Animal feed legislation

EU wide legislation on animal feed applies to a wide range of animal feed businesses and activities. This page contains further guidance on key EU regulations, EU directives and national legislation affect businesses involved with animal feed.
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EU wide legislation applies from primary production to placing animal feed on the market and feeding of food producing animals. The following information includes key EU regulations, directives and industry codes of practice that you need to be aware of.

Key EU regulations

The complete animal feed legislation can be found on the European Commission website.

There are summaries for the following regulations

  • 178/2002 on the principles of food and feed law
  • 183/2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene
  • 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed
  • 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition
  • 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feeds
  • 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules
  • 152/2009 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of feed

Regulation 178/2002 on the principles of food and feed law

Regulation 178/2002 defines 'food law' as including the production, processing and distribution of feed for food-producing animals and defines a 'feed business' as any business carrying out any operation of production, manufacture, processing, storage, transport, or distribution of feed. This includes all producing, processing or storing of animal feed.

Articles 15-18 and 20-21 set out feed safety requirements, traceability, and the responsibilities of feed business operators.

Regulation 183/2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene

Regulation 183/2005 requires most businesses involved in the use, manufacture or marketing of feeds to be approved or registered with their competent authority. 

It sets down standards relating to the transport and storage of feed, maintenance of equipment, the training of personnel, and the keeping of records.

Feed businesses include the following:

  • importers and merchants of feed materials and manufactured feeds - including merchants buying direct from farmers
  • food manufacturers selling material into the feed chain
  • road hauliers and transport companies which ship or deliver feed
  • livestock and some arable farmers
  • traders who do not hold stock on their premises or brokers

There are some exemptions including:

  • persons producing or storing feed
  • those feeding animals intended for their own consumption
  • those with animals not kept for food production
  • the direct supply of ‘small quantities’ of primary products at local level by the producer to local farms
  • the retailing of pet food

We provide guidance on different activities and their respective codes. We also provide specific guidance for food and drink businesses – supplying into the animal feed chain.

Regulation 767/2009 on placing animal feed on the market and use of animal feed

Regulation 767/2009 sets out the requirements for the marketing, labelling and composition of animal feeding stuffs and includes provisions intended to safeguard both animal and human health. It requires that feed may be placed on the market and used only if it is safe and does not have a direct adverse effect on the environment or animal welfare.

The regulation also provides for a Catalogue of Feed Materials and Codes of Practice for labelling. The Catalogue of Feed Materials is published as Regulation 68/2013.

Regulation 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition

Regulation 1831/2003 sets out harmonised procedures for the authorisation and labelling of feed additives. This includes:

  • vitamins
  • preservatives
  • binders and gelling agents
  • colourants
  • antioxidants
  • stabilisers
  • trace elements
  • enzymes
  • micro-organisms – some of which are subject to maximum limits, target species of animal, and other conditions of use

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for assessing the safety and effectiveness of new additives. The decision on whether to grant an authorisation for an additive following this assessment is the responsibility of the Member States through the Animal Nutrition Section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF).

The Regulation also specifies the information which must appear on additive and premixture labels. It covers zootechnical additives, some categories of which are the responsibility of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

In addition, Regulation 429/2008 sets out detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation 1831/2003 with regard to the preparation and presentation of applications and the assessment and the authorisation of feed additives.

Regulation 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed

Regulation 1829/2003 establishes a centralised procedure for the scientific assessment and authorisation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and GM food and feed. The assessment procedures cover both the GMO itself and food and feed derivatives.

The Regulation requires labelling of all GM food and feed which contains or consists of GMOs or is produced from or contains ingredients produced from GMOs, regardless of the presence of GM material in the final product. There is a threshold of 0.9% for the presence of GMOs below which labelling is not required, provided that this presence is technically unavoidable.

Regulation 882/2004

Regulation 882/2004 outlines the official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules.

This sets out the general principles and enabling powers for carrying out official controls and specifies the approach to be adopted by Member States’ enforcement authorities for checking compliance with feed and food law and EU animal health and welfare rules.

Regulation 152/2009

Regulation 152/2009 outlines the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of feed.

The Annexes to this Regulation set out the detailed procedures to be followed when analysing animal feed for a range of specified substances.

Key EU directives

These directives are transposed into UK law through domestic legislation. 

National legislation

National legislation regulations apply in England. This includes implementing powers for the EU legislation. There is separate but parallel legislation for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Animal Feed Regulations (Composition, marketing and use) (England) Regulations 

These regulations provide for the enforcement or implementation of EU Regulations 178/2002 and 767/2009, and Directives on feed safety, genetically modified feed, feed additives, the marketing and use of feed, undesirable substances (contaminants) in feed and feed for particular nutritional purposes.

The Animal Feed (Hygiene, sampling etc, and enforcement) (England) Regulations  

These Regulations provide for the execution and enforcement of Regulation 183/2005 and Regulation 152/2009 and give effect to Regulation 882/2004.

The Animal Feed (England) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010 No 2503) and the Feed (Sampling and Analysis and Specified Undesirable Substances) (England) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010 No 2280)

These regulations provide for the enforcement and administration of the European Regulations by local authority enforcement officers but have been largely amended/repealed by the 2015 regulations described above

Industry codes of practice

Industry sectors were invited to develop practical guidance for industry, consumers and authorities on how to apply the EU rules.

Further information

The Animal and Plant Health Agency are responsible for measures on animal by-products and the control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate are responsible for veterinary medicines legislation.

Find out more information about starting an animal feed business