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Feed, Fertilizer, & Agricultural Lime Lab

The Feed, Fertilizer, and Ag Lime (FFAL) Laboratory tests feeds, fertilizers, and agricultural lime products for compliance with manufacturer labeling claims and for adulteration or cross-contamination. Pet foods are tested for foodborne pathogens as animal feed safety is closely tied to human food safety. This analytical support assists the NDA Animal and Plant Health Protection Commercial Feed Program in its mission to protect human food and animal health and to prevent consumer fraud.

The FFAL Laboratory tests for protein, calcium, and phosphorus and other macronutrients. The presence of veterinary antibiotics and other drug residues also is examined. This is significant because a large portion of animal feed sold in Nebraska includes these ingredients to promote animal growth and prevent disease. Fertilizer samples are tested primarily for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash along with micronutrients. Agricultural lime is tested for its ability to neutralize soil pH.

Since 2005, NDA has received funding from FDA to test feeds for prohibited materials (causative agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease). The Laboratory testing program performs microscopy and Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) for prohibited materials. In 2015, NDA entered a cooperative agreement with FDA for the implementation of Animal Feed Regulatory Program Standards (AFRPS) to ensure the safety of livestock feed and pet food. The FFAL Laboratory tests grains for mycotoxins (such as aflatoxin, fumonisin, and vomitoxin), which are known carcinogens. Within this grant, testing is also being performed on pet foods for the presence of Salmonella.