SMR 4: Food and feed law
You must make sure that the production of food for human consumption and the production of food or feed that’s fed to food-producing animals is safe.
Food and feed safety
You must meet the minimum standards of food and feed safety, withdrawal and recall, by:
- not placing unsafe food or unsafe feed on the market. Unsafe food is food which is harmful to human health or unfit for human consumption. Unsafe feed is feed deemed to have an adverse effect on human or animal health or feed which makes the food that comes from food-producing animals unsafe for human consumption
- not feeding unsafe feed to animals
- withdrawing, recalling and destroying unsafe food or unsafe feed if you believe you have supplied it
- telling consumers of the reason for withdrawal of the food or feed if it may have reached them
- telling your local authority and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) if the food/feed which you have supplied or intend to sell could be harmful to health, and the actions you have taken to prevent risks to the final consumer.
In the case of feedstuffs containing veterinary medicinal products or specified feed additives (coccidiostats, histomonostats and additives authorised to promote growth) at levels greater than their prescribed or authorised levels, or feedstuffs contaminated with such products, which may be harmful to health, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) should also be informed.
You must show traceability of inputs to your farm (for example food, feed, food producing animals and any other substance intended or expected to be incorporated into a feed), and any products leaving your farm, showing the:
- name and address of supplier / business supplied
- type and quantity of inputs / products
- date of delivery / leaving premises This information must be stored in a format which is readily available and you must produce it when requested.
Food and feed hygiene
- store and handle feed, waste and hazardous substances (any substances that have the potential to cause an adverse effect on human health or animal health) separately and securely, to stop contamination and distribution errors
- act on results of official controls and sample analyses
- keep storage areas and containers clean and dry, and implement appropriate pest-control measures where necessary. Take particular care when cleaning storage areas and containers which are used to contain medicated and non-medicated feed
- store seed properly and in such a way that it is not accessible to animals
- use feed additives, veterinary medicinal products and biocides correctly (with dosage, application and storage as stated on the label or as prescribed. This includes making sure that the food you produce does not contain residues of pesticides or veterinary medicinal products that are higher than the permitted maximum residue level for the pesticide used or the maximum residue limit for the medicine used)
- handle medicated and non-medicated feeds separately
- make sure the on-farm feed distribution system ensures that the right feed is sent to the right destination. During distribution and feeding, feed must be handled in such a way as to ensure that contamination does not occur from contaminated storage areas and equipment
- take adequate measures to stop the introduction and spread of contagious diseases transmissible to humans through food, such as abiding by the statutory herd testing for bovine tuberculosis and pre-movement TB testing of animals; compliance with any notice and instruction; not moving animals subject to movement restrictions; taking precautionary measures when introducing new animals; reporting suspected disease outbreaks to the competent authority
- periodically clean on-farm feed transport vehicles and feeding equipment, in particular when used to deliver and distribute medicated feed
- use feed from places that are registered or approved by your local authority (and VMD for specified feed additives)
- take appropriate remedial action when informed of problems identified during official controls
- keep records of:
- veterinary medicinal products or other treatments given to your animals (including treatment dates and withdrawal periods)
- plant protection products and biocides
- results of analyses carried out on samples taken that have importance for human or animal health
- reports on checks on animals and animal products
- use of genetically modified seeds in feed production.
These rules don’t apply to producers selling small amounts of primary products to final consumers or to local shops selling directly to final consumers.
If you’re a producer of raw milk (milk produced by the secretion of the mammary gland of farmed animals that has not been heated to more than 40°C or undergone any treatment that has an equivalent effect), or handle raw milk or produce colostrum, you must meet the rules about raw milk and colostrum. Specifically you must:
- make sure that raw milk and colostrum comes from animals that:
- are in a good general state of health
- show no sign of disease that might result in the contamination of milk or colostrum (in particular, not suffering from any infection of the genital tract with discharge, enteritis with diarrhoea and fever, or a recognisable inflammation of the udder)
- do not have any udder wound likely to affect the milk or colostrum
- are not within the prescribed withdrawal period following the administration of authorised products or substances
- have not been given any unauthorised substances or products
- make sure that raw milk and colostrum comes from animals belonging to herds/holdings which have disease-free status for tuberculosis and brucellosis.
If your herd or holding is not disease-free you may sell raw milk from your non-reactor animals if either of the following applies:
- you are selling to a wholesaler who will heat treat the milk before marketing it for human consumption, or
- the raw milk is from sheep or goats (that do not show a positive reaction to tests for brucellosis or which have been vaccinated against it) and is intended to be made into cheese that has a maturation period of at least two months if authorised by the competent authority.
You must make sure that raw milk and colostrum from any animal not complying with these requirements is not placed on the market for human consumption.
You must also:
- effectively isolate animals that are infected or suspected of being infected with brucellosis or tuberculosis, so that there is no adverse effect on other animals’ milk
- make sure that milking equipment and the premises where raw milk and colostrum are stored, handled or cooled are located and constructed to limit the risk of contamination of milk and colostrum
- make sure that premises used for the storage of raw milk and colostrum:
- are protected against vermin, including birds and birds’ nests, and adequately separated from premises where animals are housed
- have suitable refrigeration equipment in order to meet the post-milking cooling rules
- make sure the surfaces of equipment that come into contact with raw milk or colostrum are easy to clean and disinfect (where this is necessary)
- clean (and disinfect where necessary) the surfaces of equipment that come into contact with raw milk or colostrum after each use, and maintain equipment in a sound condition
- carry out milking hygienically, especially making sure that:
- before milking starts the teats, udder and adjacent parts are clean
- you satisfactorily identify animals undergoing any medical treatment which is likely to transfer residues to the milk or colostrum
- raw milk or colostrum from any animals that are still within the withdrawal period after receiving medication is not used for human consumption
- hold raw milk in a clean place, designed and equipped to avoid contamination, immediately after milking. The milk must be cooled immediately to one of the following:
- not more than 8°C if it is collected daily
- not more than 6°C if it is not collected daily.
You will not break the rule to cool raw milk immediately after milking if the milk is going to be processed within 2 hours of milking, or you have received permission from the competent authority because of the dairy products that will be made from this milk.
hold colostrum in a clean place, designed and equipped to avoid contamination, immediately after milking. Colostrum must be stored separately and be cooled immediately to one of the following:
- not more than 8°C if it is collected daily
- not more than 6°C if it is not collected daily
or it must be frozen.
If you’re an egg producer you must keep eggs clean and dry, free of strong odours, protected from shocks and out of direct sunshine.
You must follow the rules about food and feed safety, including reporting of incidents, on the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk.
Read the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s detailed guidance on raw milk called ‘Milk hygiene on the dairy farm – a practical guide for milk producers’.
Food Standards Agency: 020 7276 8829