Resolving Feed Complaints (Nutrition Update, Volume 9)

Although it does not happen all that often, situations do occasionally arise where a producer is at odds with a feed company over the quality of purchased feed. The presence of mold or previous unseen feed ingredients, may alert the producer to an error in delivery, formulation or quality control on the part of the feed manufacturer.

When a producer receives a suspect feed, the first step taken should be to advise the feed company of the concern. In most cases, the feed company will immediately investigate and remove and replace the feed in question. If this happens and no harm has come to the animals, the case is resolved.

If the case is not resolved immediately, or if animal health has been affected necessitating prolonged negotiations, the second step should be to contact Helen Page, District Program Officer - Feed, Fertilizer and Seed for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is responsible for ensuring the safety of all food intended for human consumption. There are nine CFIA inspectors in Manitoba: four in the Winnipeg office, three in Brandon and two in Morden.

If the complaint involves potential food safety issues, an inspector will usually be dispatched the next day to investigate the complaint. It is essential that the suspect feed not be removed from the bin to which it was delivered. Do not let the feed company remove the suspect feed until after a CFIA inspector has taken the official sample. Official samples are taken from the delivery bin or from unopened bags of the delivered lot.

In some cases the CFIA can determine the nature of the error by following up on records at the feed mill. The CFIA will also test suspect feed for drug residues and mycotoxins. Microscopy can be done to differentiate the type of ingredients in a processed feed.

The results of the official samples are sent to the producer, the feed company involved and an involved third party such as the veterinarian. The CFIA does not mediate feed complaints. Final resolution is left to the producer and the feed company.

The CFIA does not do routine nutrient analysis and does not generally become involved in nutrient discrepancy complaints. Commercial feed manufacturers are subject to regulations laid out in the federal Feeds Act and Regulations which outline the accepted range and variation for each nutrient. When nutrients fall outside the specified range, these feeds must be registered. The CFIA does not take legal action in these cases but may issue a warning letter to the feed manufacturer. A copy of the Feeds Act will be provided to the producer for use if they choose to pursue the matter in civil court.

The CFIA investigates three to four feed complaints each year in Manitoba. There is no charge for this service. Phone 204-983-2817 in Winnipeg, Manitoba for more information.

Nutrition Update
Volume 9 No.3, November 1998