Animal feed activity and inspections in the UK

Last updated:
18 September 2014
The UK has about 200,000 animal feed businesses involved in importing, producing, handling, storing and distributing animal feed. This industry is worth about £4.4bn to the economy. Information is available about official controls (these include inspections of businesses) and how being a compliant member of an FSA approved assurance scheme means a reduced frequency of inspection.

Enforcement authorities and what they do

The FSA is the central competent authority responsible for the delivery of official feed controls within the UK. In total, 207 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland, act as the enforcement authority organising and delivering official controls.

About official controls

Official animal feed controls include the inspection of feed establishments, monitoring of consignments of imported feed, sampling of feed materials and manufactured feed together with other controls such as composition and labelling requirements.

Local authorities in Britain, and DARD in Northern Ireland, carry out routine inspections of feed businesses to ensure compliance with relevant legislation and that required standards are met.

Reduced number of inspections

Earned recognition

The Feed Law Code of Practice (England), which was published in May 2014, introduced earned recognition into the feed sector. This means that where a feed business is either a compliant member of an FSA approved assurance scheme or can demonstrate a history of compliance it will qualify for a reduced frequency of inspection.

The use of earned recognition is not new to the FSA and has already been applied in the dairy hygiene and food primary production areas.

The FSA has established a comprehensive and robust process for assessing assurance schemes for approval.

In January 2016, the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office, accompanied by national experts from four other member states, conducted a study visit to look at the co-operation between private certification schemes and Feed Official Controls in the UK.  They examined the FSA’s strategy of ‘earned recognition’ to which they gave positive feedback.  This is the final report from that visit.

FSA approved assurance schemes

Working with the Veterinary Medicine Directorate and the trade association Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), the FSA has approved the following schemes:

  • Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS)
  • Feed Materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS)
  • Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC)

The FSA has also approved the following schemes operated by Red Tractor in the farming sector:   

  • Beef and Lamb Scheme
  • Dairy Scheme
  • Crops and Sugar Beet Scheme
  • Pigs and Poultry Schemes

Other assurance schemes

The FSA is working with other assurance scheme providers in the UK for approval and subsequent inclusion into relevant earned recognition arrangements.

Feed Law Code of Practice in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

The revised Feed Law Code of Practice and supporting guidance is awaiting ministerial approval in Wales. In Northern Ireland guidance will be developed for DARD. A new code for Scotland will be developed pending the outcome of the Animal Feed Review in Scotland.

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