Lift the ban on feeding fishmeal and fish oil to ruminants says MEPs

EU - The European Parliament adopted a report by Struan STEVENSON (EPP-ED, UK) calling on the Commission and the Council to lift the ban on feeding fishmeal and fish oil to ruminants. The report stresses that "there is no scientific evidence to support a total ban on fishmeal on the grounds that it may transmit BSE or other TSEs".
calendar icon 11 July 2007
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The EP notes that Regulation No 1923/2006 of 18 December 2006 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, recently adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, prohibits the feeding of animal protein to ruminants, but enables the Commission to grant derogations for feeding fishmeal to young ruminants, provided that such derogations are based on a scientific assessment of the dietary needs of young ruminants and follow an assessment of the control aspects.

MEPs call for scientific analysis to determine acceptable limit values for dioxin in fishmeal for feeding pigs and poultry.

The problem of discards

This report stresses the problem of discards from marine fisheries, a problem which is estimated in Europe to account for up to 1 million tonnes annually. The EP suggests that use of discards by the fishmeal and fish oil industry should be examined, given the swiftly expanding EU aquaculture sector.

MEPs also ask the Commission to "increase scientific research into blue whiting" in order to obtain improved advice and management in the near future.

The EP welcomes the €25 million investment by the fishmeal and fish oil industry in Denmark and the UK, aimed at eliminating dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs and ensuring the creation of a safe and healthy product.

UK market for fishmeal largest in the EU

The UK is the largest consumer of fishmeal in the EU largely due to its extensive aquaculture sector. Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands use fishmeal for their agriculture and aquaculture sectors. Greece, Italy and the smaller Mediterranean islands rely on fishmeal for their sea bass and sea bream aquaculture.

Fishmeal is not eaten directly by people with the exception of very small volume sales of fishmeal tablets in Norway sold through pharmacies for dietary supplements of sportspersons. About 33% of the fishmeal consumed in the EU is fed to farmed fish; the balance is fed to pigs and poultry. Thus the effect of fishmeal on human health is as a result of the meat eaten from farmed fish, pigs, and poultry fed on the product as a feed ingredient. Fishmeal is rich in both essential amino acids in the form of protein, and in the long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (PUFAs) which provide health and welfare benefits to animals. Meat, milk and eggs from farm animals fed on fishmeal and oil are, in turn, foods that benefit human health, states the report.

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