The addition of animal proteins, which is the official indication for animal by-products, is usually done by adding ground slaughter by-products originating either from ruminants, poultry or fish. This means that fine structures are visible after microscopic inspection at different magnifications. The major developer and one of the first users, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, already used microscopes for the detection of microbial contamination of water. After continuous improvement systems for infrared and ultraviolet illumination, polarisation and scanning microscopy are currently available. The principal particles of animal origin that might be present in feeds are bones and muscle fibres. Additionally, cartilage, hairs, feather filaments, egg shells, fish scales and ligaments may also be present. Parts from organs, skin and other soft tissues are generally absent. Most of these particles show a limited number of characters. Bones appear to be the most persistent particles, even after the current EU rendering practice of sterilisation at 133°C and 3 bar for 20 min.
Directive 2003/126/EC (EU, 2003) defines the (basic) rules for the identification of constituents of animal origin in animal feeding stuffs. The need for this identification is based on the prohibition to add animal proteins to feeds intended for farmed animals, except for fish proteins under specific circumstances. Since animal proteins are usually available in the form of processed (rendered) animal slaughter by-products, in the framework of microscopic research this material can generally be indicated as meat meal or meat and bone meal (MBM). The main parts of Directive 2003/126/EC are guidelines for the reagents and the equipment, the result of the sieving procedure (two fractions), the procedure for the production of the sediment giving two additional fractions, the use of the embedding agents and the staining reagents, and the quantification of the relative amount and final evaluation. This directive is based on the research of STRATFEED workpackage Classical microscopy, and is a an improvement and stricter application of the methodology compared to the former Directive 98/88/EC. The Directive is an important tool to reach the objective of harmonisation and up to now the microscopic investigation of MBM contamination of feeds is the only method that is validated successfully by collaborative tests.
The STRATFEED project aims
Figure 1. : Part of the check list used for the collection and documentation of microscopic observations (Click here for full check list).
at developing new characters and at collecting elaborate description of the different types of MBM including images (Figure 2) viewable with the STRATFEED explorer
Figure 2. : Microscopy pictures library.
at developing an internet oriented Decision Support System (STRATFEED - DSS) for microscopic research.
at developing a Decision Support System (ARIES - Animal Remains Identification and Evaluation system) for microscopic research.
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This work was coordinated by CRA-W in collaboration with JRC-IRMM, AFSCA, FUSAGx, RIKILT, NUTRECO, SAC, ISS, UCO, LAGC, ALP, LUFA and PDIR
Walloon Agricultural Research Centre
Dr Pierre Dardenne, Dr Vincent Baeten, Dr Gilbert Berben,
Dr R. Oger, Ir Philippe Vermeulen
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
European Commission - DG - Joint Research Centre
Dr Christoph von Holst
Federal Feed & Food Laboratory of Tervuren
Ir Jeroen Vancutsem
Institute of Food Safety
Dr Jacob de Jong, Dr Leo van Raamsdonk, Dr Henk Aarts, Mr Rob Frankhuizen
Ir Jos Zegers
Laboratory of the autonomous government of Catalonia
Dr Jaume Bosch, Dr Silvia Termes
Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production
Dr Daniel Guidon, Dr Geneviève Frick
Landwirtschaftliche Untersuchungs- und Forschungsanstalt Nord-West
Dr Inge Paradies Severin
The Danish Plant Directorate
Jan Sten Jorgensen