Feed and Food safety

The safety of products entering the market for human consumption is of utmost importance. Products can be contaminated with different substances or microorganisms. MasterLab is proficient in analyzing anti-nutritional factors, heavy metals, microbiological hazards, mycotoxins and residues.

Anti-nutritional factors

In the animal feed industry, anti-nutritional factors decrease the nutritional value of a feed for an animal. Generally these factors are present in the raw materials used in animal feed production. Soy bean meal can for example exhibit trypsin inhibitor and urease activity if not processed properly. All of these factors eventually lead to a reduced feed efficiency and in worst case animal death. Analysis of these anti-nutritional factors can clarify why the food-intake of an animal is low and give certainty that the raw materials and final products are safe for animal consumption.

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are highly toxic secondary metabolites produced by certain molds. These molds can infect and colonize various agricultural crops during growth and storage. The molds most likely do not survive industrial processing to animal feed however the mycotoxins remain unharmed. Because of this they pose a serious threat to animal and human health and growth. Due to the toxic nature of mycotoxins the concentration of mycotoxins in products need to be monitored.

Heavy metals

Heavy metal contamination can find it source from agriculture on contaminated soil or during chemical synthesis in which catalysts are used which contain heavy metals. For arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury strict limits apply as they are toxic for humans and animals.

Residues

Residues are substances which are banned either because they can pose a risk to the food chain or because they are used as stimulants for race animals. Melamine (which is a compound used for the production of certain plastics) is toxic when ingested and can find its way into the food chain by cross contamination or deliberate addition to boost the product’s nitrogen content. Malachite green was used as a parasiticide in commercial aquaculture; however studies showed that this substance and its metabolite are toxic and carcinogenic. Due to this fish feeds need to be tested. Trace levels of antibiotics could eventually cause bacteria to become multi-resistant. Because the antibiotics that are used for veterinary purposes are usually also used for treating humans this is a potential risk.

Microbiology

Microorganisms are organisms that are very small, like bacteria and yeasts. They are all around us, even on the foods we consume. Certain bacteria (called pathogens) can cause illness when ingested. It is thus important that products are tested for presence, the type and the amount of bacteria.