Feed hygiene for farmers and growers

05 August 2022


The hygiene of feed production, handling, storage and record keeping are critical to the safety and traceability of feeding stuffs

Note: although the United Kingdom has left the European Union (EU), certain pieces of legislation (formally known as 'retained EU law') will still apply until such time as they are replaced by new UK legislation; this means that you will still see references to EU regulations in our guidance.

This guidance is for England

Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene is aimed at ensuring that controls throughout the feed chain are strengthened. In particular, it contains: 

  • controls and provisions in relation to feed businesses' operational standards
  • provisions to help ensure that feed is produced, transported and stored in hygienic conditions, and records are kept allowing full traceability of feed

The Regulation requires feed businesses to be approved by or registered with their local authority.

Who is covered?

With few exceptions the legislation applies to all feed businesses, which are defined in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety as "any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any operation of production, manufacture, processing, storage, transport or distribution of feed including any producer producing, processing or storing feed for feeding to animals on his own holding".

Examples of feed businesses include:

  • feed manufacturers
  • feed importers
  • sellers of feed
  • feed transporters
  • storers of feed
  • food companies selling co-products or surplus food for use in feed
  • pet food manufacturers
  • livestock farms, fish farms or arable farms growing and using or selling crops for feed use

Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 requires feed businesses to be approved or registered with their local authority, as appropriate, and they must not operate without such registration / approval. See the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website for how to apply for approval or registration and see below for exemptions.


There are some farm-related activities that fall outside of the scope of the legislation:

  • private domestic production of feed for food-producing animals kept for private domestic consumption and for animals not kept for food production
  • feeding of food-producing animals kept for private domestic consumption
  • feeding of animals not kept for food production
  • direct supply of small quantities of primary production of feed* at local level by a producer to local farms for use on those farms
  • direct supply, by the producer, of small quantities of primary production of feed* to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer
  • pet food retail

[*A working definition of the term 'small quantities of primary production of feed' is less than 20 tonnes per annum.]


The legislation contains various conditions that feed businesses have to comply with, as appropriate. The annexes to Regulation (EC) No 183/2005 (please see the link in 'Key legislation' below) set out various standards that feed businesses must comply with, as appropriate:

  • Annex I. This covers provisions applicable to businesses involved in primary production of feed*. It includes general hygiene and record-keeping requirements
  • Annex II. This applies to businesses operating other than at the level of primary production - for example, mixing feeds on-farm with additives, using premixtures or manufacturing a compound feed to place on the market. It contains standards in relation to facilities and equipment, personnel, quality control, storage and transport, and record-keeping
  • Annex III. This covers requirements on feeding food-producing animals, which livestock farmers have to comply with

[*'Primary production of feed' is defined in Regulation (EC) 183/2005 as "the production of agricultural products, including in particular growing, harvesting, milking, rearing of animals (prior to their slaughter) or fishing resulting exclusively in products which do not undergo any other operation following their harvest, collection or capture, apart from simple physical treatment".]

Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)

The legislation requires feed businesses that fall within the scope of Annex II to put in place and operate procedures based on the principles of HACCP. HACCP is a system of safety management based on the prevention of feed and food safety problems. It provides a documented, structured approach to ensuring food safety and places a requirement on businesses to identify, manage and control hazards inherent in the handling and production process.

Feed businesses that are only involved in primary production or the feeding of livestock will not be required to apply HACCP (excluding those that buy in and use feed additives or premixtures).

Definitions of feed additives and premixtures

'Feed additives' as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition "means substances, micro-organisms or preparations, other than feed material and premixtures, which are intentionally added to feed or water in order to perform, in particular, one or more" of the following functions:

  • "favourably affect the characteristics of feed
  • favourably affect the characteristics of animal products
  • favourably affect the colour of ornamental fish and birds
  • satisfy the nutritional needs of animals
  • favourably affect the environmental consequences of animal production
  • favourably affect animal production, performance or welfare, particularly by affecting the gastro-intestinal flora or digestibility of feeding stuffs
  • have a coccidiostatic or histomonostatic effect"

Only approved additives may be used in animal feed. Some additives have a limited level of permitted use and are only available for certain species of animals.

For a list of approved additives please refer to the register of regulated food and feed products for Great Britain on the FSA website.

More information on additives can be found on the FSA website.

'Premixtures' means mixtures of approved feed additives or mixtures of one or more approved feed additives with feed materials or water used as carriers; premixtures are not intended for direct feeding to animals.

Further requirements

More information on record keeping and HACCP requirements is available on the FSA website.

Please note this guidance does not cover arrangements for the approval of premises, manufacturing, selling or using coccidiostats, histomonostats and growth promoters or the incorporation, distribution and use of veterinary medicines in premixtures and feeding stuffs, all of which are covered by separate legislation enforced by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Trading standards

For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.

In this update

No major changes.

Last reviewed / updated: August 2022

Key legislation

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.

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