3 July 1998

Mill-and-mixers all mixed up by feedstuffs list

By Simon Wragg

CONFUSION abounds over new legislation applying to producers who mill and mix on farm.

Under the new EU directive, these producers must register with local trading standards departments by August 31 or risk breaking the new law which as yet has no defined boundaries or penalties.

According to MAFF officials, the EU Council Directive 95/69/EC introduced on May 6 is designed to compile a register of producers who manufacture, process or simply mix feedstuffs on-farm into bought-in or home-grown feed or forage. Registration is free of charge.

Described by Stuart Thomson, NFU feedstuffs adviser, as a horrible piece of legislation because it lacks definition, it requires producers to state what mill-and-mix activities on each holding and declare adherence to applicable conditions.

"The directive doesnt stipulate what the required conditions are as yet, but it is likely that they could revolve around a code of practice for mill-and-mixers to be introduced in future," says Mr Thomson.

The directive does give broad outlines required for mixing equipment, facilities, storage, personnel and record keeping. The NFU hopes to be consulted by MAFF as to what conditions could be imposed under such a code, but doesnt expect them to be too arduous, says Mr Thomson.

Trading standards know of the directive at national level, but it has yet to reach many local authorities who will be responsible for policing the system. According to Colin Morgan, SAC nutritionist based in Edinburgh, authorities are as much in the dark over the legislation as producers.

However, trading standards officials will be required carry out on-farm inspections, although this is unlikely to happen much before 2001, says Mr Thomson.

MAFF says the legislation will not affect producers who already seek annual approval for the mixing of ingredients such as antibiotics and growth promoters from The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

Mobile mill-and-mix operators will also need to register, however, there will be no need for individual producers using their services to do so. Likewise, producers using individual mineral licks and salt blocks need not register, says MAFF.

However, Mr Thomson believes most producers will need to register, and urges them to do so.

Written notification must be sent to your local trading standards office by Aug 31 detailing:

&#8226 Producers name.

&#8226 Address of holding.

&#8226 Details of mixing procedures.

&#8226 Whether these activities were happening on Apr 1, 1998.

&#8226 Whether these activities meet applicable conditions to be established under the directive.

&#8226 The signature of the person making the declaration.

Free copies of the directive can be obtained from the Stationary Office, PO Box 276, London. SW8 5DT.

Box please. Title: Feedstuffs directive

* Covers all mill and mixers

* Register by August 31

* On-farm checks expected 2001

FEEDSTUFFS DIRECTIVE

&#8226 Covers all mill and mixers.

&#8226 Register by Aug 31.

&#8226 On-farm checks in 2001.