In collaboration with the European Union Reference Laboratory for Animal Proteins (EURL-AP) in feeding stuffs, the JRC contributed to the validation of new DNA-based methods detecting feeding material of porcine origin in feed. These methods detect remaining intact DNA fragments in heavily processed feed samples and hence allow determining the origin of the feed constituent.
The use of Processed Animal Proteins (PAPs) as aquaculture feed constituents was banned in 2001 due to the mad cow disease, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic. For this reason, feeding a species to the same species has also been prohibited since 2002. As a consequence of the effective BSE surveillance system in the EU, these bans could be lifted in 2013. The European Commission has re-authorised PAPs derived from non-ruminant farmed animals (i.e. mainly pigs and poultry) in fish feed. Moreover, it is expected that in 2015, the ban on PAPs in feed will be further lifted and porcine PAPs will also be allowed in poultry feed. Since these PAPs are a valuable source of proteins for feeding stuff, which are a scarce resource, the overall sustainability of farming and the aquaculture sector in particular is expected to improve.
In October 2015 the JRC released its second certified reference material (CRM), ERM-AD483, to identify unauthorised feed constituents. After the first CRM, ERM-AD482, which was developed to control PAPs for unauthorised ruminant constituents, ERM-AD483 is developed to identify the absence or presence of porcine material (e.g. pig) in feed. Such as ERM-AD482, ERM-AD483 facilitates the implementation of the regulation by control laboratories. The solutions are characterised for their DNA copy number concentration and allow control laboratories to determine their cut-off values and report their results in line with European Commission Regulation (EC) No 51/2013. ERM-AD483 can also be used for control charts and validation studies.
The reintroduction of PAPs derived from non-ruminant farmed animals in feed shows how scientific evidence-based advice can be used by policy makers and benefit consumers. The lack of measurement methods twelve years ago contributed to the total ban of PAPs. However, JRC scientists have significantly contributed to the development and provision of new quality assurance tools to protect consumers and animals as well as supporting industries.
Detailed information about ERM-AD483 can be found in the certification report.