Poultry feed industry

Figure: Feed production chain


Poultry diets are mixtures of ingredients and additives which can be fed as a diet or complemented with other ingredients, for example wheat or maize to make complete food. Feeding stuffs may only be put on the market if they are of "sound, genuine and of merchantable quality". They must not represent any danger to human or animal health or to the environment.

Additives are micro-ingredients, which are mixed with original ingredients or with compound feed. Examples of additives are antibiotics, vitamins, minerals, flavour-, odour- and colour agents. These micro-ingredients are added for a wide variety of reasons. One of them is to stimulate the development of poultry and to realise some product characteristics, e.g. the colour of an egg. Mixing of additives can be done at different stages of the compound feed production process.

Premixes are mixes of several micro-ingredients, which are used to supplement complete animal feeds in the feed mill and on the farm.

Contamination during feed manufacturing process

During the production process different risk concerning food safety can occur. An example is lubricating jelly used for the machines. When this jelly is used, it can contaminate the product. Other contamination also can occur like physical, microbiological and fungal contamination.


Poultry products are sometimes contaminated with drug residues administered through the feed. Such feed additives may be used for disease control and the enhancement of livestock performance. Residues may also arise through contamination of poultry feeds with undeclared drugs.


Antibiotics are widely used as therapeutics agents and also as growth promoters in poultry production. The possibility of developing resistant populations of bacteria and the side effects of using antibiotics as growth promoters in the farm animals has led to the EU-ban on the use of several antibiotics as growth promoters in poultry diets. Therefore, there is an intensive search for alternative products such as probiotics, prebiotics, organic acids, enzymes and natural medicinal products: herbs, botanicals and other related substances.

Food safety issues:
Physical, microbiological and fungal contamination during the production of poultry feed.
The use of antibiotics in compound feed.