Australian Ruminant Feed Ban

Animal Health Australia (AHA) coordinates the ruminant feed ban as part of Australia’s commitment to retain its TSE free status.

Australia has an inclusive ban on the feeding to all ruminants of all meals, including meat and bone meal (MBM), derived from all vertebrates, including fish and birds.

What is the ruminant feed ban?

Australia has an inclusive ban on the feeding to all ruminants of all meals, including meat and bone meal (MBM), derived from all vertebrates, including fish and birds.

Since 1996, the Australian Ruminant Feed Ban has helped prevent the establishment of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Australia. The ban was introduced by the Australian livestock and stock feed industries and was legislated in all states and territories of Australia in 1997. The ban ensures the provision of safe beef, and beef products, to international markets.

International markets seek assurances from Australia and other importing nations, that there are appropriate measures in place to ensure that Restricted Animal Material (RAM) is not being fed to ruminant livestock species (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats or deer). The legislation and associated policing of these provisions are aimed at providing such assurances.

All states and territories have now adopted in their respective legislation the term ‘restricted animal material’ (RAM) to describe animal meals that cannot be fed to ruminants, being any meal derived from vertebrate animal origin, including fish and birds.

Definitions

RAM is defined as any material taken from a vertebrate animal other than tallow, gelatin, milk products or oils. It includes rendered products, such as blood meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, poultry meal, eggs, feather meal, and compounded feeds made from these products.

Tallow and oils are defined as ‘any product (not limiting to but including products known as tallow, yellow grease and acid oil), containing rendered fats and oils from any animal, or used cooking oil filtered or otherwise treated to remove visible particulate matter, and which complies with a specification of 2% maximum M+I (moisture plus insoluble impurities) as measured by American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) official methods’[1].

Note: Eggs are considered RAM and must not be fed to ruminants.

A national approach

To ensure Australia has effective feed ban control measures, audits are undertaken by all jurisdictions to verify compliance with feed ban legislation by all parties from manufacture to end-use. Prior to these jurisdictional audits, four national audits of the ruminant feed ban were conducted in Australia.

A uniform national approach to compliance inspection and auditing provides the greatest assurance of compliance with both regulatory controls and with national and international requirements.

Australia’s enforceable bans on the feeding of RAM to ruminant animals are part of a comprehensive national TSE Freedom Assurance Program.

The ruminant feed ban is supported by the following mechanisms:

  • Quarantine measures to prevent entry into the country of the BSE agent. Since 1966, the importation of animal-derived MBM into Australia has been prohibited from all countries other than New Zealand, which is also free of animal TSEs.
  • A comprehensive, risk-based compliance inspection program undertaken by state and territory authorities that targets all sectors in the livestock feed chain from renderers to stockfeed manufacturers, stockfeed resellers and end-users.
  • Various quality management and assurance measures implemented by the ruminant livestock and stockfeed manufacturing industries in Australia to complement the official regulatory and compliance inspection program.
  • Education and training programs to create awareness and develop the necessary competencies and capacity regarding the legislative rules on animal feed and TSEs.

These activities constitute Australia’s effective RFB, as part of its control measures to prevent the entry and establishment of the BSE agent in this country.

Communications materials

Import controls

National guidelines

Standards for rendered products

Feedsafe QA program for stockfeed manufacturers

Livestock QA programs

Auditing