Monitoring the quality and safety of grain and grain-derived co-products destined for animal feed


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 May 2004 - 30 April 2006
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£109,462 from the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (Project 3033)
Project leader:
E D Baxter1 and S Salmon2 1 Brewing Research International, Lyttel Hall, Nutfield, Surrey RH1 4HY 2 Campden and Chorleywood Research Association, Chipping Campden, Glos., GL55 6LD


pr387-final-project-report pr387-project-progress

About this project


The overall aim of this project was to monitor the quality and safety of UK animal feed derived from UK-grown cereals. It was carried out jointly by CCFRA, who were responsible for the wheat samples, and BRi (the project co-ordinators), who were responsible for the barley and oat samples. The project ran from April 2004 to December 2005, when it was replaced by new project (HGCA 3100), which also covers malting barley and milling wheat.
The project comprised:

  • Collection of representative sample sets of feed cereals, testing them for a range of contaminants, and comparing the results with legal limits or proposed guideline values.
  • An ongoing review of proposed and incoming legislation and opinions from food/feed standards bodies (such as the UK Food Standards Agency and European Food Safety Authority) in order to identify any emerging issues which could impact on the safety or quality of feed cereals.

The results indicated that, for the overwhelming majority of animal feed materials derived from UK-grown cereals, levels of contaminants were well below legal limits in the EU.

Levels of heavy metals and arsenic were, with one exception (a wheatfeed), very low. Cereal products are unlikely to be a significant source of metal contaminants in animal feed.
Aflatoxins were only detected in two samples (both feed barleys), and then only at very low levels compared with the legal limit.

Ochratoxin A was widespread in oatfeed and wheatfeed, but was detected in less than half of grain samples. Maximum levels were well below the proposed Guideline Value for feed materials, but some samples approached the Guideline Values for complete or complementary feedingstuffs in sensitive species such as pigs.

Trichothecene mycotoxins from Fusarium were generally widespread in all samples except feed barley. Deoxynivalenol was detected most frequently, except in oats where T-2 and HT-2 were more common. There was also evidence of an increase in the incidence of T-2 and HT-2 in other cereals from 2004 to 2005. Currently there are no legal limits for trichothecenes in animal feed, but all the samples tested were well below the proposed guideline limits for feed materials. However, some of the oats and wheat samples exceeded the proposed guidelines for complete feedingstuffs for sensitive species such as pigs.

Zearalenone was rare in barley and oats but widespread in wheat and wheat feed.

Residues of Pesticides were uniformly low. Organochloride insecticides were not detected in any of the samples. Of the insecticides currently used in grain storage, pirimiphos-methyl was detected most frequently, but concentrations were always well below legal MRLs. Cereal products are unlikely to be a significant source of pesticide residues in animal feed.