Method development for testing livestock feed for animal proteins

As a result of the increasing focus on sustainability, the reintroduction of animal proteins as raw materials in feed is attracting a large amount of attention in the EU. The EU's so-called species-to-species ban prohibits the feeding of products derived from a particular species to the same species. However, the extended feed ban, which overrules the species-to-species ban, is currently in force. Apart from a few exceptions, feeding animal proteins to livestock is generally prohibited under the extended feed ban. The extended feed ban is being phased out.


The species-to-species ban allows products from a different species to be processed in livestock feed. This is regarded as necessary because of aspects such as protein competition on the market, animal health, overfishing and corporate social responsibility. The consequence of these issues is that protein identification tests have to be available for each relevant animal species or group in order to be able to counter cannibalism effectively.

The objectives for 2014 are:

  • The development of methods for species identification that can be used in a monitoring strategy for the species-to-species ban (Directive (EC) No. 1069/2009). Because of new developments, this will include animal proteins from insects.
  • The development and transfer of knowledge to optimise support for present and future legislation in connection with the intended amendments to Directive (EU) No. 999/2001 (Extended Feed Ban).



Visual screening and DNA identification have been selected as basic procedures on a Dutch and international level. The research is currently aimed at the identification of animal species and groups (pigs, poultry, groups of fish species and insects) for the development and validation of specific tests involving both PCR and visual identification. On a European level, the definitions of animal species and animal group are still being debated. The way the research will be carried out partly depends on the outcome of this.

Project results

  • Primers and PCR methods for identifying the animal groups involved in the species-to-species ban, focusing on pigs and poultry identification.
  • A knowledge system for visually identifying fish-based materials.
  • The implementation of an in situ PCR test for ruminant DNA in bone fragments. The progress made in this respect depends on the results of the EURL.
  • The development of a test for insects in animal feed.