Feeding mealworms to chickens
QLast month one of your writers suggested feeding mealworms to chickens which have started feather pecking as a means of distracting them and keeping them busy. Surely this contravenes DEFRA regulations?
AAndy Cawthray says: Yes, this does in fact contravene DEFRA regulations. Dried crustaceans and dried terrestrial invertebrates (eg mealworms) when imported to the UK fall under with regulations of EU 142/2011. Within this document it states the ‘the competent authority may authorise the importation of certain materials for purposes other than feeding to farmed land animals (except for feeding to fur animals) provided there is no unacceptable risk for the transmission of disease communicable to humans or animals’. In other words, the drying process is not regulated to a standard that would be considered acceptable enough for the product to enter the food chain.
You could be excused for thinking this is ‘obviously another example of EU madness’. However, there are two important things to consider. Firstly, poultry kept in the back garden are still farm animals. They may be treated as pets; however, they are still livestock and, if you keep chickens, and those chickens lay eggs, and you eat those eggs, then they are farm animals. Secondly, many of us keep chickens because we get a level of confidence in knowing where some of the food we eat comes from, so why would you feed imported dried mealworms that are produced using an unregulated process where you have no confidence (or come-back) that they are dried using a treatment sufficient to destroy pathogenic organisms such as salmonella?