A Primer on Animal Feed

By Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed
Posted: 9 Jamad-ul-Awwal 1424, 27 June 2004

If you eat meat, you must also be concerned about what the animal was feeding on. Today, based mostly on economic considerations, animals are fed all sorts of things that the average consumer would never imagine. This includes other animals, road-kills, blood, and other unsavory substances. Then there are hormones and drugs used to grow the animal with potential adverse effects on the health and long term well being of the consumers. Our concern for eating halal must also extend to a concern for eating healthy food. This can only be achieved through raising consumer awareness on this subject.

Animal feed in the USA is regulated by FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). A feed ingredient is a component part or constituent or any combination/mixture added to and comprising of the feed. Feed ingredients might include grains, milling byproducts, added vitamins, minerals, fats/oils, and other nutritional and energy sources. Animal feeds provide a practical outlet for plant and animal byproducts not suitable for human consumption.

We are putting a lot of emphasis on animal feed because of its halal status and USDA identified the first Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) case in a Washington state dairy cow in December 2003.

BSE is commonly known as the mad cow disease. Although the main cause of this disease is not known but it is due to the infectious form of protein, prions found in BSE infected cows. It is a fatal disease affecting the nervous system of adult cows. This disease could be transferred to other cows if the animal feed is made from the infected part of the animals. Since 1997, FDA has banned the use of animal brain and spinal cord material in feed given to cattle, sheep and goats. FDA is considering extending this ban to chicken feed and is outlawing the use of cattle blood in livestock feed as well as use of cow brain and other parts in dietary supplements. It is now considering new restrictions on downer cattle or mechanically separated beef in canned soups and frozen pizza.

Among FDA's actions are new rules for cattle feed that

Cattle and Sheep Feed composition:

The feed for cattle and sheep varies in composition. Fresh feeds are the feeds that are grazed or fed as fresh cut.

A typical animal feed is made of the following:

Dry matter
Crude Protein
Crude, Acid Detergent and Neutral Detergent Fibers

Cattle Feed:

Typically feeds for cattle and sheep are obtained from the following materials:

Alfalfa, ammonium sulfate, barley, been, blood meal, beet, bone meal, brewer grain both wet and dry, brewer yeast dried (byproduct of beer making), broom grass, carrot, cattle manure dried, clover, coffee dried, corn, defluorinated phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, distiller grains, fat from poultry, garbage municipal cooked, grains, grape, hominy feed, hop leaves, hops spent, limestone ground, meat meal, minerals, molasses, oats, peanuts, potato, poultry litter dried, poultry manure dried, rape meal, rye, safflower, sorghum, soybean, sunflower meal, timothy hay, triticale, urea 46%N, different wheat products and different types of hays.

Poultry Feed:

Poultry feeds are designed to contain all protein, Energy, Vitamins and other nutrients. Poultry feed is also available with several type of medications to prevent diseases. A typical poultry feed consists of following ingredients:

Ground Yellow Corn
Wheat middling
Soy (44% CP)
Corn Gluten Meal
Meat & Bone (50% CP)
Alfalfa meal (dehy)

There are a lot of different labels applied to beef these days, so let's go through what they mean under rules set by the US Department of Agriculture.

Halal animal Feed:

The first step in providing halal animal feed is to ensure that the cattle, goats, sheep and poultry were not treated with growth hormones. The animals and poultry must have been fed only vegetarian feed, organic feed and Amish feed.

Although certified organic feeds consist of no animal derived ingredients but some organic feeds are made of fish meal and crab meal.

The problem with Amish feed is there is no regulation and no supervision of the Amish feeds but the main thing is they are made with vegetable based ingredients.

Muslims in the business of Zabiha meat and the halal certification organization should pay more attention to animal feeds