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EU member states decide to ban formaldehyde in poultry feed

European Union countries have this week backed a proposal by the European Commission to deny authorisation of formaldehyde as a feed additive, bringing to the end a 2 year saga.

The EU vote during the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF) meeting backed the Commission’s decision not to allow formaldehyde to be used as a preservative and hygiene condition enhancer.

26 countries voted in favour of ban

While the decision was not a unanimous one, the Commission said 26 countries voted in favour of the proposal to deny, with one country abstaining and another voting against the Commission.

The decision, which will be published in the Official Journal in due course, brings to an end a complex tale of U-turns and an indecision. The Commission originally recommended reauthorisation of the chemical but member states were unable to come to an agreement for 2 years.

Last year, Poland and Spain stopped putting formaldehyde in poultry feed, amid concerns over its carcinogenic potential and safety for workers. Photo: Jan Willem van Vliet
Last year, Poland and Spain stopped putting formaldehyde in poultry feed, amid concerns over its carcinogenic potential and safety for workers. Photo: Jan Willem van Vliet

Fed up by the inaction, the Commission in September took matters into its own hands, and tabled a proposal saying the reauthorisation of formaldehyde should be denied.

Spain and Poland already stopped formaldehyde use in poultry feed

Last year, Poland and Spain stopped putting the substance in poultry feed, amid concerns over its carcinogenic potential and safety for workers even though the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has said the compound does not cause cancer and could be authorised as a feed additive as long as worker protection measures were taken.

Commission urged to approve formaldehyde for salmonella control

The decision comes just a week after the European Centre of Disease Control said in a report that after years of decline, salmonella cases attributed to poultry, were on the rise. The American Feed Industry Association urged the Commission in its response to the consultation “to provide authorisation of formaldehyde for salmonella control in swine and poultry feed.”

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