On Monday 3 September 2018, the television program Radar called attention to the risk of thyroid hormones Thyroxine 4 (T4) in animal feed. Thyroxine can be found in a chemical free form and a bonded form. The sum of both is referred to in literature as total Thyroxine. There seems to be a connection between the total Thyroxine level and some clinical symptoms. Since the broadcast, Nutrilab has been sent many samples by animal feed producers who want to have their feed tested for the presence of this hormone.
But merely analysing the samples is not enough for the sector. Pieter Vos, director of Nutrilab, explains: ‘We are currently in contact with the Veterinary Faculty and the Academic Diagnostic Laboratory, which has tested the five different meat feeds (broadcast Radar). The analyses have been conducted with a Chemiluminometric Immunoassay and show the total Thyroxine. Still, much remains unclear.
At the moment, the laws and regulations concerning the processing of thyroids by animal feed companies are insufficient. No safe margin has been established, and therefore nothing illegal is taking place. It is clear that there is still a lot that needs to be studied. I do expect that we are moving towards the consumer wanting clarity and safety for their pets. It is possible that labels will include a the level of total Thyroxine in the future.’