Feed manufacturers to retool recipes under vitamin shortage

A file photo of BASF’s citral manufacturing plant at Ludwigshafen, Germany. (Photo courtesy BASF SE)

Feed manufacturers up against a global shortage of vitamins A and E will be able to temporarily reformulate their products for sale in Canada without a complete rewrite of their product labels.

The shortage stems from an Oct. 31 fire during the startup of an aroma chemicals plant operated by global chemical firm BASF in its corporate hometown of Ludwigshafen, Germany.

The fire forced BASF to shut down the plant, which makes citral and isoprenol ingredients, and declare force majeure — that is, a legal suspension of a contractual obligation due to a situation beyond a party’s control — on delivery of those products.

BASF is the world’s biggest manufacturer of citral, making about 40,000 tonnes a year. Apart from its aromatic uses, citral is a “starting material” for processing vitamin A and E and carotenoid feed ingredients.

The company said Nov. 10 its vitamin A and E plants, which were also shut down around that time for scheduled routine maintenance, now can’t be restarted until the company’s supplies of citral and “corresponding intermediates” become available.

BASF thus announced it would have to extend its force majeure to its deliveries of vitamin A and E and several carotenoid ingredients.

Feed manufacturers, as a result, have had to revise their feed formulations with reduced levels of vitamins A and E, in order to continue to provide feed to livestock, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a statement Thursday.

Temporary reformulations of feeds to reduce levels of vitamins A and E is “not expected to cause any undue safety or welfare risks to livestock,” CFIA said.

However, to show that a given domestic or imported feed product is effective for its intended purpose, CFIA requires the product label to carry guarantees of certain nutrient levels.

Normally, changing a product’s label guarantee for vitamins A and E would require an administrative amendment, but CFIA announced an interim measure Thursday given the “temporary nature of the situation.”

Processors who have to reformulate feeds, with the aim of conserving inventories of vitamins A and E, may instead provide CFIA with a notification of reformulation, and attest that their labelling accurately reflects nutrient guarantees.

The revised guarantees will be allowed until supplies of vitamins A and E have stabilized, after which processors’ guarantees for these vitamins will return to the levels as approved in their registrations, CFIA said.

The cleanup, follow-up inspection, repair and restart for BASF’s citral plant — and the restart for affected downstream plants — are expected to take “several weeks,” the company said Nov. 10.

BASF also said at the time it would be “implementing measures to limit the consequences of the situation.” — AGCanada.com Network

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