Associated British Nutrition
Associated British Nutrition (ABN) is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods plc (ABF). It is the third largest animal feed manufacturer in the UK and one of the biggest users of genetically modified (GM) crops in the country. The company uses unsegregated (mixed GM and non-GM) soya and maize in many of its animal feed products. As well as manufacturing animal feed, ABN are involved in the management of various livestock schemes and the merchandising of agricultural products.
- Address: ABN House, Oundle Road, Woodston, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9QS
- Tel 01733 555552
Member of the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association's National Executive Committee and is Chairman of its Feed Executive Committee.She is also a member of the new Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs which was set up by MAFF to examine the safety and use of animal feed.
Chair of the UKASTA scientific committee responsible for, among other things, lobbying government on environmental issues which effect its members.
- Turnover £256.2m. Pre-Tax Profit £8.2m. (Year to September 1997)
- Number of Employees 896 (Sept 1997)
By far the largest of ABN's animal feeds businesses.
Specialises in Molassed Sugar Beet Feed and feed made from the by-products of distillers (spirits manufacturers).
A large feed manufacturer in Northern Ireland.
This company analyses the feed of ABN's feed businesses. They receive end products and raw materials which they analyse for nutritional content and 'undesirables' such as pesticide residue.
- Farming Supplies (Maldon)
The company only produces feed for sheep and cattle. It doesn't use any antibiotics or growth promoters in its products. The company is in the process of converting to organic.
Involved in alternative feeding systems, selling a range of feeds.
Manufacturer of horse, pet and speciality feeds.
- ABN Huinong Feed Company This is the fifth largest animal feed
manufacturer in China.
ABN produces most of its animal feed through a subsidiary of the company called J. Bibby Agriculture.
J. Bibby has several livestock research projects around the country including:
- Rowett Research Institute
- Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
- Newcastle University
- ADAS Feed Evaluation Unit
- ADAS Dairy Research Centre
- ABN Pig and Poultry Research Unit
ABN is a member of the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association (UKASTA). Its representative there is Dr Helen Raine, ABN Technical Director.
ABN’s position on GM
ABN does not have a position statement on the use of GM ingredients. However, according to Dr Michael Marsden, the majority of ABN's products do contain GM material. He says that there isn't currently sufficient demand for non-GM animal feed to warrant ABN producing more than niche quantities. This is done on an ad hoc basis when a customer demands it, though even then ABN will only supply it if it is economically viable. Like many others in the industry, he believes that it would be relatively easy to produce dairy and sheep feed without GM crop ingredients because soya and maize can be excluded. However, this still leaves the issue of GM micro ingredients unresolved, .
Dr Marsden claims that it would be difficult to produce pig and poultry feeds without using soya and as identity preserved (segregated non-GM) is currently much more expensive than unsegregated soya. Since the end product would be more expensive, this would be unpopular with farmers, he says. He goes on to state that it is also currently difficult to obtain large quantities of IP soya, though this may become easier in the future.
Companies in the US have recently announced that they are going to segregate maize because some varieties grown in the US have not been approved in Europe  and farmers are being urged to consider growing non-GM varieties by the American Corn Growers Association . With pressure from Europe, soya growers may follow suit.
Dr Marsden also stressed that there is a risk of cross-contamination throughout the supply chain and that there is a need for a legally defined threshold (acceptable level of GM contamination).
J. Bibby and BSE
J. Bibby gave evidence to the BSE inquiry. The company admitted that it produced cattle feed containing meat and bone meal from other cattle. This is thought to be the mechanism by which BSE was transmitted through herds - and thence to humans. Dr Helen Raine and Dr Michael Marsden gave evidence on the company’s behalf. and