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Animal feed legislation

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

In response to industry queries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we have published clarification for producers of animal feed in relation to reformulation and labelling of products, as well as information on production facilities.

Key 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
  • 2017/625 on official controls and other official activities
  • 2020/354 establishing a list of intended uses of feed intended for particular nutritional purposes 

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 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:

  • rules on feed additive authorisations
  • conditions of use for additives
  • provisions on the labelling of feed additives and their premixtures which must be adhered to

The regulation covers the following feed additive categories (with examples of their functional groups):

  • technological additives (e.g. preservatives)
  • sensory additives (e.g. flavourings and colourings)
  • nutritional additives (e.g. vitamins and minerals)
  • zootechnical additives (e.g. enzyme and micro-organisms used to affect favourably the performance of animals in good health)
  • coccidiostats and histomonostats (to control gut parasites)

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 2017/625 on official controls and other official activities

Regulation 2017/625 outlines the official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules.

The regulation sets out the general principles and enabling powers for carrying out official controls and specifies the approach to be adopted by the enforcement authority for checking compliance with feed and food law and animal health and welfare rules.

Regulation 2020/354 establishing a list of intended uses of feed intended for particular nutritional purposes

Feed intended for particular nutritional purposes may only be marketed if its intended use is included in the list of intended uses and if it meets the essential nutritional characteristics for the respective particular nutritional purpose set forth in that list. The list of authorised PARNUTs can be found in Regulation 2020/354.

National legislation

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

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

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

These regulations provide for the enforcement and implementation of Regulations.

Further information

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (Opens in a new window) is responsible for measures on animal by-products and the control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (Opens in a new window) is responsible for veterinary medicines legislation.

Find out more information about starting an animal feed business