For over 40 years, we at Anitox have been using formaldehyde as a safe and highly effective way to control pathogens in feed. It’s a particularly valuable tool, preventing viruses and bacteria, such as Salmonella and E coli, from entering the food chain. But we’re not the only industry to recognize the value of formaldehyde’s unique physical and chemical properties.
Benefits of Working with Formaldehyde
The medical sector also uses formaldehyde to keep humans healthy. Formaldehyde, for example, has been making vaccines safe for over 60 years. Medicines in pill or tablet form, are often coated with small amount of formaldehyde. It slows the rate they are dissolved by the body, ensuring maximum absorption and efficacy. Formaldehyde is used by the oleochemical industry too. In minute amounts, it protects cosmetics and toiletries by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Protecting feed from pathogens, not just at the point of application, but during packaging, transport and often, distribution on-farm, formaldehyde helps optimize livestock production and makes a significant contribution to the prevention of pathogens entering the food chain.
Termin-8 (which contains formaldehyde) and its control of Salmonella is a great case-in-point. As one of the most common foodborne pathogens, Salmonella is estimated to cause 93 million infections annually worldwide. Each year approximately 155,000 people die from Salmonellosis. Yet there are many preventative measures we can take to reduce the contamination and transmission of Salmonella. Controlling pathogens in feed is one of the most important.
Near the apex of production, feed has the potential to spread pathogens, including Salmonella, across great distances, to many farms, to hundreds of animals and food processors.
Termin-8 protects feed up to 21 days after application. It’s proven to control Salmonella during the processing of feed and offers residual protection against recontamination for bulk feed or while feed is bagged, transported and distributed on farm.
Salmonella control is just one example, of formaldehyde’s contribution to the food chain. In Termin-8, formaldehyde also reduces enteritis in poultry production - improving flock uniformity, maintaining egg weights and quality in layers, decreasing veterinary costs and mortality, all of which improve profitability. There are similar on-farm benefits to using Termin-8 in broiler and swine feed.
Formaldehyde is a powerful and highly effective bactericide, virucide and fungicide; it plays a very important role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of people all around the world. But it’s also a simple, natural substance. Formaldehyde is a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and is present in the environment and in all living organisms.
In humans, formaldehyde is produced in essential biological processes such as intermediary metabolism (energy production) and in the making of amino acids. It’s also a natural component of many foods including fruits, vegetables and fish.
Our bodies easily break down the chemical. Enzymes convert formaldehyde into formate, which in turn, can be broken down into carbon dioxide. In the environment it’s sunlight and microorganisms that are quick to break down formaldehyde preventing its accumulation.
In the small amounts naturally found in the environment, formaldehyde is very safe but it can be a carcinogen if inhaled in excessive amounts. It’s why a host of regulatory bodies around the world set mandatory regulations to ensure the safety of those producing and working with formaldehyde.
In the US, it is The Food and Drug Administration that governs formaldehyde’s use in the production of essential vaccines and biocides for animal feed. The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set standards for workplace exposure to formaldehyde. It limits permissible exposure and sets requirements for employee monitoring. OSHA ensures protective measures – including engineering controls, medical surveillance and communication – are in place, and employees receive relevant training about the hazards.
Working Safely with Formaldehyde
At Anitox, we’ve over 40 years experience with formaldehyde safety. We’ve pioneered the safe use of formaldehyde in closed application systems. Without exception, our systems are supplied together with comprehensive training, air monitoring and engineering support programs. We champion safe use of formaldehyde, and share our vast technical and engineering experience and knowledge with customers, regulators and others engaged in the scientific development of formaldehyde solutions.
Together, regulation and best-practice ensure our customers are able to use products like Termin-8, safely, meeting customer requirements for feed that optimizes livestock production while fulfilling their responsibility to protect the food chain from foodborne pathogens.