the short term.

This was stated recently by EU commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, responding to questions by Dutch politician Jan Huitema, member of the European parliament.

Control methods to identify MBM from poultry

The European Commission wants to wait for the outcome of a study to get a clear picture of the different animal species of which meat and bone meal (MBM) is made of. The EU Reference Laboratory for animal proteins is currently working on validation of control methods to identify MBM from pigs and poultry in livestock feed.

"The final result of this study is not expected until the second half of 2016. Therefore, there are no plans to start a conversation with Member States, before this date, to discuss changes in the regulation on feeding MBM to poultry and pigs," said Andriukaitis.

No MBM for ruminants

If MBM will be allowed again, the implementation needs to be done fully channelled. This means that animal proteins cannot be fed to the same animal. Also ruminants (sheep and cattle) should not receive MBM, because of the risk of BSE and TSE. MBM from ruminant origin remains prohibited.

"To simply burn MBM is a waste"

Jan Huitema thinks that the ban on MBM (made from non-ruminants) should be evaluated if good control systems have been developed. "To simply burn MBM is a waste. For pigs and chickens, MBM is a healthy protein source and it makes the EU less dependent on imports of protein crops (such as soybeans) from third countries. Naturally, proper control methods should be in place to guarantee the health of humans and animals."

Mariska Vermaas

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