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Safe Feed Top Priority With Pennfield's Cutting-Edge
Mold and Toxin Testing
LANCASTER, Pennsylvania, March 7, 2010 — Unseasonably wet Fall conditions and ensuing reports of wide-spread mold in harvest crops have horse owners highly concerned about the possible presence of illness-causing, and sometimes fatal, toxins with every bag of horse feed they tear open. To ensure that mycotoxins do not get into the feed mill, much less their feed, Pennfield Equine Feed Technologies puts the horse first by investing in a highly effective rapid detection chemical test to identify and eliminate tainted ingredients before they enter the plant.
Mycotoxins are poisons produced by growing molds in both living and stored plant material. These toxins are both heat and chemically stable, and will remain potent throughout storage and feeding. "The biggest misconception most people have is that they think when you kill the mold you kill the toxin," explains Dr. Nancy Buchanan, Technical Service Manager for Pennfield Animal Feed Technologies. "But you do not.
Once the toxin is deposited it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to destroy it. The only thing you can do is to avoid it by testing the ingredient."
Three mycotoxins: Aflatoxin; Vomitoxin (also known as DON); and Fumonisin, are so harmful they have are recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with regulatory or advisory limits in horse feeds. Fumonisin is of particular concern to horsemen, since it is responsible for Equine Leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM), a sometimes fatal brain disease.
The weather challenges of this past year have resulted in an exceptionally high incidence of mycotoxin contamination of feed ingredients nationwide. "Because of this year's weather conditions, horse feed manufacturers should pay close attention to the quality of their feed supplies. Testing every lot of grain for fumonisin should be mandatory," warned Dr. Joe Pagan, President and founder of Kentucky Equine
Research, Inc. (KER) in an article written for Feedstuffs last November titled Moldy Corn Very Risky Ingredient for Horses. Pennfield takes a proactive approach to protect their feed from contaminated ingredients using an extensive mycotoxin screening program to help keep mycotoxins out of the horse’s diet. Each load of oats, barley, corn, and wheat middlings delivered to their plant is tested for Aflatoxin, Vomitoxin, and Fumonisin prior to unloading. Multiple samples are obtained from each truck or train car, and blended. Each composite sample is then ground, chemically extracted, and subjected to the appropriate “quick-test” for mycotoxins. “These tests take approximately 30 minutes to complete”, said Dr. Buchanan. “If a composite sample tests positive for one or more of these mycotoxins, that load is rejected and the ingredient is not received into the feed mill. This fast and effective testing helps ensure mycotoxin-contaminated ingredients never enter the feed mill.”
As quick and easy as the rapid detection chemical tests are, they still present a major investment - in cost of the test itself, manpower to implement it, and the logistics and strategies involved with rejecting and replacing loads that don't pass. "Our number one priority is to have a top-notch quality control process. Anything less than 100% vigilance to ensure a safe food supply for our customers is not acceptable,"
stresses Jeff Katelan, National Sales and Marketing Manager for Pennfield’s Country Life Products. "Is it expensive? Yes. Is it time-consuming? Yes. But it's in the best interest of our customers, and that's what our Pennfield Promise is about."
In addition to implementing the rapid tests, Pennfield has taken an additional safety precaution by removing all distillers grains from their feed formulas. Distillers grains are the by-product of ethanol production. After the sugars are removed from the corn, the leftovers, or distillers grains, are highly concentrated. Any toxins that may be present in the distiller grains are also highly concentrated, about three times the normal levels in corn. Because of this increased risk of mycotoxin contamination, Pennfield will not use distillers grains in their horse products.
Pennfield is a widely respected, family-owned feed company headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that is honored to have legendary riders like the O’Connors, Phillip Dutton and Bruce Davidson as loyal customers for decades. Pennfield has been serving the Mid-Atlantic since 1919, and was named in 2008 as the “Official Feed of the U.S. Equestrian Federation”. They are known for using only the finest, most consistent feed ingredients and precise manufacturing techniques that ensure top quality "fixed formula" feeds. In 1996, Pennfield joined forces with Kentucky Equine Research and consequently merged tradition and technology. Pennfield's quality manufacturing and personal service combined with KER's state-of-the-art nutritional expertise gives Pennfield customers advanced equine nutrition and uncontested technical support. For more information, please visit pennfield.com or call 800-995-0333.