Naming and describing feeds for data processing must be carried out systematically. This means that a precise nomenclature had to be established. This nomenclature contains controlled terms (descriptors) which constitute the "International Feed Vocabulary". These descriptors are used for coining the international names of feed. Thus, the nomenclature can be expanded by combining the existing descriptors.
Many of the by-products arising from the preparation of human food are suitable for animal feeds. As new technology develops for processing human foods, additional by-products are constantly being introduced. Unless well-defined guidelines are established for naming these products, confusion will reign. Many grain products are changed by subjecting them to some form of mechanical process; e.g., blending, grinding, pelleting, and steam or dry rolling. This often results in an alteration in the nutritive value of feeds. Generally, these changes increase nutritive values resulting in increased efficiency of animal production. However, this complicates the task of precisely naming these materials. The names of many feeds are controlled officially by regulation in the U.S.A., Canada and the European Community. These names include descriptions of processes used in their manufacture and may include guarantees of quality. Such names, however, are usually common or trade names and do not describe the feed accurately.
In reviewing the literature, more than 20 percent of the common names were found to be different names (synonyms) for the same product from different areas of the world. This complicates the identification of feeds. A new international system was proposed by Harris (1963) and Harris et al. (1968) to overcome inconsistencies in naming feeds. This system was modified and is now known as the International Feed Vocabulary.
Using this vocabulary, over 18 000 feeds have been recorded and given International Feed Descriptions or Names in English, German and French. Portuguese and Spanish versions are being prepared. These International Feed Names are now in wide use.
The International Feed Vocabulary is designed to give a comprehensive name to each feed as concisely as possible. Each feed name is coined by using descriptors taken from one or more of six facets.
Facet 1: Origin. The origin or parent materials may be one of three types:
specific (barley, oats, coconut, soybeans)
non specific (cereals, grass, meadow)
specific (cattle, chickens, swine)
non specific (animal, poultry, fish)
(iii) minerals, chemical products, drugs and others.
For specific plants and animals, each descriptor of this facet is composed of:
(i) scientific name
(ii) common name.
Feeds should be described by their common names at up to three levels as far as this is possible. The first level should be the generic name; e.g., cattle, fish, clover, wheat, etc. The second level should be more specific (such as breed or kind); e.g., Hereford, cod red (clover), winter (wheat), etc. The third level should list other important characteristics (such as strain; e.g., Delmar).
Facet 2: Part Fed to Animals as Affected by Process (es). This component of the feed description represents the actual part of the parent material fed. In the past, the edible parts of plants and animals were obvious such as leaves, stems, seeds, meat trimmings, or bones. Today, due to the extensive fractionation of plant seeds and the reconstitution of many of the parts into new processed foods, innumerable by-products are available for animal feeding.