Contaminant standards and animal feed labelling

Feed includes licks, premixes and medicated premixes.

If your business packs, sells or uses feed for food-producing animals, under the Biosecurity Act 2014, you have a general biosecurity obligation to minimise the impact of the biosecurity risk posed to human health or trade.

Under Schedule 3 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016, the Code of practice for feed for food producing animals states a way of meeting your general biosecurity obligation in relation to feed for food-producing animals.

You must ensure that:

  • products do not contain a prohibited material or prohibited substances
  • maximum levels of contaminants set for feed are not exceeded
  • products are packed and labelled in accordance with the code of practice
  • for medicated feeds, labels include required medicated feed statements and comply with Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority labelling requirements when a veterinary chemical product is incorporated into the feed.

Prohibited material in feed

The code of practice specifies that feed must not contain a number of chemical and other substances including nitrofurans and sulphonamides.

Feeds must not have manure, poultry litter, animal bedding material, or industrial waste placed in them.

Cannabis plant material, other than processed industrial cannabis, oil extracted from processed cannabis or meal from ground processed cannabis, cannot be used in feed.

Maximum levels of contaminants

Feed must not contain more than maximum levels of contaminants specified in the code of practice. Restrictions apply for:

  • veterinary chemicals, unless inclusion is permitted under product label instructions, a permit or veterinary instruction
  • pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • aflatoxin B1
  • organochlorine compounds
  • dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • heavy metals
  • radionuclides
  • pesticides as listed against a feed commodity in tables 1 and 4 of the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) Standard on the ComLaw website.

Learn more about MRL in food and animal feedstuff.

Feed labelling requirements

Labels must include:

  • information on the class of animal for which the feed is intended
  • the name, business address and telephone number of manufacturer
  • the name, business address and telephone number of the Australian distributor (if manufactured outside Australia)
  • batch number or date of manufacture
  • expiry date or best before date for premixes and medicated feed.

Labelling requirements for medicated feed

Medicated premix or medicated feed must comply with national registration and labelling requirements for a medicated feed. For more information, read the guidelines for stock foods and stock food additives on the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website.

Medicated feed made under the instructions of a veterinary surgeon

Medicated premix or medicated feed made under the instructions of a veterinary surgeon for animals under their care must also be labelled as follows:

'Medicated feed prepared under veterinary surgeon's instructions'.

Medicated feed prepared under veterinary surgeon's instructions must be provided to the animals under the veterinarian's care in accordance with the instructions provided.

Application of the code

The code of practice only applies to feed for animals that are food-producing species animals.

Other feed labelling requirements – RAM statements

Australia has a national ban on the feeding of restricted animal materials (RAM) to ruminants.

Feed requires a positive or negative RAM statement, indicating that it does or does not contain RAM when it is sold or supplied with the intention of being fed to a vertebrate animal, a bee, crustacean or mollusc.

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.

You must ensure that:

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