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Dairy & Ruminant

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Animal Health

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Livestock Production
Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:36:36 PM
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The role of technology in the health and hygiene of animal feed production


Over the last several years, the frequency of foodborne illness caused by infectious pathogens has raised concerns about the health and safety of feeding practices within the livestock industry as well as animal feed production.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, "Animal feed or forage may be the source of a number of infections for farm animals that can lead to human illness. These include Salmonella enterica, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trichinella spiralis." Outbreaks of this nature have triggered the need to assess the safety and quality procedures related to the production of animal feed, forage, and associated feeding systems.

As a result; feed hygiene regulations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's, Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements have been created to provide controls on the safety and traceability of animal feed throughout the entire animal feed chain. These controls are designed to ensure the cleanliness of equipment used in the mixing, storing, and transportation of feed and to prevent contamination and spoilage of animal feed ingredients.

Through the innovative use of technology, it is possible for feed producers of poultry, swine, and ruminant feed mixes to become proactive in the prevention of foodborne illness. By utilizing equipment and automation with integrated sanitation controls, contamination of animal feed is minimized, and the health and wellness of the worlds feed production animals is maximized, thereby reducing the associated food safety and quality risks for humans.

Taking such proactive measures against contamination and food-borne illness is more possible today than ever before, especially in the feed production line. ANDRITZ Feed and Biofuel Technologies is a prime example of a manufacturer who has begun the integration of feed safety features and is hyper-focused on improving health and hygiene standards throughout their entire animal feed production line. 

At each stage of the processing line, there are opportunities to prevent the introduction of contaminants from air, soil and water but also from feed and grain ingredients and the inclusion of micro-ingredients such as medications, vitamins, and supplements.

Some of our key focus areas include the use of prime quality dosing and weighing systems for the accurate and precise inclusion of micro-ingredients and the use of steel materials intended for the purpose of feed production. ANDRITZ machinery applications utilize self-lubricating food-grade lubricants where ever applicable and designs lines and plants operate using gravity for complete discharge to eliminate spills or carry-over.


Feed producers are required to keep extensive records relating to any treatments to animals, including veterinary products. The utilization of a premix and micro-ingredients weighing unit provides for carefully analyzed premixes and other micro-ingredients in formulated mixtures. ANDRITZ FEED and BIOFUEL micro-ingredient weighing technologies enable feed producers to improved traceability by efficiently monitoring valuable micro-ingredients.

Similarly, micro-fluid equipment can perform the addition of liquid ingredients. The ANDRITZ MFS micro-fluid system provides the source for accurate application of liquid enzymes, vitamins, aromatics, and pigments, for stand-alone use or in combination with oil/fat coating.


The mixing stage is known as a critical focal point for the control of contaminants. The inclusion of a mixer that follows a lean, "first-in-first-out" process flow, which dictates the order of products that are introduced and then funnels them into a single batch mixing process, is unmatched for feed hygiene.

ANDRITZ mixers are designed for high-speed, high-capacity batch mixing while maintaining or exceeding essential health and safety standards. The unique paddle design of the OptiMix series delivers on this promise by applying the latest technology in engineering, materials, and surface finishes for balance accuracy and strength, as well as hygiene.

The ANDRITZ OptiMix series of batch paddle mixers are designed for mixing with high liquid inclusions. It stands apart from other mixers because the dual rotation system uses a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) to reverse paddle direction throughout mixing. This reversing action eliminates material buildup on the mixing arms and paddles and creates a uniform batch thus reducing the occurrence of cross-contamination, drug residue build up, and toxicity.

Testing of mixing speeds and particle distribution is conducted at the ANDRITZ feed academy, utilizing Microtracer-F tracer technology. Samples are collected from within the mixing chamber as well as at the point of discharge for proven results. Every OptiMix is tested and issued a generic mixing certificate and more specific certifications from third-party certifiers are available upon request.

Many other features have also been incorporated with the goal of increasing health and hygiene such as the inflatable air seals which make the bottom damper air-tight, sealing systems prevent leakage and carry over, and the improved outlet damper further reduces cross – contamination. It is possible to purchase all mixers in the OptiMix series in stainless steel, the optimal choice for clean production as well as extending the overall lifetime of the product.

Conditioning and Pelleting

ANDRITZ conditioning systems utilize super-heated steam conditioning which eliminates common salmonella strains and similar bacteria, and all machine contact parts are manufactured in stainless steel for the clean introduction of batch ingredients into the pellet mill.

All ANDRITZ Pellet mills are designed with hygienic design in mind. Smooth, insulated stainless steel surfaces make the mills easy to clean. The unique one-piece adjustable feed plough ensures uniform feed distribution across the entire die area, Automatic Roll Adjustment (ARJ) prevents blockages, and the die-area-to-kilowatt-hour has been adjusted to prevent buildup and blockages that could contribute to contamination.

Supplemental equipment such as hot-start conditioners and long-term retention vessels can be added for the production of feed for bird parent stock or layers. Both combine the two major factors for microbial hygiene: time and temperature. The hot-start conditioner provides the correctly heated meal at the beginning of the process, and the retention vessel ensures correct holding time with strict compliance to the "first-in-first-out" principle.

ANDRITZ gear driven pellet mills, such as those in the FeedMax series, can be constructed with double insulated pellet doors, eliminating the build-up of condensation inside the mill and thus reducing the risk of contamination from moisture.


Regulations on animal feed production routinely require extensive record keeping in regards to the analysis of feed products. ANDRITZ Feed & Biofuel digital solutions allow the entire process – from intake of ingredients to finished product - to be followed, on-screen, along with the continuous data logging system, to support process and product traceability. ANDRITZ automation systems result in the highest possible feed quality given the fact that the producer has control over the process facilitating documented traceability.

ANDRITZ automation systems are available as basic control systems or fully automatic systems for control of each process machine or even complete process lines with machine specific sensory and measurement equipment. This offers advantages such as exact dosing, exact temperature control, product retention control, and reduced waste in all livestock feed production.

Together with their feed production partners, ANDRITZ Feed and Biofuel Technologies is paving the way to a future where foodborne illness, introduced at the feed production stage, is not only preventable but a rare occurrence.  

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Article made possible through the contribution of ANDRITZ Feed and Biofuel Technologies

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