- Animal Nutrition & Health
- Future of Farming
- Feeding the World
- About Alltech
Many of our products include trace minerals. In order to create an organic mineral supplement we must start out with inorganic minerals, like iron, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium and selenium. These are actually metals that serve critical functions in the body.
Millions of tons of metals are produced annually for a wide variety of applications, primarily in manufacturing: automotive, electronics, aircraft, etc. Few of these applications require a high level of purity. Metals used as minerals in animal feed supplements must be very pure as not only are these products going to affect the health of our livestock, but they are also entering the food chain.
Raw minerals are typically mined or recycled. Mineral ore deposits are often a mixture of several different inorganic forms and may include several other minerals as well. Recycled minerals are often reclaimed from electronics and other manufactured goods. Failure to completely remove insulation and other plastics from the metals can result in dioxins and PCBs mixed with the final product.
The Alltech Quality System demands that we sample and analyze raw materials that are received at all of our production facilities. If samples show unacceptable levels of contaminants like heavy metals, dioxins or PCBs, we reject those raw materials. Guaranteeing the purity of inorganic minerals is particularly difficult because small pockets of contamination can exist within a shipment. Sound sampling techniques improve the chances of finding contamination but it is difficult to be sure that a shipment is completely free of contamination.
During the production process raw minerals are mixed thoroughly with other ingredients to create finished products in small homogeneous batches. We then sample and test the final product for an added layer of safety. This minimizes the chance of a contaminant making it into our food.
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds created by fungi, especially molds. Fungi are abundant throughout the world and are important in food webs, nutrient cycles and as decomposers. However, they can also create a wide variety of toxic compounds, often as a defensive reaction to stress.
It is difficult to determine whether feed ingredients are free of mycotoxin contamination. Hundreds of mycotoxins have been identified and it is not possible to test every batch of feed for every mycotoxin. Furthermore, mycotoxins can be present without any visible signs of mold.
Mycotoxins are more likely to be produced when plants are stressed by extreme temperature or moisture conditions, poor soil fertility or insect damage. Poor storage conditions or late harvesting can also increase mycotoxin levels. Animals can ingest mycotoxins in the pasture as well as the feed by consuming contaminated forage.
Since it is so difficult to protect animals from mycotoxins, many farmers use feed supplements designed to negate the effects of mycotoxins in the digestive tract to prevent them from being absorbed by the body.