Frequently Asked Questions on Plasma

Below you will find the answers to many questions that are asked with respect to plasma and how it is used.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for here, please contact EAPA send your question. We will do our best to provide you with an answer.

1. What is plasma? How is plasma used? What is it used for?

Plasma is a safe, high-quality blood product that is used in feeds for commercial livestock and companion animals. Plasma products help supply proper nutrition to sick animals and helps healthy animals thrive, and enhances growth rate and feed intake during the post-weaning phase. 
Plasma is sustainable and used in many different industries including feed, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

2. How long has plasma been used in animal feed?

Spray-dried porcine (pig) plasma is a relatively new feed ingredient: this product was first identified as an effective protein source for early-weaned pigs by researchers at Iowa State University in 1990.

3. Why is plasma being fed to piglets? Isn’t pigs’ mother’s milk the best source for piglets?

When piglets are taken away from the sow (weaning) it is one of the most critical periods in a pig’s life. In modern farming practices, piglets have to adapt quickly to a new environment. In many cases these changes lead to poor growth performances and occurrence of digestive disorders. 
Plasma, rich in essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals, is commonly used in post-weaning piglet diets in the majority of the world due to the benefits it introduces to the health of the animal and it helps the young pig at the end of the milk supplied by the mother. The inclusion of plasma in post-weaning diets improves feed efficiency, average daily gain and gain to feed compared to milk protein and soy protein. This has a significant impact in reducing piglet mortality, which is one of the serious challenges faced by pig farmers. 
For more information contact us: info@eapa.eu

4. Is Plasma safe?

Plasma has an over-30 year long history of safety and animal proteins products are prepared in strictly controlled and hygienic processes that meet food and feed grade specifications to ensure they are pure and safe. 
The highest industry standards applied in all our facilities allow us to provide the highest-quality product to the feed and farm community. 
Our safety standards are of the highest levels, comparable to that of the dairy industry, and allows us to provide the highest-quality product to the feed and farm community. 
For more information contact us: info@eapa.eu

5. Describe the safety, efficacy profile for commercial spray-dried plasma?

EAPA Members are ISO 9001 and/or GMP certified and manufacturing standards ensure that plasma and haemoglobin are collected in a hygienic manner, in a closed system. Blood is collected only from healthy animals fit for slaughter for human consumption in inspected slaughter houses. During collection blood is immediately pumped through a closed system to a separate processing area. 
Plasma processing plants in Europe are either food or feed approved and are periodically inspected by an official veterinarian from the Public Health Department and an EU official veterinarian.

  • The first step in processing is separation by centrifugation into cells and plasma.
  • The plasma fraction is subjected to filtration and evaporation.
  • Plasma is sprayed into a sterile chamber at 200 ºC or above to produce dried plasma.
  • The dried powder is taken out and packed when the temperature comes down to around 80–90ºC, still within sterile conditions.
6. How do blood processing plants meet the quality demands?

In order to guarantee safe products, the plants that process the various blood products meet many quality standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and HACCP. Their safe, traceable and definitive final products are marketed to pharmaceutical, food, pet food and animal feed producers in and out of Europe.

7. How does plasma support farmers in reducing antibiotics use in farm animals?

Plasma is an excellent alternative to the antibiotics/antimicrobials added to feed in the post-weaning phase for piglets and using plasma has been shown to better improve pig health compared to milk, soy and a variety of other proteins, including fish meal. 
Growing anti-microbial resistance in farm animals is huge concern for the European Union, which launched an EU strategy to combat it, which includes the phasing out of antibiotics for non-medical use in animals. 
Plasma can effectively reduce the use of antibiotics: the use of plasma to help piglets’ growth allows farmers to reduce the use of antibiotics in feed, helping farmers to meet EU demands to reduce antibiotic use in farm animals.

8. Does the use of hemoglobin and plasma powder or blood meal in feed affect the animal’s health?

The use of animal proteins such as hemoglobin and plasma power or blood meal actually improves animals’ health. A protein-rich feed reduces the impact from various kinds of diseases. The nutritional value contributes to optimal animal growth and avoids health problems related to nutritional deficiencies.

9. Have prepared blood products, such as plasma, ever been the source of diseases?

No. During more than 20 years of using spray dried blood products as feed ingredients there has never been a case where spray dried plasma has been the vector in spreading a disease.

10. Plasma and other products derived from blood were reapproved in the European Union in 2005. Why were they taken off the market?

Plasma and other products derived from blood were the first products to be re-allowed on the European market after the precautionary protection measures taken in 2000 against BSE (commonly known as mad cow disease, as commonly called) were lifted. At that time there were no analytical methods available that could identify the type of animal proteins and the species of origin in the feed. As soon as these methods were applied, the EU decided to lift the temporary and provisional decision.

11. Why do we not simply dispose of blood from slaughtered animals?

Blood is a valuable source of nutrients. It has a very high protein content, contains essential amino acids and has vitamins, minerals and sugars.  Blood is one of the products of the slaughterhouse and it can be readily processed into a high-quality feed ingredient or for use by the food processing industry and in pharmaceuticals. Rather than dispose of the blood in what would be a wasteful and expensive process to avoid environmental pollution, it is a readily available and sustainable resource. 
The Animal Protein Industry was in fact created out of environment and health concerns: treating plasma and hemoglobin helped to stem the disposal of animal blood into the environment and created a sustainable product that contributes to animal health across Europe.

  • The Animal Protein Industry reduces the risk of blood being discarded and becoming a pollutant in the environment.
  • Plasma is locally sourced in Europe and therefore has a low carbon footprint.
  • Use of plasma in feed reduces the need to import soy protein to Europe, thereby reducing the carbon footprint for the feed industry.
12. What is the industry doing to stop the spread of PEDv?

The European Animal Protein Association in collaboration with the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers Association (NASDBPP), which together account for approximately 65 -70% of the spray-dried blood products produced worldwide, conducted alongside the FDA and EFSA many controlled experiments to test the hypothesis that spray-dried porcine plasma may contain infective Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). The results of these numerous experiments, both from the industry and the agencies’ side, support the conclusion that spray-dried porcine plasma is a safe feed ingredient. The manufacturing process under industry standards inactivates PEDv. The industry processes are constantly monitored and therefore the safety of our products is guaranteed and it has been proven that plasma is not a vector of diffusion of the PED virus.

13. How can the industry guarantee that plasma used in Europe is safe?

The highest industry standards applied in all our facilities allows us to provide the highest-quality product to the feed and farm community and to prevent the spread of possible diseases. 
Animal proteins products are prepared in strictly controlled and hygienic processes that meet food and feed grade specifications to ensure they are pure and safe. 
EAPA Members are ISO 9001 and/or GMP certified and manufacturing standards ensure that plasma and haemoglobin are collected in a hygienic manner, in a closed system. Blood is collected only from healthy animals fit for slaughter for human consumption in inspected slaughter houses. During collection blood is immediately pumped through a closed system to a separate processing area. 
Plasma processing plants in Europe are either food or feed approved and are periodically inspected by an official veterinarian from the Public Health Department and an EU official veterinarian.

  • The first step in processing is separation by centrifugation into cells and plasma.
  • The plasma fraction is subjected to filtration and evaporation.
  • Plasma is sprayed into a sterile chamber at 200 ºC or above to produce dried plasma.
  • The dried powder is taken out and packed when the temperature comes down to around 80–90ºC, still within sterile conditions.

Moreover we have numerous control check and monitoring systems that allow us to guarantee that our products are safe.