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Over the years, major transformation and intensification of livestock agriculture has led to increasing reliance on a wide range of manufactured animal feeds especially in developed countries. Rendering firms process meat trimmings, and other slaughter by-products into animal feeds. The firms combine these with plant materials to produce feed mixtures suited for specific animal groups. Contamination with biological, chemical and/or physical hazards during the milling process and even during the transportation is the matter of major concern.
Sources of contamination with these hazards can be identified at several stages in feed production, for example during production of raw materials and by-products, storage, distribution and feeding methods. In most cases of contamination, the animal is often affected without any overt consequences (animal functioning as “biological filter”). The effects, e.g. residues, can be unnoticeable in the animal, but in many cases the farm animal does not live long enough to manifest the adverse production performance or ill health. However, chemical or biological hazards can at times be accumulated in the animal and transmitted to human via products like milk, eggs and meat products. Depending on the types of contaminants, there is a risk of passing different hazards to human following consumption of different animal food products. This is due to the co-relationships between the quality and safety of feeds and that of animal products destined for human consumption. As a result of this, strong recommendations have been advocated for good quality and safe food chains.
In this brief review paper, potential animal feed-borne biological, chemical and physical hazards that can be transmitted to humans resulting in adverse effects are summarized.