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Ruminant feed ban requirements for stockfeed renderers, manufacturers and retailers

Selling or supplying restricted animal matter (RAM) for ruminants

It is illegal to sell or supply RAM, or animal feed containing RAM, to a person knowing it is intended to be fed to a ruminant.

RAM statements

A RAM statement indicates whether animal feed contains RAM. A positive RAM statement indicates that feed contains RAM; a negative RAM statement indicates that it does not.

Which animal feeds require a RAM statement?

Feed requires a positive or negative RAM statement if it is sold or supplied with the intention of being fed to a vertebrate animal, a bee, crustacean or mollusc.

The requirements apply to:

  • feed sold or supplied in containers such as bags, including feed that is 're-bagged' or sold from open containers in small quantities
  • feed sold or supplied in bulk, including consignments to stock feed manufacturers.

Feed does not require a RAM statement if it is sold or supplied for:

  • cats or dogs
  • aquarium fish
  • captive birds (other than poultry, emus or ostriches)
  • an animal other than a ruminant that is used for research.

RAM statements are not required for feed that is produced and consumed on farm.

In addition, a negative RAM statement is not required for manufactured feed that consists entirely of:

  • chaff, hay or straw
  • whole, cracked or rolled single or mixed grain products
  • milk, a milk product, a milk by-product.

Animal feed containing RAM must have a positive RAM statement

When selling or supplying animal feed containing RAM, you must apply a positive RAM statement to the feed container or, if selling in bulk, accompany the feed with a positive RAM statement on a written notice such as an invoice or delivery docket.

  • The positive RAM statement must read:
  • 'This product contains restricted animal material - DO NOT FEED TO CATTLE, SHEEP, GOATS, DEER OR OTHER RUMINANTS'.
  • The wording of the positive RAM statement cannot be altered.

Animal feed that does not contain RAM must have a negative RAM statement

When selling or supplying animal feed that does not contain RAM, you must apply a negative RAM statement to the feed container or, if selling in bulk, accompany the feed with a negative RAM statement on a written notice such as an invoice or delivery docket.

  • The negative RAM statement must read:
  • 'This product does not contain restricted animal material'.
  • The wording of the negative RAM statement cannot be altered.

The table below explains the legal requirements for the appearance of positive and negative RAM statements.

Requirements for the appearance of RAM statements

  Packaged animal feed, including 're-bagged' feed Animal feed supplied in loose bulk, including consignments to stock feed manufacturers
Contrast

The characters of the RAM statement must be in dark print on a light background, or light print on a dark background, so that a distinct contrast between the text and background makes the text easy to read.

Location

The RAM statement must be in a prominent position where it can easily be seen on the feed container, either written or stamped directly on the container or attached securely to the outside of the container.

The RAM statement must be in a prominent position where it can easily be seen either on the front of a product label attached to the invoice or delivery docket, or incorporated to form part of the printed text in a prominent position on the front of the invoice and/or delivery docket.

Minimum size

If written or stamped directly on to the feed container the letters of the RAM statement must be at least 10mm high.

If the RAM statement is on a tag or label that is attached to the outside of a feed container:

  • the tag or label must be at least 45mm by 120mm
  • the letters of the RAM statement must be at least 3mm high.
  • The label, invoice, docket or other form of written notice that accompanies the feed must be at least 45mm by 120mm.
  • The letters of the RAM statement must be at least 3mm high.

It is an offence to knowingly take a RAM statement off, or cause a RAM statement to be taken off, a container of animal feed. It is also an offence for a person to knowingly mark or deface a RAM statement.

Avoiding RAM cross-contamination

Feed for ruminants must not be contaminated with RAM or with feed that contains RAM during manufacture, storage or feeding.

To prevent cross-contamination, stock feed renderers and manufacturers should implement good manufacturing practice (GMP) under a quality assurance (QA) program throughout all stages of the manufacturing process, from raw material input to product delivery.

In particular, when a stock feed manufacturer uses the same mixing equipment to produce 'mixed lines' (animal feed containing and not containing RAM), measures must be in place to prevent RAM from contaminating feed intended to be fed to ruminants or not intended to be labelled with a RAM statement. The ruminant feed ban requires that no RAM be fed to ruminants, not even in trace amounts.

The best way to avoid cross-contamination is to have separate and permanently dedicated production lines (including separate augers, mixers, pelleting machines and bagging equipment) for animal feeds containing RAM and for those without.

Where this is not possible, manufacturers should adopt other measures to reduce cross-contamination risks (e.g. clean equipment thoroughly or use accepted flushing or sequencing techniques between production batches).

You can find more information on preventing cross-contamination in Appendix 2 of the Australian ruminant feed ban national uniform guidelines. The guidelines are available from the Animal Health Australia website.

Industry guidelines for preventing cross-contamination have also been developed. To get a copy, contact the Stock Feed Manufacturers' Council of Australia.

Other feed labelling requirements

In addition to the requirements for RAM statements, the regulation prescribes other labelling requirements and standards for feed for food producing animals in the Code of practice for feed for food producing animals. In many cases, feed for animals must comply with both the standards and labelling requirements of the code of practice and the requirements for a RAM statement

Educating customers

Stock feed retailers can take a leading role in educating livestock owners about their products.

You can help by showing livestock owners the positive RAM statement on products containing RAM, and reinforcing the message that ruminants must not be fed RAM.

Queensland Ruminant Feed Ban Surveillance Program

Compliance with the requirements of the ruminant feed ban is monitored under the Queensland Ruminant Feed Ban Surveillance Program.

Biosecurity Queensland inspectors regularly inspect the premises of renderers, stock feed manufacturers, retailers and owners to monitor compliance with the ruminant feed ban.

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