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Alabama Meat Goat Safety & Quality Assurance

Alabama Meat Goat Safety and Quality Assurance Dr. Diego M. Gimenez Jr., Extension Specialist, Associate Professor

Assuring the consumer that Alabama goat producers are providing goat products that meet or exceed expectations every time. That they are good to eat, that they are safe and healthy, they taste good and are tender.

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Good Production Practice # 4

Harvested Feeds

Feeds can become contaminated accidentally with chemicals and disease-causing organisms if they are not stored properly. Safe storage of feeds includes protection from chemicals, rodents or other animals, as well as maintenance of quality.

Hay, silage, and grain may be exposed to insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides during the growing season. Such products may have preharvest withdrawal times. It is also important that producers have some knowledge of or awareness about the relative toxicities to livestock of these chemicals; extremely toxic chemicals should be handled and stored properly.

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring chemicals produced by molds. They can be found in grains and forages and even in milk; if present in sufficient concentrations, mycotoxins can cause reduced feed consumption, poor production, and adverse health effects. The environmental conditions that are conducive to the growth of molds and the production of mycotoxins are quite variable. Mycotoxins can be produced in feedstuffs prior to harvesting or during storage. Mycotoxins include vomitoxin, zearalenone, and fumonisins in grain, primarily corn, and salframine, in red clover. Ergot alkaloids can be found in both grain and grass hays.

Suggestions to prevent mycotoxin-related problems include storing feedstuffs in a manner appropriate for that feedstuff and avoiding moldy feed. Mycotoxins can be present in feeds without visible mold growth and, conversely, visibly moldy feed may not always contain detectable mycotoxins.

Goats can be exposed to harmful chemicals through contaminated feed (e.g., accidental contamination or mistakes in mixing medicated feeds). Prevent contamination of mixed feeds through the proper harvesting, mixing of medicated feeds, and storage of feeds.

Rodents can cause the spread of disease by contaminating feeds with droppings and urine. Cats, dogs, raccoons, and other predators can carry diseases and parasites that cause illnesses in goats and, in some cases, even humans. Preventing access of such animals to stored feed is important in disease prevention.



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