Biosecurity and Horse Feed
Source: Purina Canada
Most horse owners understand the importance of feeding a product designed specifically for horses, which does not contain medications designed for other species. But what most people fail to realize is that not all manufacturing processes are created equal, and not all suppliers take the same measures to ensure feed safety.
Accidental poisoning from the different antibiotics that are sometimes used in feed made for other farm animals, such as monensin sodium and lasalocid sodium, can occur if horses ingest feeds contaminated with these ingredients. Ingestion of even small amounts of these drugs toxic to equine can be fatal to a horse in the space of 12 hours.
If you use a feed formulated specifically for horses and so believe it to be safe from these drugs, think again! Ask yourself whether your feed manufacturer makes the horse feed immediately after making the cattle, poultry, or swine products. If the cleaning conditions are not perfectly executed before the horse feed is mixed, the equipment can contain residual drug amounts, and thus contaminate the feed. Most feed mills are aware of the risks associated with antibiotic drugs, but some are more vigilant than others. The key is knowing how to tell them apart. Don’t hesitate to ask your supplier what biosecurity measures they take to guarantee the quality and safety of their products.
Feed safety is the most important factor in our Purina feed quality program for horses, and Cargill spares no efforts to meet or exceed the very high quality expectations our consumers have for the Purina feeds they select for their horses.
We are proud to manufacture our bagged Purina horse feeds exclusively at our specialty feed facility located in Strathroy, Ontario. At this specialty plant, we are using the most advanced equipment and systems to ensure superior animal health and feed safety. We can guarantee that all bagged Purina horse feed in Canada is made in a facility that does not use or store medicating feed ingredients.
Strathroy is a unique livestock feed plant where no medicated feed additives are allowed to enter. This eliminates the risk of harmful drug contamination of your horse feed. At the Strathroy feed plant, we do not produce feed containing ractopamine or any other medicated feed additives. Unlike some of our competitors, our premix suppliers also manufacture medication-free.
In order to maintain these state-of-the-art food safety standards for our horse feeds, our Strathroy plant is:
- Annually inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; and,
- HACCP-certified by annual third party audits. The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points is a feed safety control system that identifies where potential contamination can occur and strictly manages and monitors these points as a way of ensuring that the safest product possible is being produced.
Transportation Safety Protocol
Cross-contamination can occur during the bulk transport of feed ingredients. In order to prevent this, we insist on truck pre-load inspections and we have a feed safety protocol to be followed for the transport of bulk feed ingredients. If a truck has carried anything that is not on our acceptable list of previous loads, we do not use that truck. For the same reason, our final horse products are only allowed to be shipped in bags. To minimize feed safety hazards, no finished horse feeds are shipped in bulk.
Mycotoxins are toxins produced by molds and fungi that can develop in feed ingredients. At elevated concentrations they may be detrimental to your animal’s health. Ingredients at risk are tested for mycotoxins at plant arrival and the load must be approved before the truck can unload.
Reduced Risk of Cross-Contamination
Our Strathroy plant is a compact plant with few conveying systems and segregated processes. We also use separate bagging lines for horse feed and pet food also manufactured at this facility. These aspects further reduce the risk for cross-contamination of finished feeds.
We have set up several processes and initiatives to insure the quality of Purina feed, such as barcoded control and daily reconciliation of critical micro ingredients, finished product analysis, and more.
As the Canadian national equine nutrition leader, Cargill and its brand Purina consider feed safety and horse health to be the most important factors in our feed quality program. Horse owners and trainers can be assured that all bagged Purina horse feed in Canada is manufactured in our plant that does not use or store any medicating feed ingredients, and that they can rely on us for the safety, good health, and performance of their equine athletes.
This information was contributed by Purina Canada.