Producing high-quality raw materials starts with the crop Producing high-quality raw materials starts with the crop

Raw Material Hygiene & Quality

Securing hygiene during transport

Raw material trading is integral to ensuring a constant supply of high-quality raw materials across the globe. High-protein raw materials are at risk for enterobacteriaceae (such as Salmonella) contamination. Transport conditions create the perfect environment for these bacteria to flourish, ultimately impacting the ability to supply safe and high-quality raw materials.

Samples are often analysed while the raw materials already departed from their port of origin and results may come in while the material is in a barge at sea. In the case of a positive analysis result for Salmonella their value is decreased significantly and they may not be allowed to continue to their final destination.

Testing positive for Salmonella not only reduces the monetary value of the materials, but can severely damage the company’s brand image in the market. To prevent further degradation of raw material quality and to mitigate the harmful bacteria, it is vital that an effective treatment is applied upon arrival at the port.

Moulds and shelf-life

Moulds consume nutrients, reducing the nutritional value and palatability of raw materials. On average 6 to 7% of nutritional value is lost for materials such as corn, wheat, and barley. Multiple factors influence the growth of moulds, including transport and long-term storage in silos or other storage facilities. An optimal environment for mould growth is created by natural temperature fluctuations throughout the day and night, causing moisture from grains to evaporate and condense on the walls and ceilings of the storage facility, as well as on the top layer of the feed.

In addition, moulds destabilise the raw materials and increase the temperature inside the silo or storage facility, allowing other potentially harmful microorganisms to proliferate. Moulds can also produce mycotoxins, which may negatively impact animal health. To ensure high-quality raw materials, an effective strategy is needed to combat the negative effects of mould growth.

Replacing formaldehyde

Harmful microbes, such as moulds and bacteria (like Salmonella) can reduce the nutritional value, palatability of feed, and feed intake. It is common practice to apply chemical treatment using formaldehyde.

Although formaldehyde is an effective and frequently used solution to swiftly deal with microbial loads in raw materials, the use of this chemical is drawing increased scrutiny regarding its safety. In the European Union the product has altogether been denied re-authorisation as a hygiene enhancer.

In addition to the EU, many regions are now exploring alternatives to formaldehyde. Organic acids are a potential solution but their efficacy differs based upon the type of acid, buffer capacity and concentration. It is important to implement a full programme of checking critical control points along the production chain, implementing effective dosing equipment and using specific blends with proven, long-term efficacy.