Nutrient Deficiencies or Toxicities One of the Big Four FDA Animal Food Safety Hazards

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Many of us supplement our diets with vitamins and minerals. This may take the form of a tablet, liquids, bars, even the favorite of many…gummies. Although there is the potential for overdosing on a vitamin or mineral supplement, it is a fairly rare occurrence. That said, there are established doses for vitamins and minerals noted on the package label. If you do take supplements, be sure to follow the label directions.

Nutrient deficiencies and toxicities are significant animal food hazards that must be addressed in an animal food safety hazards analysis. Some of the most known nutrient issues are: 1) excessive copper in sheep diets; 2) inadequate thiamine in cat food and 3) too much vitamin D in dog food. These are the nutrient deficiencies or toxicities noted in the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual training curriculum. We have experienced that FDA inspectors will look closely at a feed tag and formulation to make sure that any potentially hazardous microingredients listed in the “recipe” are accounted for in the Hazard Analysis.

There are a variety of ways to reduce the likelihood of a nutrient deficiency or toxicity in your animal food products.

An effective supplier approval program will help to make sure that the vitamins and minerals you purchase are from reputable sources.

Working with experienced feed nutritionists will lead to accurate (and safe) formulations.

Employee training is essential. Whether all of your micro-ingredients are hand added or you utilize an automated system make sure your employees are well-trained in their work tasks.

Accurate weighing of ingredients is critical. Make sure your scales are calibrated according to state/local regulations and the scale manufacturer’s recommendations. An additional safety step is to use certified test weights to test scales. Be sure to document these checks.

Keep a close watch on your inventories of concentrated minerals and vitamins. You may be able to catch an issue with using too much or too little of a micro-ingredient.

Make sure you have identified known and reasonably foreseeable hazards relating to nutrient deficiencies or toxicities and address them in your hazard analysis.  Then, make sure your procedures and practices are fully implemented with documentation as needed.  FDA inspectors and third-party auditors are certain to evaluate your food safety program and how effectively you are controlling the hazard of nutrient deficiency and toxicity.

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