Thailand’s roadmap of food safety, which was approved in 2004, aims to promote the Kingdom as the “kitchen of the world.” Animal feed, i.e., food given to farm animals, plays a major role in the food safety regime—it is part of the stages of food production, dubbed “farm-to-table,” and is an integral component in the overarching food chain. Animal feed must be as safe as meat for human consumption, and therefore registration, inspection, and control of animal feed are vigorously regulated by the regulatory authorities.
The Department of Livestock Development (DLD), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC), is the main authority responsible for putting in place a system for the management and control of animal feed. With the tremendous growth in the animal feed business, a new government unit, the Division of Animal Feed and Veterinary Products Control, was established within the DLD on September 26, 2013. This unit is responsible for the control of animal feed and hazardous substances for use in livestock production, as stipulated in the Animal Feed Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Substance Act, respectively.
Due to the rapid evolution of technology, as well as innovation in animal feed and husbandry, animal feed businesses in Thailand have expanded significantly. Much like the changes in food safety and technology, the law controlling animal feed in Thailand has evolved over time. Animal feed was previously regulated under the Animal Feed Quality Control Act B.E. 2506 (1963 Act). The 1963 Act was replaced with the Animal Feed Quality Control Act B.E. 2525 (1983 Act). Then, in 1999, there was an amendment of the Act. And very recently, the Animal Feed Quality Control Act B.E. 2558 (2015 Act) was announced in the Royal Gazette, which came into force on March 5, 2015.
Under the 2015 Act, “specific control animal feed” must be registered prior to domestically manufacturing or importing animal feed into the Kingdom of Thailand. This term was not defined under the previous Act. The term is very broad in meaning, as it covers feed that has an impact on socioeconomic problems, feed that will probably harm animals, or feed that will have an effect on consumers of meat.
In the future, the MoAC minister will announce the type, quality standard, conditions, and requirements for registration of such animal feed. The types of animal feed that currently require registration include premix, milk products for animals, feed supplements, feed mixed with veterinary drugs, and more.
Veterinary drugs, on the other hand, are regulated by the Thai Food and Drug Administration. Animal drugs must be registered, following the Drug Act B.E. 2510 (1967), as amended. While a drug product license can be transferred from one juristic person to another, an animal feed registration license cannot be transferred. In addition, if the registered animal feed has not been manufactured or imported for two years, the MoAC minister has the power to revoke the registration license of such animal feed. These are the important precautions that animal feed companies should keep in mind.
The 2015 Act allows officers to inspect premises for the importation or manufacturing of animal feed during the daytime, in cases where unlawful action is suspected. Officers may sample the animal feed in a sufficient quantity for further analysis and testing. Under the 2015 Act, officers are also empowered to issue a requisition letter to call persons to provide testimony or submit documents for further consideration. In addition, the 2015 Act also includes additional provisions regarding the issuance of quality assurance certificates by the DLD and the termination of business.
The 2015 Act is a good sign that the responsible authorities are taking measures to preserve the wellbeing of animals and ensure food safety. Those in the animal feed business should closely monitor animal-feed-related ministerial regulations, which will likely be issued in the near future. It is expected that the 2015 Act will improve the registration and surveillance of animal feed, and ultimately, will ensure greater safety for meat consumers.