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Department of Primary Industries:
Take Care Feeding Waste To Livestock

Don't risk unacceptable residues in meat or milk

By DNRE - 12th November 2002 - Back to News

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As the drought takes hold and feed for livestock becomes scarcer, producers consider using whatever fodder is available. Material not normally fed to livestock becomes more attractive as feed prices soar. These unusual feedstuffs may include anything from confectionery to crop waste.

Plant material could have been treated with an agricultural chemical. Chemical labels provide advice on avoiding chemical residues for the purpose for which they are intended but do not necessarily include advice on the feeding of the plant or its waste products to livestock. Very small quantities of chemicals in fodder may result in unacceptable residues in meat or milk. This has resulted in serious consequences for trade in the past - remember CFZ in cotton trash?

If producers decide that providing unusual feedstuffs is worth the risk, they can minimise that risk by determining whether:

  • it has been treated with chemicals. If so, that label directions were followed.
  • that feeding of the material is not prohibited.
  • that any grazing withholding period was followed.

If grazing withholding periods are not mentioned on the label, avoid using the material or have chemical analysis undertaken by an accredited laboratory to ensure that it is safe to use. Bear in mind that the cost of analysis often exceeds the cost benefits of the feed.

To guard against any chemical contamination, producers and fodder suppliers should use the Commodity Vendor Declaration for all stock feed transactions to ensure the feed is suitable for feeding to livestock. Records of feeding should be kept including:

  • type and source of feed.
  • supplier declaration.
  • chemical residue test results if available.
  • dates the feed was first and last fed.
  • percentage included in total ration.
  • identification of livestock fed.

National Vendor Declaration forms must be accurately completed regarding the feeding of by-product stock feed.

Let's try and learn from the recent past and avoid any further threats to trade in our livestock industries.


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