Special Edition: Existing and Emerging feed risks

Cargill launches feed focused mycotoxin prevention program

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Cargill is offering a mycotoxin prevention program to help producers understand and manage risk from the feed contaminants.

The Minnesota-based agro-giant announced the launch of the prevention program last week. Mycotoxin contamination costs North American producers about $5bn a year, but can be a challenge to trace and measure.

The program was designed to offer information on contamination levels in feed ingredients or complete feed by region, the company said. It is expected to cost less than $0.60 per metric ton, added Scott Ainslie, vice president of strategic marketing and technology at Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Mycotoxin prevention has long been a priority for the company as mitigation products and control plans continue to be a challenge in the feed industry, said Maxime Hilbert, global category manager, additives at Cargill.

“Our ambition is to alleviate this pain by providing very clear guidance on where the risk comes from,” he told FeedNavigator. “We are doing this now because we’ve reach a critical size that makes our database relevant to our customers willing to implement a proper mycotoxin control plan for a very competitive cost.”

The database and reports were created to help producers assess their risk and can work in conjunction with control plans producers have already established, he said. “We also advise they work with us to provide support for access to information and technologies that help address this issue,” he added.

Why mycotoxins?

Products that can be used as “anti-mycotoxin agents” (AMA) may be used in incorrect amounts and are often expensive – a combination that leads to financial loss for feed millers and integrators, said Hilbert. “We think it is important to help customers understand if, when and where it is best to use them,” he added.

“AMAs will never bring the risk back to zero, so preventing the risk before it hits your operations will always be more effective than curing mycotoxicosis,” he said. “There is no product that will [guarantee] a 100% performance recovery or a mycotoxin level in end-product below regulatory thresholds.”

The program, which uses data from Notox online, is set to start in regions including Central American, South Africa, China, the Philippines and Thailand with additional countries being added in 2017, the company said.

The initial regions were selected based on past outbreaks of mycotoxins, said Hilbert. However, as local mycotoxin data information is aggregated into the database, prevention efforts will expand in regions where the company has regulatory approval.

“We see many costly mycotoxin outbreaks in Asia and America due to weather/harvest conditions, he said. “We have the largest contamination pattern database worldwide so our reach is not limited to these countries.” 

The database and reports were created to help producers assess their risk and can work in conjunction with control plans producers have already established, said Hilbert. “We also advise they work with us to provide support for access to information and technologies that help address this issue,” he added.

Program offerings

Producers who take part in the program work with a consultant to set up their system, said Hilbert. “They get access to reports which will help them do everything from sourcing feed with the least threat of mycotoxins and devising strategies to deal with mycotoxin prevention to analyzing their own raw materials,” he added.

The system is able to provide information on about 50 ingredients for use in diets for swine, poultry and ruminants, he said.

Reports can include several factors like a breakdown of different mycotoxins and at what levels they were present in different feed ingredients, like corn meal, dried distillers’ grains, wheat bran or soybean meal, the company reported. The reports can be tailored to a specific country or region and for animal species at different ages.

They can cover time periods as well, so a specific ingredient from a region can be evaluated for potential mycotoxin contamination for multiple months, the company said.

Reports also can cover contamination in complete feed with species-specific analysis, the company said. Information in the document could include details like what levels – from no risk to high risk – of major mycotoxins, like aflatonix, deoxynlvalenol, fumonisin, ochratoxin or zearalenone were found, or not found, in the samples checked.

“If feed appears to be contaminated, producers will be able to get advice about which product using as well as which inclusion rate,” Hilbert added.

“As Cargill also is producing feed and has its own very strict mycotoxin control plan, we can ensure our customers that all major raw material they use will be part of our database as we use them ourselves,” he said.

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